Monday, May 14, 2001

Forum focuses on equity 'bridges'

Black firefighters are co-hosts

By Cindy Kranz
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        The Cincinnati African-American Firefighters Association this week will co-sponsor a conference designed to build bridges between those who are under-represented and those who can make a difference.

        “Building Bridges,” the annual Cincinnati On The Real Side Conference, will be held Friday in Bond Hill. Communiplex Entrepreneurs, a Bond Hill marketing and promotional firm that is co-host for the free conference.

  • What: “Building Bridges” conference.
  • When: 9 a.m.-3:30 p.m. Friday.
  • Where: Integrity Hall Banquet & Conference Center, 2081 Seymour Ave., Bond Hill.
  • Register: (513) 731-6308.
        “The purpose of the conference is to bring about some solutions to some of the problems going on in the Cincinnati community, which also affect the African-American Firefighters Association,” said Jeff Harris Jr., association president.

        In the last month, about 150 black members of the Cincinnati Fire Division have resigned their memberships from Local 48, Cincinnati Fire Fighters Union because they did not feel they were adequately represented.

        “This sort of mirrors what's going on in the African-American population who feel the city is not adequately meeting the needs of the minority population of the city,” Mr. Harris said.

        Among the public conference workshops are “Police Community Relations” with panelists Scotty Johnson, president of the Sentinel Police Association, a group of black officers; Cecil Thomas, di rector of the Cincinnati Human Relations Commission; and Cincinnati Police Lt. Col Ron Twitty.

        Other workshops are: “The Role of Unions in a Changing Workforce,” “Entrepreneurship and Capitalism,” and “Voter Registration.”

        “We feel that to get more people involved in voting and empowering themselves and letting their voices show in the political arena will be very helpful,” Mr. Harris said.

        Cincinnati Councilwoman Alicia Reece is keynote speaker.

        “We're just inviting people in the community who have some genuine concerns to take part in this conference,” Mr. Harris said.


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