Cleveland, OH

Hate crimes conference planned

June 10, 2003
The FBI and community leaders are hosting a conference this month to discuss hate crimes and Cleveland's cultures and ethnic groups.
     Hate crimes increased nationally from 7,876 in 1999 to 9,730 in 2001, with about half being racially motivated, said Linda M. Schmidt, an FBI community outreach specialist. Crimes against people perceived to be Middle Eastern rose 153 percent to 2,098 over the same time period, according to the FBI.
     A three-day hate crimes conference held last year in Cleveland attracted an overflow crowd, Schmidt said. So the Hate Crimes Working Group reserved more space this year at the InterContinental Hotel & Conference Center, 9801 Carnegie Ave. The conference begins June 23, when speakers will cover African-American culture, Judaism, Islam, and terrorism.

Insurance group fires back on premium claims

June 05, 2003
An insurance trade organization fired back last week against charges that home insurance companies set unfairly high premiums for Cleveland customers.
     In April, the nonprofit Housing Advocates Inc. filed complaints against seven large insurance firms with the Ohio Civil Rights Commission. The complaints allege the higher premiums charged Cleveland homeowners result in discrimination against racial minorities.
     Ohio Insurance Institute spokeswoman Mary Bonelli said she doubts the very existence of a study on which Housing Advocates officials say they based their complaints. Edward Kramer, executive director of Housing Advocates, said Bonelli's claim is a sign of insurance company desperation.

Insurance firms redlining city: Housing Advocates

May 22, 2003
Insurance and banks or loan companies have certain things in common, said Edward Kramer, executive director of Housing Advocates, Inc.
     Just as lending institutions have been accused of using biased factors to determine where and to whom they will grant loans, Kramer claims many insurance firms use their own form of redlining in writing home insurance policies.
     Housing Advocates contends insurance company redlining results in, among other things, the average Cleveland homeowner paying $104 more annually for insurance than their suburban counterparts.

Butler Jones, CSU sociologist, civil rights activist dies

May 15, 2003
Butler A. Jones, 86, a nationally known sociologist who contributed rigorous scholarship to historic fights against racial discrimination, died Friday in Delaware, Ohio.
     He had lived there since he retired as head of Cleveland State University's Sociology Department in 1982.
     Jones was on a team of young scholars who were recruited by Swedish sociologist Gunnar Myrdal to conduct a study of American race relations. Myrdal's book, "An American Dilemma," has remained the benchmark by which the status of black Americans has been measured since its release in 1944.

Housing group says insurers discriminate

April 01, 2003
A nonprofit housing group says insurers have discriminated against minorities in Cleveland by charging urban homeowners higher premiums.
     The complaints were outlined by the Cleveland-based group called "The Housing Advocates Incorporated." The group says its research shows evidence of similar pricing patterns in Ohio's other largest cities.
     The agency outlined the complaints in a filing for the Ohio Civil Rights Commission. It says similar homes located blocks away in Cleveland and Lakewood routinely get different homeowner policy price quotes.

Gay rights protesters disrupt Methodist conference

May 11, 2000
Chanting religious and civil rights songs of solidarity, demonstrators joined hands and formed phalanxes to block an exit ramp at the Cleveland Convention Center.
    As each group of up to 15 protesters was arrested peacefully, new demonstrators took their place.
    The defiance, which resulted in 190 arrests yesterday morning for disorderly conduct, capped a march by up to 400 men and women around the Convention Center. It was a show of unity to try to influence delegates to the United Methodist Church General Conference to change church policy on issues involving homosexuality.
    ``I'm out here to try to change the hearts and minds of the Methodists,'' said demonstrator Chris Merritt just before police took away his group. Merritt, a Presbyterian and 48-year-old self-employed computer contractor from suburban Atlanta, said he is gay. 

Methodists seek forgiveness for racism

May 05, 2000
More than 1,000 delegates at the annual meeting of the United Methodist Church gathered for an evening of prayer as leaders sought forgiveness for racism. 
     "It's long overdue," said Calvin Williams, a black delegate representing the Baltimore-Washington area. 
     The General Conference, which sets policies for the 8.4-million member denomination, meets every four years. The conference set aside Thursday evening for "repentance for the sin of racism with a call for reconciliation in the 21st century." 
     Methodist congregations across the country should follow the lead of the General Conference and hold similar services, said Bishop Roy Sano of Los Angeles, who led the service. 
     About 95 percent of the church's membership in the United States is
white. 

Civil rights heroes to protest churches' policies

May 03, 2000
Gandhi's grandson, Arun Gandhi; Dr. Martin Luther King's eldest daughter, Yolanda King; and notable civil rights leaders of the '50s and '60s will announce their opposition to the war against homosexuals being waged by the United Methodist Church and other Protestant and Catholic denominations at a press conference, Tuesday May 9 at 7 p.m. in the Cleveland State
University Auditorium, 2121 Euclid Ave. 
     ``The United Methodist Church has a history of social concern,'' explains Dr. Mel White, Co-Founder of Soulforce, the sponsoring organization, ``and yet they begin this Conference in Cleveland just like most Christian denominations with anti-homosexual policies in place that lead to discrimination, suffering, and even death. We've waited patiently for more than three decades for truth to prevail. It's time to take a more powerful stand against injustice and our heroes and sheroes from the past are showing us the nonviolent way.'' 

Sexual orientation eliminated from Ohio job discrimination policy

January 12, 2000
Gov. Bob Taft had the words ``sexual orientation'' deleted from a policy banning employment bias in Ohio government, a newspaper reported today.
    Taft's Executive Order 99-25T was issued without fanfare at the end of August and declares his administration has a goal to ``ensure that all Ohio citizens have equal employment opportunity'' in state jobs, The Plain Dealer reported.
    Taft spokesman Scott Milburn said Tuesday that the governor intentionally deleted the sexual preference language because he didn't want to favor any group. 

HUD takes over Cleveland housing complexes

December 02, 1999
The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development has taken over two privately owned apartment complexes which the department says did not meet federal health and safety standards.
    HUD said Associated Estates Realty Corp., a real estate and management company based in suburban Richmond Heights, had neglected the Rainbow Terrace and Park Village apartments for years.
    The apartments have had numerous problems, including rodent and insect infestations, broken windows and doors, filthy hallways, faulty wiring and furnaces and poor security, HUD said. 

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