Even before April's riots, community leaders ranked poor race
relations as a top problem. Some of their comments, after a four-hour
meeting held by the Enquirer in February, were startlingly prophetic:
"I see Cincinnati as being in denial that there is a race
problem... The African-American community doesn't feel the police
are protecting or serving it at all."
... Clifford A. Bailey, chairman of Downtown Cincinnati Inc.
"There's a potential for violence. I hate to raise that issue,
but I think there is."
... Karla Irvine, executive director of Housing Opportunities Made
"The racial issue has been central to virtually every major
social problem that this community faces."
... Nathaniel Jones, federal judge, U.S. Court of Appeals
"Everyone can hide in their own enclaves for a while, but you
cannot maintain a healthy society in those conditions."
... Steven Adamowski, superintendent of Cincinnati Public Schools
"It's going to take an extraordinary intervention by a large
group of leaders representing every facet of the community ...
particularly business, the media and government ... to prevent race
relations from becoming a day-to-day crisis."
... Ross Love, president at CEO of Blue Chip Broadcasting
"Everyone has to approach (race) with an open mind. Are some
feathers going to get ruffled? Sure, but we've got to do it. Why
don't we all just acknowledge that we have some faults and get
started on doing what we can to make things better?"
... Police Chief Tom Streicher
"White people and city leaders need to step up, because until
that happens it's too easy to see it as a black concern or a concern
only of people of color."
... Cheryl Nunez, affirmative action director, Northern Kentucky
"Many whites are suffering from race fatigue or denial: 'Let's
just stop talking about it, and things might get better.' It won't
... Linda Bates Parker, director of Career Development Center,
University of Cincinnati
"It would be a terrible irony to have the Freedom Center in a
city that isn't moving forward."
... John Pepper, chairman of Procter & Gamble Co.
"If we don't address (race relations), deal with it, it can
polarize our community and drive us further apart."
... U.S. Rep. Rob Portman, Terrace Park
"The future of this city depends more on our ability to treat one
another fairly than on any single economic issue, and I think we have
a long way to go."
... Mayor Charlie Luken
Source: The Cincinnati Enquirer, March 4, ""Divided by Race" report