LIMA — The president of the NAACP in Ohio was in Lima Friday night, speaking at the Lima Chapter’s Annual Scholarship Banquet at the Knights of Columbus Hall.
Tom Roberts has served in both the Ohio House and Senate and was also appointed to the Ohio Civil Rights Commission.
He was elected to lead the Ohio NAACP in 2017 and is serving a two-year term.
“NAACP has been representing the people of this nation for over 104 years. We’ve taken on some new initiatives — we call them ‘game changers.’ Economic development, health, the environment, education and several others. The message here is to ask this community to help this branch grow. The issues that you’re addressing in this community are the same issues we’re addressing all over,” said Roberts.
Roberts is particularly concerned about the quality of education and believes Lima schools is at risk of being taken over by the state.
“Youngstown and Lorain have already been taken over by the state. Dayton-Trotwood and Lima, are in the pipeline. It’s my understanding that Lima’s on the bubble. So that gives you an opportunity to step in as a community and work to stay in control of what’s going on in your school district.”
Roberts is calling for more involvement of the community.
“If you want to maintain your school board over your school district, then you need to step in and make sure that what you’re doing now with D’s and F’s starts to improve. But we also overall need to look at what’s going on in the classroom. We have to be concerned about what’s going on with those young people. How are they improving? How are their grades? How is their learning taking place? It’s not about the school board, it’s about what’s going on in that classroom. So the message is to get involved with your school before the state takes it over,” said Roberts.
The Lima NAACP chapter uses the annual dinner to raise money for scholarships.
This year they awarded five scholarships.
The recipients included:
• Elysabette Andrews, Bath
• Ijah Austin, Shawnee
• Nikiyja Carter, Lima Senior
• Christopher Schock, Shawnee
• Briana Wright, Lima Senior
Reach Sam Shriver at 567-242-0409.