Wednesday, July 18, 2001

Little is known about some groups that support boycott




By Tim Bonfield
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        Although most of the groups involved in the call for a boycott have refused to provide details about themselves, some information is available:

        • Combined Coalition for Justice and Racial Equality in Cincinnati: This is an umbrella group encompassing 12 other groups that declared the boycott Saturday. Its Web site, cincyboycott.org, includes a statement about the boycott and a list of supporting groups. The site outlines why the group is pursuing a boycott:

        “These actions have become necessary because no meaningful effort has been made to meet the needs and demands of the poor and African American communities in Cincinnati,” the boycott statement reads, in part. “For years we have been told, "Wait!' The word rings loudly in the ears of the oppressed with a piercing familiarity.

        “Perhaps it is easy for those who have never felt the full weight of oppression, racism, or segregation on their shoulders to demand that we "wait.'”

        • Baptist Ministers Conference of Cincinnati: This is the city's most visible and influential group of African-American clergy. It has been involved in civic issues for many years and regularly endorses candidates for City Council. Last year, it was among the groups calling for a federal investigation of the choking death of Roger Owensby during a police arrest. The Baptist ministers also have called since at least 1997 for a charter amendment to allow the city to hire its police chief from outside the department.

        Its members include: the Rev. Aaron Greenlee, president, and pastor of Olivet Baptist Church in Silverton; the Rev. James W. Jones of Greater New Mount Moriah Baptist Church in Carthage; the Rev. James H. Cantrell, pastor at Zion Baptist Church in Avondale; and the Rev. Ardie Brown, president of Brown and Associates and a pastor at the First Baptist Church of Hartwell.

        • Coalition for Justice and Equality: The Rev. Mr. Jones is listed as chairman. He also serves as first vice president of the Baptist Ministers Conference and runs a social service agency called Project Impact of Ohio.

        • March For Justice Steering Committee: According to its Web site, “We are a coalition of organizations and individuals who organized to demand justice in Cincinnati from the police department and the city government.”

        This group does not specify its steering committee members. But it organized a June 2 march in Cincinnati to protest the police shooting of Timothy Thomas that attracted support from more than 75 local and non-local groups. It was the Thomas shooting that triggered the protests and riots April 9-12.

        However, only five groups that supported the march also are listed as endorsing the boycott: Center for Advanced Democracy, Stand Up 4 Democracy, Cincinnati Radical Youth, Solidarity, and Cincinnati Zapatista Coalition.

        • African-American Cultural Commission: In 1997, this group helped organize a protest march after Cincinnati police shot and killed Lorenzo Collins, who had threatened officers with a brick. However, no further information could be located.

        • Center for Advanced Democracy: No information or contact person could be located.

        • New Black Panther Party: A New York-based organization that claims some local members. Its leader, Khallid Abdul Muhammad, died in February. During protests after the Timothy Thomas shooting in April, group members were frequently seen wearing berets and all-black uniforms.

        • Stand Up 4 Democracy: This national activist group describes itself on its Web site, www.standup4democracy.org, as a grass-roots organization that “stands for removing barriers to civil rights and democracy.” In Cincinnati, the group participated in the June 2 March for Justice and has supported gay rights issues. Calls to a local telephone number listed on its Web site went unreturned.

        • Cincinnati Zapatista Coalition: Named to reflect sympathy with a Mayan Indian rebellion in Mexico, this coalition is a non-profit group “dedicated to struggling for the rights of indigenous peoples throughout the Western Hemisphere, as well as for all those who are racially, economically, sexually, and politically oppressed here in our own country,” according to its Web site.

        In November, members wearing yellow coveralls were among the street protesters during the Trans-Atlantic Business Dialogue meeting in Cincinnati. Members marched again in April and June after the Thomas shooting. This group also has urged Anderson High School to drop its Redskins mascot.

        • Cincinnati Radical Youth: No details were found.

        • Cincinnati Radical Action Group: No details were found.

        • Solidarity: A Detroit-based organization that, according to its Web site, “is a socialist organization dedicated to forming a broad regroupment of the U.S. Left.” Calls to a local contact number were not returned.

        • Amistad: The name of this group harkens to the Amistad slave ship, which in 1839 was taken over by the slaves. No information was found about a local group using this name.

        • Cincinnati Refuse and Resist!: This group includes the local members of a New York-based group founded in 1987 to oppose “fundamentalist right-wing morality imposed by the state.” The national group's Web site declares the Thomas shooting a prime example a “nationwide epidemic” of police brutality.

       



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