Updated: Perrysburg holds community dialogue against hate


PERRYSBURG — In a reaction to recent racist events in the community, Perrysburg residents came together
in an event designed around building a community dialogue against hate.
More than 90 people filled the Hull Prairie Intermediate School cafeteria in the two-hour gathering that
took place Wednesday evening.
“I was contacted by a group of people who said that the community needs to keep talking about what
happened, that hate will not be tolerated in the community,” said Perrysburg Mayor Tom Mackin. “This is
the result of the grass roots effort of a whole bunch of people who came together, stood up and said
they want to do something about hate so it doesn’t happen again.”
The participants consisted of a cross section of the community that included politicians, parents and
students, and a range of ages and races. Some wanted change for their own families and some for friends
and the community in general.
The event emerged out of two events of racism that recently happened in Perrysburg.
Realtor Jon Modene showed a house to a couple in February. The next week, the home was spray painted with
KKK sayings and other racist words. Modene then organized a Rally against Racism at the Lexington Drive
Around the same time, Perrysburg schools opened an investigation into graffiti with hate speech on a
school bathroom wall.
“I think things have hit a tipping point,” said co-organizer Colleen Boff, referring to the two
Perrysburg incidents and the recent attack at the Waffle House in Bowling Green. “I don’t think there’s
any debate that these are pretty tough times, where difficult racist and troubling things are happening
around us.”
The Hull Prairie cafeteria doubles as an auditorium with a large screen that was used for a PowerPoint
presentation delivered by moderator Jason Daniels.
“It’s really about the aspirations of the people of Perrysburg,” he said. “Tonight is an opportunity to
get all those ideas, solution and aspirations out.”
Daniels then divided the audience into small discussion groups of six to eight members. The groups then
answered a series of questions, followed by group discussion.
One woman with children in the school system, said, “I would like some sort of acknowledgement of Black
History Month, an acknowledgement of other races. I feel like a lot of it could be that they don’t want
to offend anyone they are getting money from, that they are trying to keep things quiet because they
don’t want to ruffle any feathers.”
Another participant said, “If you are sitting there and there’s something going on, our natural
inclination is to mind our own business. It feels really dangerous to stand up against hate, because
everyone’s got a weapon.”
Some suggestions included adding police protection at establishments open late at night and forming an
organization like Not In Our Town with Bowling Green’s version as the model.
Beatriz Maya, from the Latino/advocacy group La Conexión, recommended taking the list of possible
solutions to the city council, as La Conexión plans to do with the results of their recent meeting in
Bowling Green.
Mackin hopes that this will develop into something bigger. He said there are already events scheduled
through the Way Public Library, advocacy organizations and local churches.
At his table, Mackin stressed the importance of following through with action.
“Hopefully people can get engaged in a dialogue. What you are seeing here today is a bunch of good ideas,
but we have to be conscious of those, so that Perrysburg is a welcoming community,” he said.

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