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Toledo Area Leaders Analyze Current Outreach Efforts in the Minority Communities


By Tricia Hall

Sojourner’s Truth Reporter


Local leaders from the government, social service and community-based  agencies discussed urgent community issues during a recent video call that was held on May 14, 2020. Community leader Paul Hubbard convened and facilitated the 45-minute meeting that requested reports on current outreach efforts in specific sectors with respect to opportunity gaps.


The video conference included representatives from the Lucas County Commissioner’s office, Toledo Unit NAACP, Complete Count Committee, Center of Hope, Toledo African American Chamber of Commerce and The Movement.


The first topic solicited information about coronavirus testing sites. The first local testing location was Rite Aide, and by mid-April, four additional locations now have the resources to provide testing. These sites are Neighborhood Health Association, Kroger and Walmart.


“We’ve advanced our testing abilities, in part thanks to Doni Miller and NHA, one of the current testing locations. We’re testing the men and women of Cherry Street Mission, and looking at public housing testing in the future in partnership with LMHA,” explained Pete Gerken, Lucas County Commissioner.


The Toledo Unit NAACP the annual Freedom Fund dinner. “We’re having conversations about health verse wealth, and employees re-entering the workforce. We understand that people, our people are cautious right now because of reported health issues. We are willing to help our community wherever it is needed. We will volunteer to check on seniors, help with the Census or other needed services,” explained Ray Wood, president Toledo NAACP.


The group discussed the shifted 2020 census timeline. Residents have until October 31 to complete a self-response form. Census takers will conduct field interviews from August 11 until October 31. The Census Bureau will review submitted data from May 1, 2020 until July 2021, then deliver final population data to the president by April 30, 2021. The results are also delivered to Congress just 14 days after the president receives the results and than legislative redistricting begins. According to local new reports, Toledo’s self-response rate is low.


“We’re focusing on the low response Census Tracts in Toledo. Everything that we are talking about today is impacted by the Census. This impacts our public housing, homelessness services, redistricting, and so much more. We have to get our self-response numbers up and if you’re on this call today, I am asking you to join this call to action,” explained Deborah Barnett, Toledo-Lucas County Complete Count Committee coordinator.


In the midst of the pandemic, several faith-based institutions expanded or launched food pantries. “Several religious leaders are addressing food insecurity in our communities. We’re here to serve our communities. We have also begun having conversations with the Toledo’s Mayor to discuss utility concerns of local churches,” explained Rev. Donald Perryman, PhD, pastor of Center of Hope.


The primary election and November’s election was also discussed by Tina Butts of the Movement. The local board of elections reports that 16.7 percent of Toledo’s voters casted their ballots, and this was after the March Ohio primary was rescheduled due to the pandemic.


“We need to mail out the November ballots now, instead of waiting until the last minute. Toledo’s mail has an average turnaround of 7-8 days. There were people who waited until the last minute to request a ballot to vote in the primary election. We need to make sure that our people are aware of their voting options, because we’re facing an uphill ballot in November,” explained Tina Butts of The Movement.


The final topic discussed was local economic development. Commissioner Gerken explained county-wide efforts while Roy Hodge of the Toledo African American Chamber of Commerce and Toledo’s Jumpstart provided a city-wide prospective.


“At the Toledo African American Chamber of Commerce we’re diligently identifying and bridging gaps for entrepreneurs of color that are in the area of technology assistance, professional filings, and restructuring organizational structures in this space. At Jumpstart, we’re working with our clients and providing resources that can remove obstacles that can assist our community,” explained Hodge.


“The County’s economic development plan is different than the City of Toledo, our focus is workforce and training. We focus on the actual workforce, matching employers with employees, and meeting workforce needs. I find that the information I received today was valuable. I can use these talking points to push initiatives. I would like to create a community roundtable based off today’s conversations, of individuals from different industries and coalitions. We need to take what we learned today and share it with our partners. We need to take what we learned today from all the speakers, and share it with our larger audiences,” explained Commissioner Gerken.


A list of some local faith-based food pantries includes: Toledo Masjid Al-Islam located at 722 E. Bancroft St, Lutheran Social Services of Northwest Ohio on Collingwood Blvd., Monroe United Methodist Church, River of Life Church located at 3611 Upton, Indiana Avenue Missionary Baptist Church. Those in need can contact United Way 211 for additional locations.


According to the Lucas County Board of Elections, Ohio citizens have 90 days until the election to request an absentee ballot. The absentee ballot must have proper postage to the return envelope, postmarked no later than the day before the election day, and received by the board of election office no later than the 10th day after the official election day. For additional information about in-person Absentee voting or returning an absentee ballot in person, visit the Lucas County Board of Election website or call 419-213-4000.




Copyright © 2019 by [The Sojourner's Truth]. All rights reserved.
Revised: 05/22/20 00:56:04 -0400.

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