Black community members of Cincinnati, Ohio, called for officials to acknowledge the racism happening in their city.
Black members and leaders met with the Cincinnati City Council on Wednesday to discuss their frustration about the ongoing systemic racism within their community. Some 150 people filled up the City Council chambers, and many voiced their concerns.
“What is happening to black people in this city is almost criminal,” former Mayor Dwight Tillery told WLWT5. “We’re going to continue to push. We will have rallies and marches next year.”
Tillery, an organizer of the Black Agenda Cincinnati, said hundreds of Black community members gathered together a few weeks ago at a church to voice their concerns and exasperation after several years of racial disparity. The former mayor said officials have made several promises to the residents of Cincinnati, but have not kept them.
Earlier this year, Council members voted to conduct a study on institutional racism, but they money was never pledged.
One man blasted Mayor John Cranley, accusing him of contributing to systemic racism in Cincinnati.
“There are over 18 black leaders that you have attacked in your short tenure as mayor, creating racial hostility in our community, and it must stop,” the man said.
Another woman added, “The Black neighborhoods are under attack right now because of gentrification.”
Members of the community created a list of priorities for City Council and the mayor to take into effect for 2019.
Councilman Wendell Young did address residents who voiced their concerns along with other city officials.
“There can’t be change without you being here to hold our feet to the fire… Don’t take lightly what you’ve done here tonight. Just as an example of what I’m talking about, we were trying to move the agenda, and we couldn’t go forward, because we felt the need to respond to what you had to say. That’s important, and to me, that’s the kind of government that we want. That’s the kind of representative government that works.”
Tillery said he was surprised at the large turnout of people at the City Council and hopes that policies playing a role in racial disparities will change.