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Agenda for ACTION

Published: Mon, October 31, 2011 @ 12:01 a.m.

By Robert Guttersohn



Pastors, politicians, police officers and community activists filled St. Luke Church on Sunday to chart plans for positive change in the Mahoning Valley at the 10th annual ACTION public meeting.

The meeting of the Alliance for Congregational Transformation Influencing Our Neighborhoods was themed “We are Better Together.”

Its forum served as a reflection of the past 10 years and a reminder of what organizers saw as future obstacles, most notably state Issue 2 and possible expansion of the EdChoice school-voucher program.

Gov. John Kasich said to “get on the bus or get run over,” said ACTION Board President the Rev. Lewis Macklin. “Little did we realize it was a school bus.”

Rev. Macklin, pastor of Holy Trinity Missionary Baptist Church, called Ohio House Bill 136, the bill that would expand the voucher program, an “education apartheid.” Opponents fear such expansion will hurt public schools, particularly in cities.

“We want to tell the governor to take his bus and shove it,” he said.

Although he would not tell attendees how to vote, Rev. Joseph Fata of St. Luke said the decision to vote yes or no on Issue 2 was simple: Vote no if you are for the rights of workers. Father Fata warned of placing “economic control in the hands of the few.”

“ACTION is about standing behind the rights of workers,” Father Fata said.

The mission of ACTION is to develop leaders within communities of the Valley to bring solutions to poverty, racism and social injustice.

Among the approximately 300 attending were Youngstown city council members, city Schools Superintendent Connie Hathorn, board of education members along with Rod Foley and Jimmy Hughes, the current and former city police chiefs respectively. Sitting next to them was Boardman Police Chief Jack Nichols.

Church choirs from both the city and its suburbs sang songs throughout the forum.

The meeting also highlighted Youngstown’s recent surge in murders.

Youngstown teacher Jennifer Walker said the violence on the street is spreading to the classrooms.

“These students see what is happening in the streets of Youngstown, and they are worried about their futures,” Walker said in her testimonial.

She said the threat of violence on her students adds to their household stresses. She said several of her students are being raised by grandparents or brought up in a single-parent home. Some, Walker said, don’t see their parents for days.

“These problems are coming into our schools, and they are problems that need to be addressed,” Walker said.

She added the entire community is responsible for the education of its children, and the community knows how to do so better than those in Columbus.

“We know what’s best for our students, not the state superintendent and not Gov. Kasich,” she said. “We need to create schools where the kids want to learn.”

Lynn Hart Bilal touched on the need for cracking down on crime in her testimonial as sister to 2009 murder victim Kevin Hart.

“We speculated that police wouldn’t do anything because he was just another black man murdered,” she said.

When police arrested two suspects just days after Hart’s funeral, Bilal felt optimistic that justice would be served. But after hearing prosecutors dismissed the case, the pessimism returned.

“I felt victimized all over again,” she said after hearing of the case being dropped.

The forum outlined past successes for which ACTION lobbied. For example, speakers noted the expansion of block-watch groups to divert crime while Father Fata cited the expansion of Eastern Gateway Community College into the Valley.

But the repeated message throughout Sunday’s meeting was the call for solidarity among the Valley’s organizations.

“As a community, we are better together,” said Rev. J. Dwayne Heard, the ACTION clergy caucus co-chair, followed by an in-unison “amen” from those in attendance.

“Tell your neighbor, putting aside differences, we are stronger together,” he said.


1author50(1121 comments)posted 4 years, 7 months ago

All show no substance.

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2UnionForever(1470 comments)posted 4 years, 7 months ago

This group supports No on Issue 2 - yea this is one liberal socialist group who wants to spend other peoples' money. They are part of the Dumbocrat Robin Hood crowd.

The real answer to solving Ohio's problems is:

***** YES on ISSUE 2 *****

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3Ypboy(64 comments)posted 4 years, 7 months ago

Typical Youngstown (little Chicago) talk...always expecting a free lunch.

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4Attis(1128 comments)posted 4 years, 7 months ago

Well said, thinker, especially the last part about the crucial difference strong families make. We need to catch up to the rest of the civilized world and have nationwide universal healthcare; paid maternity/paternity/family leaves; quality, affordable child care; and children allowances for all families with children. Abolition of childhood poverty should be at the top of any moral agenda for our society.

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5Stan(9923 comments)posted 4 years, 7 months ago

“We speculated that police wouldn’t do anything because he was just another black man murdered,” she said."

Not much justice for the white side either . . .. Jamar Houser is yet to be brought to trial and soon it will be two years since he executed Angeline Fimognari at St. Dominics Church .

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6James_S(268 comments)posted 4 years, 7 months ago

I agree with all comments so far, esp. "the thinker(s')". Thanks for the heads-up on ACTION's ties to Chicago and Saul Alinsky.

May I add that he originally "preyed" on Churches in the Chicago area and deceived well-meaning Christians into believing his propoganda. This is one of many ways the Saul Alinskys of this world managed to infiltrate into the Christian Church and destroy it and its true message. And they have managed to continue his methods to this very day.

He wasn't the original infiltrator. There was a massive influx of his type into our government, our institutions of higher learning (i.e. Harvard, which was founded on Christian principles but has since become antichristian in its teachings) in 1913- the same year THEIR Federal Reserve Act was made intro LAW and THEIR League of Nations was founded....

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7db(280 comments)posted 4 years, 7 months ago

Chicken Wing Macklin smelled a free lunch and could not resist; the perfect union spokesman for Issue 2.

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8MrApathy(1 comment)posted 4 years, 7 months ago

It is a shame leaders like Rev. Macklin decry the state of our cities and how families are breaking down. He is ignoring the mission of the Church to spread the gospel of Jesus Christ. In putting politics first he is abandoning his mission and becoming part of the problem. Time to step back Reverend and reconsider your mission. You are just an agent of the government residing in the pulpit.

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9Attis(1128 comments)posted 4 years, 7 months ago

thanks for your thoughtful response, Thinker, but do think a bit deeper and look a bit broader than just blame the victim scenarios. Want to know where all the money went? Check out the military industrial complex, something a Republican President gravely warned us about 60 years ago this year. Pursuing the nightmare of an American empire built on military bases and wars without end all over the world is the cause of our economic collapse, just like it was with the Roman empire a few millenia ago. Imagine if we had invested those trillions in families, schools and infrastructure. Uncle Sam has abandoned the children of America and will have to face the consequences of that colossal neglect. Don't blame the single moms.

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10ThewayIseeit(31 comments)posted 4 years, 7 months ago

You guys come up with anything. ACTION became an organization years before Obama was in office. This organization is over 10 years old. Get your facts straight, then try to sway us.... ACTION has done a hell of a lot more for our communities than any of you with your misleading comments. This orginazation is not all black preachers, its also has Cathlic Priests from the area as well........ No coments on them right?????

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11Freeatlast(1991 comments)posted 4 years, 7 months ago

ThewayIseeit ( 27)
“Never argue with a stupid person for they will only bring
you down to their level and then beat you with experience
This is good to remember as you read what some people say on these pages

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12ThewayIseeit(31 comments)posted 4 years, 7 months ago

Freeatlast, I agree, and Thanks!

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13jasoninohio(119 comments)posted 4 years, 7 months ago

If Jennifer Walker nad her fellow teachers know what is best for the schools, then how come so many of the students are dropping out? Why are so many kids scoring so low on standardized tests?

The fact is that in todays public schools, more money than ever is being spend on education, yet kids are learning less and less every year. This is a direct result of teachers hiding behind unions and tenure and every other excuse in the book to get away from actually doing their job.

Take a look at what has happened in New Orleans since Katrina. The public schools were in shambles, and after the storms Charter schools started to pop up every where. As a result, test scores have sky rocketed in those schools.

As for mixing religon and politics, for centuries people have tried to mix oil and water to no success, so why try religion and politics? Stealhead, you admit you vote based on your religion, lucky for us you are not a skinhead, or a black panther, who knows how you would vote.

I hope the nay sayers are seeing the truth here. Those opposing Issue 2 are running scared, and with good reason.


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14jetercp(67 comments)posted 4 years, 7 months ago

lol so governor kasich said “get on the bus or get run over?" sounds like facism to me... wow guys really? did you really elect a fascist republican governor?

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15whitesabbath(738 comments)posted 4 years, 7 months ago

Them people sure didnt look like they wanted to be there !!!! look at them on video at wkbn.com

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