Sunday, May 05, 2002

Boycott group won't pare down demands

By Kevin Aldridge
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        The Coalition for a Just Cincinnati has new leadership and won't join other boycott groups in putting its demands on one list.

        The coalition last week elected three co-chairs to serve as interim leaders while the group's chairman, the Rev. James W. Jones, recovers from a heart ailment. The three new co-chairs are Amanda Mayes, former WDBZ radio talk-show host Nathaniel Livingston Jr. and Linda Newman.

        The Rev. Stephen Scott, who had been serving as vice chairman and one of the group's chief spokesmen, was not elected.

        “Rev. Scott is going to concentrate his efforts with the Baptist Ministers Conference,” Ms. Mayes said.

        New coalition leaders said they don't believe they should weed out demands before city leaders agree to a forum to resolve the boycott, which was called last summer and has persuaded some entertainers and conventions to cancel coming to Cincinnati. Leaders also emphasized that any meeting among boycott groups must include Stonewall Cincinnati, a gay-rights group.

        Boycotters had talked several times about streamlining their demands and putting them on one list. Some said the move would provide for a more unified front and make potential negotiations with city and business leaders that much easier.

        “It was something we talked about, but it was something we decided against,” said Ms. Mayes. “We don't see the need to negotiate among ourselves.

        “Why should we do that work particularly at a time when the mayor is saying he won't negotiate?” she said. “There is just no reason to do it.”

        Ms. Mayes said the coalition stands behind its boycott partners — the Cincinnati Black United Front, Coalition of Concerned Citizens for Justice and Stonewall Cincinnati.


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