My Dear Brothers and Sisters,
We want to thank you for coming today to declare yourselves committed to each other and stand against institutional racism which has persistently and unjustly relegated us to the bottom of every aspect of human life in Cincinnati.
In our day-to-day work at the Center, we continue to see how the lives of Black Cincinnatians are diminished in so many ways. There is a shared responsibility to improve Black lives in our community, however, we cannot wait on others to address or feel some responsibility to fix our lives. We know when others take the lead, it becomes their plan not ours. We must take the lead in addressing our concerns and creating our strategies.
We must move from wringing our hands over our plight to developing a Strategic Plan that will positively address the issues we face. Today, we will begin to create a plan that will help us to rebuild the Black family and reclaim our rightful place in this city.
For too long, we have allowed ourselves to be marginalized, criminalized, and treated as though we have nothing to offer in this city. Our votes have been taken for granted by politicians, white and black. Our voters are targeted at church affairs, community events, and public meetings with promises, handshakes, and grins; they return to city hall voting against our best interest and they do not stand up for equality. Make no mistake about it, collectively our vote matters. There is no singular body of power that impacts our lives as government. We must never give away our vote only because we like a politician, black or white, who does not support the issues most important to us. Local government policies and practices have been the major reasons for the conditions we find ourselves in this city. Our neighborhoods are in shambles and this isn’t by accident. No one needs a political revolution like we do.
We’re here today to be respectful to each other and willing to listen to each other. We’re all in the same boat, one with no bottom. If we pull together, we can and will build a community where we are part of the power structure and decision-making. We must have safe neighborhoods, good housing, children learning, jobs and economic development, and generational wealth building. Like the phoenix, we will rise up out of the ashes and embrace a new life that shares responsibility, accountability, and a renewing of the pride that we once had as a people who endured slavery, hardships, and success.
Founder, President & CEO
Center for Closing the Health Gap