Race forum, workshop to tackle effects of poverty: (4/2/14) Organizers of Toledo’s next community-sponsored forum on racism, which focuses on poverty, said they are hopeful the event will continue to advance understanding of the problem in the city. “The poverty forums are really significant, especially for people in the Toledo area, as we are facing a dramatic increase in poverty,” said Joe Tafelski, executive director of Advocates for Basic Legal Equality Inc., one of the sponsors of the “Changing Minds and Changing Lives: Combating Racism” speaker series. Ruby Payne, co-author of Bridges Out of Poverty, who travels the country speaking about poverty, will be the keynote speaker for the next installment of the series at 7 p.m. Thursday in Central Catholic High School’s Sullivan Center. The forum is open to the public. READ MORE
Author to discuss ‘hidden rules of poverty’ at forum: (3/30/14) Ruby Payne, co-author of Bridges Out of Poverty, who travels the country speaking about poverty, will be the keynote speaker for the next installment of the series at 7 p.m. Thursday at Central Catholic High School’s Sullivan Center. Ms. Payne, who lives in Corpus Christi, Texas, but grew up in central Ohio, said she has watched the state transform from greater prosperity to where it is now. READ MORE
Local clergy: Talk spurs action in racism fight: (2/17/14) The Rev. Otis Gordon, who leads Warren AME Church, said when it comes to changing attitudes about race, many people feel that talk is cheap, and it won’t make a difference. But Pastor Gordon said he has seen talk lead to solid action when he lived in Warren, Ohio, in the mid-1990s. The community created study circles there to bring diverse groups together to talk about racial problems — an approach now under way in Toledo too. “What that led to was the construction of a community center that is still there today providing services to the minority population,” he said. READ MORE
Forum seeks to lift blacks’ education right from start: (1/10/14) David Johns told the dozens of members of Young Men and Women of Excellence to stand up and be acknowledged. Too often, he said later, we don't talk about black men and women and excellence. When we do, it's framed as an exception. “When people talk about African-American kids and education, it's negative,” said Mr. Johns, executive director of the White House Initiative on Educational Excellence for African-Americans. “It's what they are not doing; it's what they are not capable of doing.” It's time to change that narrative, Mr. Johns said, and have real conversations about education and race that may make us uncomfortable, but are necessary. READ MORE
Forum to address minority gap in education system: (1/5/14) The achievement gap — the disparity in academic achievement between white and minority students — is so persistent, has been around so long, that it often elicits little more than a shrug, a collective “what can you do,” an acceptance that it’s inevitable, unchangeable, not worth the resources or fight. But while many accept the gap, others continue to fight to close it. In Toledo and across the country, African-American students on average perform below their white peers. In Toledo Public Schools, the graduation rate for white students was 11 percentage points higher than for African-American students — 72 percent compared to 61 percent — on the most recent state report card. READ MORE
Minority poetry inspires call to action (9/23/13) He stood quietly, not moving behind the podium. A dim reading light made his face glow faintly in the dark. Toledo’s Manuel Caro gave no indication he was aware that there were 500 people gathered at the Sofia Quintero Arts & Cultural Center eagerly awaiting his first public performance in nearly two decades. Once Mr. Caro, 62, had been a well-known, respected Chicano poet and an outspoken civil-rights leader. Like many Mexican and African-Americans in the late 1960s and 70s, they had used poetry and prose to speak out about racism, educate their communities about their heritage and culture, and to make their people aware of their considerable, but often ignored contributions and accomplishments. READ MORE
Forums intend to spark discussion (9/1/13) A public forum featuring a renown anti-racist author and educator aims to spark a community discussion about race in Toledo. Tim Wise, author of the memoir White Like Me: Reflections on Race from a Privileged Son and other books, will speak at a free Sept. 12 forum at Woodward High School Auditorium. The event is sponsored by the Toledo Community Coalition and The Blade. It launches an ongoing effort to combat racism through forums, which will take place every other month into March, along with smaller community study groups. READ MORE
COMMENTARY: Time for plain talk -- and action -- on racism in Toledo (9/1/13) In the charged aftermath of the acquittal of George Zimmerman in the shooting death of Trayvon Martin, a lot of Americans have argued that we need to engage in honest, candid conversation about race if we are ever to overcome our economic and social divisions. The 50th anniversary last week of the March on Washington reminded us of how much progress our nation has made in race relations since the civil rights era — but also how much farther we still have to go. We need to do more than talk about such ills, of course. But peaceful, constructive action starts with open and productive dialogue. So the Toledo Community Coalition and The Blade invite you to take part in starting a community conversation about racism and other vital issues that affect this city and region. READ MORE
Bouts with racism mold white community leaders (9/2/13) Karen Shepler, 62, is one of several white community leaders in the Toledo area who’ve dedicated most of their lives to fighting racism and trying to educate other white people about the issue. She recently retired as the pastor of Monroe Street United Methodist Church. It’s not an easy position to be in — they often have to overcome initial mistrust from people of color whose experiences have taught them to be skeptical of white people’s intentions or ability to understand their problems and concerns. READ MORE
Initial forum on race seen as way to open hearts (9/11/13) Speaker Tim Wise is the featured speaker at a 7 p.m. community forum Thursday at Woodward High School. The event, sponsored by the Toledo Community Coalition and The Blade, is the first in a series of forums and other activities aimed at combating racism locally. Organizers expect hundreds to attend the event, which is free and open to the public. It is the start of a multipronged effort aimed at igniting a citywide conversation about racism, changing minds, and — ultimately — lives. READ MORE
Toledo forum calls for action on race, discrimination (9/13/13) A diverse, standing-room-only audience at Woodward High School’s 575-seat auditorium attended and applauded author and activist Tim Wise’s speech on Thursday. The Nashville author of White Like Me: Reflections on Race from a Privileged Son provided the keynote speech during the two-hour community forum “Changing Minds and Changing Lives: Combating Racism,” which was sponsored by The Blade and the Toledo Community Coalition.
COMMENTARY: On the path to practical hope (9/13/13) Combative and funny, Tim Wise aims to makes his audiences think. In many ways, he was a fine choice to be the first speaker in the Community Coalition and The Blade’s first public forum on racism Thursday night. And the auditorium at Woodward High School was full to the brim with an enthusiastic crowd. Anyone who thinks that racism in America is over needs to be confronted with Tim Wise.
PHOTO GALLERY: Community race forum at Woodward High School (9/13/13)
VIDEO: Author Tim Wise discusses the community forum on race at Toledo's Woodward High School (9/12/13)
VIDEO: Tim Wise on The Pathology of Privilege: Racism, white denial, and the costs of inequality