MLK day Lorain County conference calls for resolution of international crises

By Jordana Joy jjoy@morningjournal.com @MJ_JordanaJoy on Twitter
Lorain Morning Journal

In honor of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day, several northeast Ohio religious and community leaders conducted a news conference presented by the Interfaith Ministries of Lorain County and the International Council for Urban Peace, Justice and Empowerment on local and international crises plaguing communities.

The main topic of discussion at the Lorain Public Library System South Lorain Branch2121 Homewood Drive, was centered around the humanitarian crises in Yemen and on the U.S.-Mexico border as a way to honor the universal justice that King spoke of near the end of his life.

“We keep him in a dream, we keep Dr. King in a dream,” said Imam Paul Hasan, head of the Interfaith Ministries of Lorain County in reference to a speech King gave on economic justice. “Dr. King was talking about things that they really didn’t want him to talk about, so soon as Dr. King began to talk about the universality of the struggle, then Dr. King became a problem.

“So what we wanted to do today was talk about the universal connection between Americans and our struggle in this country, with young African Americans who are self-destructing in our community. There’s no justice in our particular community.”

Panelists called for the end of U.S. financial and military support of Saudi Arabia in an effort to end the war against Yemen.

Additionally, panelists called for asylum seekers at the U.S.-Mexico borders to be reunited with their families and “should not be political pawns and treated inhumanely,” the release said.

Panelist Mark Jaffee, who is religious director of Agudath B’nai Israel Synagogue1715 Meister Road in Lorain, said the United States also feared security issues when Jewish Europeans sought refuge before and during the Holocaust in the 1930s and 1940s.

By the time the federal government obtained proof of genocide, millions already had been killed, Jaffee said.

“Talking bigotry, talking about extreme paranoia, it’s like I’m talking about today,” he said.

Panelist Greg Coleridge, of Move to Amend, said humanitarian crises stem from moral, democratic, economic, environmental and militarized crises as well.

“(Climate change) is getting worse and much more migration is taking place and how are we gonna respond?” Coleridge asked. “Right now, we’re responding militarily by the end of a gun and through tear gas being directed at men, women and children.”

In finding ways to look onward and upward locally, Lorain City Schools CEO David Hardy Jr. said speaking up about things that matter, like education.

“If we think about things in our world that matter today, there’s nothing really no more pressing of an issue than two things: the health and well-being of people and the education and outcomes of those in our lives,” Hardy said.

However, with state reports stating that only 1.1 percent of Lorain Schools graduates are adequately prepared for a career or college after graduation, Hardy said there is plenty that needs to be done.

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