civil rights gameI’m a professional communicator and this blog is typically on topics of interest to others like me.  In additon to being a husband and father, I am also a Cincinnatian to the core. 

As we head into the weekend, when Cincinnati will host Major League Baseball’s “Civil Rights Game 2009,” I can’t help but share a few thoughts on outstanding and proud progress for Cincinnati.

Hank Aaron will receive MLB's Beacon of Light Award in CIncinnati

Hank Aaron will receive MLB's Beacon of Light Award in CIncinnati

This weekend, Bill Cosby, Hank Aaron and Muhammad Ali will be honored.  They will receive MLB’s Beacon Award.  Quite an impressive line-up; three folks with scorecards few others can match.  President Bill Clinton will be here and President Obama has been invited to throw out the first pitch on Saturday night (Reds v. White Sox).

Just this past summer, Cincinnati played host the the NAACP Annual Convention and the Progressive National Baptist Convention, two of the largest, primarily African American conventions in the world. 

Cincinnati was just selected as host for the Gospel Music Workshop annual convention, also a very large event, also of great interest and pride for people of color.

Remarkable progress for a city that, like many American cities, struggles with race relations but, unlike many other cities, has been recognized (perhaps a bit unfairly) equally for how it does that well and not so well. 

While there will always be more to do, and more to do better, I think most Cincinnatians are feeling like our collective glass is more than half full when it comes to race relations.

Competitors in the 2008 World Choir Games (Graz, Austria)

Competitors in the 2008 World Choir Games (Graz, Austria)

Tomorrow, Cincinnati will be formally announced as the host for the 2012 World Choir Games, the largest gathering of choral musicians in the world with more than 20,000 competitors from as many as 90 countries and up to 250,000 attendees.  Cincinnati is the first American city to ever host this prestigious event.

Just yesterday I met with a young woman – a job seeker. She isn’t originally from Cincinnati, or even Ohio, but she went to school in Ohio.  She shared that she wanted to move to Cincinnati because, of all the Ohio cities and other cities in our broader region, Cincinnati had teh best reputation for being a welcoming and fun place for young professionals.

She then said that she knew she could never afford to live in New York City or Chicago, so Cincinnati was her choice and she was hitting the pavement pretty hard.

So, fellow Cincinnatians, puff your chests out a little bit.  We’re making progress.  We’re getting noticed.  We may just be the next “it” place for young professionals, and our growing reputation for self-awareness and acceptance and global significance may be some of the reasons why.

But, don’t puff your chests out too far.  There is still plenty of work to be done.

Post by Nick Vehr – 6.17.09