Tuesday, July 16, 2002

What led up to Urban League decision

        February 2001: The National Urban League announces it will hold its 2003 convention in Cincinnati, bringing up to 5,000 representatives to the downtown convention center.

        April 12, 2001: In the aftermath of the riots, the Rev. Damon Lynch III, leader of the Cincinnati Black United Front, suggests on ABC's Nightline that having the National Urban League and others put pressure on the city to fix economic, social and police injustices toward African-Americans would be appropriate.

        July 2001: Sheila Adams, president of the Cincinnati chapter of the Urban League, explains the mainstream civil rights organization's decision not to join a boycott of the city over racial injustices by saying: “If we hadn't made some change by (2002), then we should” cancel the scheduled 2003 convention here.

        April 7: In statements to The Cincinnati Enquirer at the one-year anniversary coverage of the Timothy Thomas shooting in Over-the-Rhine, Hugh Price, national president of the Urban League, says: “I think the black community needs to have a dialogue with itself on where it's going. The black community needs to do a critical evaluation of its leadership. If you had 10 more boycotts, what would it do for the black community? Reduce violence? Produce income? Increase achievement of black students in schools? If a boycott is not part of clearly defined political objectives, it's essentially political theater.”

        June 18: Cincinnati Mayor Charlie Luken and city tourism leaders fly to New York to meet with Mr. Price and explain reforms in the city to help keep the group's 2003 convention on track.


        Urban League affirms its decision to bring its 2003 national convention here despite calls to avoid the city by boycott organizers. Mr. Price says he and other top Urban League officials are convinced the city has started reforms to fix police, economic and social gaps that triggered the April 2001 riots.


        At a press conference Friday, Cincinnati Police announce their top African-American official, Lt. Col. Ron Twitty, has been suspended with pay pending investigation of an accident involving his cruiser. Black officers, community activists and others react angrily, calling the move over-reactive and racist.

        Monday: The National Urban League announces it will not hold its convention in Cincinnati because of the city's handling of Lt. Col. Twitty's case. About 50 citizens protest at Cincinnati Police headquarters.


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