Friday, May 18, 2001

Race panel leadership takes shape

30 named to head action teams

By Kevin Aldridge
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        The chairmen of the city's race commission — Cincinnati Community Action Now — appointed 30 civic, religious and business leaders Thursday to oversee action teams.

    Cincinnati Community Action Now's six action teams and the 30 community and business leaders who will oversee them:
• Economic Inclusion
    Clifford Bailey, president and chief executive officer of TechSoft Systems Inc. and vice president of Cincinnati NAACP
    Morris Williams, associate director of Coalition of Neighborhoods
    Joseph A. Pichler, chairman and chief executive officer of the Kroger Co.
    Janet B. Reid, a partner in Global Lead Management Consulting
    John Taylor, executive vice president and market manager of PNC Bank's Greater Cincinnati region
Education and Youth Development
    John Pepper, chairman of Procter & Gamble Co.
    Sheila Adams, president and chief executive officer of the Urban League of Greater Cincinnati
    Steven Adamowski, Cincinnati Public Schools superintendent
    Anees Fardan, Cincinnati Collective Learning Center
    Eileen Cooper Reed, director of the Children's Defense Fund
Police and the Justice System
    Norma Holt Davis, president of the Cincinnati NAACP
    Michael Graham, president of Xavier University
    Rt. Rev. Herbert Thompson, bishop of Episcopal Diocese of Southern Ohio
    Timothy M. Burke, co-chairman of Hamilton County Democratic Party
    Michael J. Barrett, chairman of Hamilton County Republican Party
Housing and Neighborhood Development
    Harold Cleveland, chief executive officer of the Cincinnati Empowerment Corp.
    Richard Davis, vice chairman of Firstar
    Renee Mahaffey Harris, Local Initiatives Support Corp.
    Michael Keating, executive vice president of Fifth Third Bank
    Karla Irvine, executive director of Housing Opportunities Made Equal
    Jim King, executive director of Avondale Redevelopment Corp.
Health Care and Human Services
    James Anderson, president and chief executive officer of Children's Hospital Medical Center
    Dr. Yvette Casey Hunter, Cincinnati Medical Association
    Rob Reifsnyder, president of the United Way of Greater Cincinnati
    Gwen Robinson, president of the Cincinnati Hamilton County Community Action Agency
    Victoria Straughn, University Hospital
Media and Image
    Susan Howarth, president and chief executive officer of WCET
    Damon Jones, Procter & Gamble Co. spokesman
    Jan-Michele Lemon Kearney, Sesh Communications
    Mark Serrianne, chief executive officer of Northlich

        Those teams will recommend and implement policies to improve racial equality, opportunity and inclusion.

        The team leaders, representing a diverse cross-section of the community, will focus on six areas: economic inclusion, education, police and the justice system, housing and neighborhood development, health care and human services, and media and image.

        Among those appointed were: Procter & Gamble chairman John Pepper, Cincinnati Public Schools Superintendent Steven Adamowski, Cincinnati NAACP President Norma Holt Davis, Children's Defense Fund Director Eileen Cooper Reed and Urban League of Greater Cincinnati President Sheila Adams.

        Commission co-chairman and Blue Chip Broadcasting president Ross Love said these team leaders — all volunteers — are committing valuable time to help reduce the disparities that affect African-Americans in Cincinnati.

        Mr. Love, Federated Department Stores Inc. executive Tom Cody and the Rev. Damon Lynch III, leader of the Cincinnati Black United Front, head the privately funded race panel.

        “In my experience, this is the most inclusive group of leaders ever put together,” Mr. Love said. “This will help ensure that we really address the relevant issues and get quickly focused on implementing a game plan.”

        The Rev. Mr. Lynch said he was especially pleased with the grassroots representation among team leaders.

        “If we truly mean to face the issues and find solutions, Cincinnati CAN must reflect inclusion regarding who is making decisions that will impact the entire community,” the Rev. Mr. Lynch said.

        The Greater Cincinnati Foundation has donated office space at its headquarters on West Fourth Street for the race commission to hold meetings and conduct daily business. The foundation also awarded a $50,000 grant to help pay for administrative and office needs.

        Mr. Love said the complete membership rosters, which will include about 15 to 20 people per team, will be announced in the near future. He said he expects team leaders to begin a dialogue within their respective groups next week.

        Cincinnati CAN tentatively plans to conduct its first meeting on June 2, Mr. Love said.

        Mrs. Reed said Cincinnati's youth — who triggered this citywide dialogue with their protests — feel devalued. She said community leaders need to do a better job of educating children, providing them with adequate health care and making them feel safe.

        “It's not just a question of giving them jobs,” she said. “It's a matter of making them feel like they are a part of a living, breathing community.”


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