IMMEDIATE RELEASE Contact: Hashim Jabar
March 21, 2017 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
RJN! Raises Nearly $2K for Public School at Town Hall Meeting for Congressman Mike Turner and Makes Demands
Dayton, Oh. (Mar. 21, 2017) – Almost two hundred people were in attendance on the evening of Saturday March 18 in the Westwood Elementary school cafeteria for a town hall meeting for Congressman Mike Turner, who was not in attendance.
With disgruntled citizens from various Ohio cities, the event was hosted by Progressive Ohio, Dayton Indivisible For All, Greene County Indivisible, Miami Valley Progressive Caucus, The Resistance Ohio, and Yellow Spring Action Group. The conglomerate of organizations attempted for weeks to get Congressman Turner, who was home on recess, to attend. In an unexpected move, just two days before the event, Congressman Turner released a statement about the event’s hosts, questioning some of the organizers’ truthfulness in identity, giving him a reason for not attending.
Despite the Congressman’s absence, the event continued as planned and event coordinators replaced a live Congressman Turner with a cut out of his image. Speakers addressed issues such as the Affordable Care Act, environmental safety, the Trump administration’s Muslim ban, and local Planned Parenthood offices. Attendees were given signs to wear on their backs representing the zip code in which they lived.
Attendees came in from all over Montgomery and Greene County, some of whom carpooled to the event. Visitors were welcomed by a neighborhood security group called the Street Souljahz who escorted visitors in and out, patrolled the parking lot, and secured the cafeteria. This marked an opportunity for many suburbanites to connect with the residents in the area, as Dayton’s inner city rarely plays hosts for events of this nature, specifically, the predominately black West Dayton.
One of the evening’s highlights was the final speaker, Interim Director of Racial Justice NOW!, H.A. Jabar. Jabar, a volunteer at the Westwood School, talked in depth about how Ohio has ruled its own school state funding method unconstitutional twice and how Dayton Public Schools students were disproportionally affected. Racial Justice NOW! is a member organization of the #WeChoose campaign and strongly supports neighborhood community schools.
“Westwood is a STEM school but can’t even afford a STEM coordinator, (the person who is responsible for teaching and training other teachers). Is this same thing going on in Oakwood or Centerville?” Jabar asked the crowd.
Jabar also talked about the history of West Dayton and how it has been affected by institutional racism. He ended by talking to the cutout image of Congressman Turner, making two demands. The first demand was that Mike Turner come and visit Westwood Elementary, a STEM and neighborhood community school. The second, was that the Congressman make a donation to what he called “The Big Mike Fund” as Jabar proceeded to collect nearly $2,000 from the event’s attendees to benefit Westwood school.