Wednesday, January 16, 2002

Loveland racial talks Sunday

Session marks King holiday

By Susan Vela
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        LOVELAND — Overcoming racial barriers will be discussed Sundaywhen residents meet for a Martin Luther King Day celebration.

        A Neighbor-to-Neighbor discussion on race, similar to the ones that started across Greater Cincinnati in the fall, will be the highlight.

        Organizers say discussing race seems the perfect way to recognize the slain civil rights leader.

        “I'm looking forward to the conversation,” said Paulette Leeper, a former Loveland councilwoman. Dr. King “was about bringing people together for a common cause. He was about solving a huge problem like the civil rights crisis in our nation. This is in many ways similar.”

        The city's MLK Day celebration is happening on Sunday — the eve of the official holiday — so that young and old can participate and stay into the evening.

        Beginning at 4:30 p.m. at Loveland Intermediate School, 757 S. Lebanon Road, there will be a free dinner, poetry, essays and choir singing. The Neighbor-to-Neighbor discussion follows from 6-8:30 p.m..

        Organizer Dave Miller already attended a Neighbor-to-Neighbor discussion. He enjoyed the forum, which offered solutions to the region's race problems.

        “The discussion I attended was so great. It was very open. (Participants) just spoke from their heart,” Mr. Miller said. “It just seemed right to do it on Martin Luther King Day as a way to celebrate his life. It's not a day off. It's a day on.

        “We can really get down to knowing each other and maybe facing some hard facts. Loveland's a great place to live, but every community can improve race relations.”

        To register, call Ms. Leeper: (513) 677-2631.


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