Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Community activists, Ohio Black elected officials to picket over racist billboard in Cleveland's poor, Black communities that threatens voters with prison, $10,000 fine if they vote this year, protest is Thursday, Oct 11, 10: 30 am, E. 35th St and Community College Ave, Councilman Cleveland, state Sen. Turner, State Rep Williams to hold press conference with community activists at rally

The bill board at 35th St and Community College Ave. near Cuyahoga Community College in Cleveland on its predominantly Black east side of town in the impoverished Central Neighborhood where Cleveland Mayor Frank Jackson lives. Community activists and elected officials call  the billboards racist, unconstitutional, voter suppression and voter intimidation of Ohio communities that have a large number of poor and minority voters. A picket over the Clear Channel billboard at issue is set for Thursday, Oct. 5 at 11 am. Community activists want the billboard and others like it  throughout the city and in other Ohio cities like Columbus and Cincinnati taken down immediately. (Photo by Will Monroe Photography, Email:

By Kathy Wray Coleman, Executive Publisher, Editor, Cleveland Urban News. Com and The Cleveland Urban News.Com Blog(

CLEVELAND,Ohio- Community activists, elected officials and others will picket on Thursday, Oct. 11 at 10; 30 am at 35th and Community College Ave. in Ward 5 in Cleveland  over a 
billboard owned by Clear Channel in that area that the activists and some Black leaders say is voter intimidation and suppression that targets poor people, Blacks and other minorities by threatening voters in a key presidential election year with a felony conviction, 3 and a half years in prison,  and a $10,000 fine.

Cleveland Ward 5 Councilwoman Phyllis Cleveland said that she will hold a press conference at 11:00 with community activists under the controversial billboard. State Sen. Nina Turner (D-25) and  State Rep. Sandra Williams (D-11) are expected to joinin her, among others. 

The billboard at issue, which is near the Cuyahoga Community College Metro Campus, is purportedly by a private corporation approved by Clear Channel, but community activists believe that the Tea Party and Republican Presidential Nominee Mitt Romney are aware of it since similar billboards are popping up in minority and poor communities all over the nation, including Milwaukee, WI.  It is in the Central Neighborhood where Cleveland Mayor Frank Jackson lives, one of the country's poorest communities, data show. 

"It is beyond insensitivity and is voter intimidation," said State Rep. Bill Patmon  (D-10), a Cleveland Democrat who argues that the billboards, also of which are up on the west side of Cleveland and in poor and  minority communities in Lorain, Oh., may be unconstitutional.

Groups associated with the protest include Cleveland City Council members, Ohio state legislators, The Imperial Women, The Carl Stokes Brigade, Cleveland Jobs With Justice, Stop Targeting Ohio's Poor, Black on Black Crime, The Oppressed People's Nation, Organize Ohio, The Northeast Ohio Poor People's Economic Human Rights Campaign, Peace in the Hood, The Family Connection Center, The Underground Railroad and the Cleveland Chapter of the New Black Panther Party.

Clear Channel is a national radio, media and advertising conglomerate with seven radio stations out of the greater Cleveland area alone, including WTAM, though the billboard is under the outdoor provision, which is separate from the radio stations but also under the company umbrella.

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