Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Congratulations Cincinnati, Congratulations NAACP!

Who would have predicted six years ago that the nation's oldest and most revered civil rights organization would be in Cincinnati taking notice of the progress we have made here? And gathering, in all places, at a revived Fountain Square--jumbotron and all--to help celebrate the moment?

Very few people, that's for sure.

Having just left a spectacular NAACP dinner on the riverfront, and having walked past an equally vibrant Fountain Square, I must say the vibe in Cincinnati is as good as it's been in a long time.

The NAACP Convention has really allowed all people, both from Cincinnati and visiting our City, to take stock in a community that is regaining its step. And the breadth and diversity of people taking part in this celebration have been great to see. Visitors have commented again and again that they want to return.

Congratulations and thanks should go to all those who brought the convention here, and to those--led by NAACP President Christhoper Smitherman and Convention Chairman Tyrone Yates--who did the legwork to organize this week-long success story.

Finally, amid all this celebration, it was great to see the front-page story today that the "Monitor" from the Collaborative Agreement has made clear that the Cincinnati Police Department has met its commitments under the Agreement. (http://news.cincinnati.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20080714/NEWS01/80714009).
On that score, Chief Streicher and his many hard-working officers deserve a ton of credit for all that they have done.

(I took my fair share of lumps and political attacks for having helped negotiate the agreement as the only way forward following the violence and tension of 2001. But comparing where we are now versus 2001 (not just in terms of outside perception, but the reality of better police-community relations, leading to productive police-community partnerships and a crime rate that finally looks to be turning around from the spikes in and following 2001), it was well worth taking that heat.)

For a summary of this success, see http://news.cincinnati.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20080718/NEWS01/807180348/-1/today

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