Thursday, February 07, 2002

CAN ads called good beginning


Luken: Now, back them up with action

By Kevin Aldridge
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        Many who saw Cincinnati Community Action Now's new ads Wednesday called the campaign energizing and a good first step toward racial healing.

        But some warned that without substantive programs and strategies from CAN, the ads will seem like lip service.

        The ads promote the race task force's new motto, “Cincinnati can. You can, too.”

        The ads will air on TV and radio, in newspaper ads and on the Internet.

        The message — that individuals are responsible for healing Cincinnati's race wounds — is hard to argue with, some of the 160 guests at the Greater Cincinnati Chamber of Commerce meeting said after seeing the spots.

        Mayor Charlie Luken, who appointed the leaders of CAN, said the ads are just one piece of the puzzle.

        “If it is not backed up by substance, it doesn't mean a lot,” he said.

        “I don't want to tout them as any huge solution. It doesn't solve our problems, but it is a part of the ongoing dialogue in our city.”

        Connie Widmer, an employee of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, said she especially liked the ad showing two men — one black, one white — saying the same things about their basic values.

        “It touched on the idea that we have more in common than we do differences. It puts the notion of unity literally right in your face,” Ms. Widmer said.

"Need to be reinforced'

        James Mock, owner of Cincinnati Urban Renewal, a minority business development firm, predicts the ads will stimulate people to become more involved in solutions, “but they will need to be reinforced by other (CAN) initiatives in order to keep that momentum going.”

        Even some of CAN's critics declined to throw stones at the campaign.

        “Any effort that promotes betterment in Cincinnati has got to be good,” said the Rev. James W. Jones, chairman of the Coalition for a Just Cincinnati, which is calling for a boycott of downtown Cincinnati.

        “How effective it will be, only time will tell. Whether or not people will listen. Whether or not people will make the effort,” the Rev. Mr. Jones said.

        “Try everything you can, but it is still a matter of people's hearts.”

        But not all reviews were glowing.

        Racelle Weiman, director of the Center for Holocaust and Humanity Education at Hebrew Union College, said she'd like to see more information in the ads.

        “There was no telephone number on who to call if you want to get involved, no practical advice on what you can do and where to go.

        “People are looking for direction right now,” she said.

       



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