Sunday, January 13, 2002

CAN puts new focus on 'will'

Race panel's teams shift to making changes real

By Lew Moores
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        After more than eight months of work and a commitment of “tens of thousands” of hours, Cincinnati Community Action Now (CAN) members Saturday said they are taking the next step in implementing programs to ease racial tension and help advance the lot of all people living in Cincinnati.

        More than 100 volunteers of Cincinnati CAN spent an entire morning at the Montgomery Inn Banquet Center, downtown, listening to leaders of the six action teams explain goals for the months and years ahead.

        “We are moving from Cincinnati CAN to Cincinnati will,” said Ross Love, co-chair of CAN and president and CEO of Blue Chip Broadcasting, after the meeting. “From today forward our job is to make it happen.”

        Said Tom Cody, CAN co-chair and an executive with Federated Department Stores: “We formally transitioned today from our studies, our dialogues and our planning to an implementation phase.”

        At least two dozen implementation teams are being formed to tackle four areas where Cincinnati CAN believes it can make a difference in working with agencies:

        • Create a new relationship between the police and community that would be based, Mr. Love said, on “common goals, respect and courtesy.”

        • Work to develop more quality jobs for the disadvantaged.

        • Work with at-risk young people for higher achievement in school.

        • Develop more quality housing and promote home ownership in the inner city.

        Mr. Cody said the initiatives outlined Saturday would not necessarily mean the formation of new agencies to carry them out.

        “We can find a home for these programs in some of the existing agencies,” said Mr. Cody.

        Mr. Love said examples of the kind of initiative Cincinnati CAN will undertake include:

        • Improving early childhood development by working with parents and their children, especially children 3 and younger.

        • Expanding Head Start programs.

        • Working with Cincinnati Public Schools and encouraging more businesses to become partners with public schools in the city.

        Scotty Johnson, a Cincinnati police officer and president of the Sentinels Police Association, made up of black Cincinnati police offi cers, said he was impressed with Saturday's meeting.

        “It was good to see the teams come together,” Mr. Johnson said. “It was good to see the progress that has been made.”

        Mr. Love said he heard that same sentiment among the CAN participants.

        Mr. Love said the 200 volunteers of Cincinnati CAN put in “tens of thousands” of man-hours in the process, with each of the six action teams meeting on average once a week to once every other week.

        The six teams:

        • Police and justice.

        • Economic inclusion.

        • Education and youth development.

        • Housing and neighbor hood development.

        • Health care and human services.

        • Media and communications.

        Cincinnati CAN was established by Mayor Charlie Luken after the riots in April to address race relations and economic equality issues in the city.


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