Sojourner’s Truth Staff
The Ohio NAACP and the Ohio Black Media Collective joined forces on Friday, September 10 to hold a Black Media Luncheon in Columbus, Ohio at the Crown Plaza Hotel. The theme of the luncheon was “Building a Stronger Ohio.”
Mike McNair, PhD, publisher of the Buckeye Review, served as the master of ceremonies for the luncheon and Tom Roberts, the Ohio NAACP president, was also part of the program to welcome guests and offer comments about the contributions of the various components of the state’s black media to the quest for an equitable society.
Toledo’s own Montrice Terry delivered the welcome for the Secretary of State Frank LaRose, who explained his office’s approach to ensuring that Ohio’s citizens have an opportunity to know how they can easily cast their ballots at election time.
The luncheon’s guest speaker was Ray Miller, former Ohio State senator and the president and publisher of the Columbus African American News Journal. Miller. Miller served in the Ohio General Assembly for 24 years – 16 years in the House of Representatives and eight years as a state senator. He is well known for being the chief sponsor of legislation which established the Ohio Department of Alcohol and Drug Addiction Services, the Ohio Commission on Minority Health, the Institute for Urban Education at Central State University, the Mental Health Reform Act, first time state funding for Head Start in the state of Ohio along with many other public policy and systemic change initiatives.
“We wear the mask that grins and lies,” said Miler, quoting the poet Paul Lawrence Dunbar, as he addressed the variety of difficulties African Americans have always endured and the trouble they have had in dealing with such difficulties. His long-time work with issues such as health disparities, substance abuses, mental health and education, he explained, stems from his very personal family connection to such matters as a youth.
Sharing the head table with McNair, Miller and LaRose, was William Ellis, Jr, editor/publisher of The Reporter (Akron), who introduced Miller.
The Ohio Black Media Collective is a recently-formed organization of Ohio African American newspapers and radio stations.