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Presenters Want Their Share of the American Dream

Ohio Advisory Committee Holds Forum at Wilmington College

April 4, 2012

U.S. Commission on Civil Rights chair Martin Castro chats with a member of the Ohio Advisory Committee, which held a public forum Wednesday at Wilmington College.

U.S. Commission on Civil Rights chair Martin Castro chats with a member of the Ohio Advisory Committee, which held a public forum Wednesday at Wilmington College.

“It’s all about the American Dream.”

That statement succinctly sums up Martin Castro’s belief that all Americans should be able to live and work toward success on a level playing field.

“That’s my view of one of the Commission’s most important roles,” he said.

The commission to which he referred is the United States Commission on Civil Rights for which President Barack Obama selected Castro as its first Latino chair. He attended a daylong public forum of the Commission’s Ohio Advisory Committee April 4 at Wilmington College.

There, the committee heard stories by entrepreneurs and testimonials to some of the barriers they’ve faced. The day’s reflections and discussions will be shared with the Commission, which will make recommendations to the president and Congress.

Castro said the Commission on Civil Rights serves as a sort of “watchdog” in identifying and removing barriers that historically have affected many of the nation’s minority or marginalized groups — be they based upon race, gender, ethnicity, national origin, disabilities, etc.

“Success revolves around benefits afforded by the U.S. Constitution,” he said.

Castro is a self-described “product of the American Dream.” His mother and grandparents came from Mexico. The first college-educated member of his family, Castro is president and CEO of Castro Synergies.

In welcoming the public, presenters and volunteer members of the Ohio Advisory Committee, Castro said it was especially appropriate the OAC deviated from its usual meetings in large cities to come to a small, Quaker college in southwest Ohio.
Hope and Bob Cooper speak about their business, Weaver Janitorial Supply of Wilmington.


“It’s not just a place where we’re holding our meeting today,” he said. “Wilmington College is an institution that shares the values of the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights.”

Wilmington College President Jim Reynolds, who also presented welcoming remarks, said the Commission’s goals of justice and inclusion “are congruent with our values of social justice and peace.”

Throughout the day, five panels of three members each gave 15-minute presentations, followed by a 15-minute question/answer period by OAC members.

Some of the advocacy organizations presenting were the Greater Cincinnati Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, Latino Small Business Center, African American Chamber of Commerce of Greater Cincinnati, City of Dayton Human Relations Council, Women for Economic and Leadership Development, the 1851 Center for Constitutional Law, Fifth Third Bank, and the Cincinnati Urban League’s division of Economic Empowerment and Entrepreneurship.

Also, Bob and Hope Cooper, of Weaver Janitorial Services in Wilmington, and Mark Rembert, executive director of the Wilmington-Clinton County Chamber of Commerce, presented at the forum.