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Published: Saturday, 2/27/2010

Rights group seeks recruits in Toledo

BY TOM HENRY
BLADE STAFF WRITER

Members are being recruited for a local affiliate of the Atlanta-based New Order National Human Rights Organization.

The group's founder and executive director, Gerald Rose, is the son of the Rev. Floyd Rose, who for years had been one of the Toledo area's most high-profile civil rights activists. Anyone interested in getting in on the ground floor of the campaign is urged to attend a meeting at 3 p.m. today at the Main Library downtown.

"He was consistently the voice for the voiceless," Mr. Rose said of his father, who has relocated to Atlanta himself.

The younger Mr. Rose said he hopes to leave his own mark on his hometown of Toledo while continuing his work in Atlanta. He said he plans to come to Toledo about once a month to check in on the new affiliate.

After a news conference yesterday at which plans for the Toledo affiliate were announced at One Government Center, Mr. Rose introduced Mee Sanders as the Toledo affiliate's first president. Ms. Sanders said Princess Wells will be vice president.

"I want to unite Toledo," Ms. Sanders said. "We're not involved enough with each other."

While the Toledo affiliate is in its formative stages and has not determined exactly how it plans to tackle local civil rights issues, anything from one-on-one mentoring to protest marches is on the table, Mr. Rose said. His message to police Chief Mike Navarre, Mayor Mike Bell, and other local authori-ties: "We will work with you, but we will not wait on you."

Mr. Rose said his group perhaps most closely resembles the Southern Christian Leadership Conference. He said the Toledo affiliate, like the group in Atlanta, hopes to work with area clergy, school officials, and organizations providing services to impoverished and often-forgotten members of the community, regardless of race or religion.

The group stresses nonviolent civil action and, occasionally, nonviolent civil disobedience such as protests. "I'm not afraid to go to jail for what I stand for," Mr. Rose said.

He said he was inspired to return to his hometown after learning about Linda Hicks, a 62-year-old mentally ill woman who was shot to death by police Dec. 14. Officer Diane Chandler, 33, who claimed to have been threatened with scissors, was cleared of criminal charges, and the firearms review board concluded she acted in self-defense.

Mr. Rose said people interested in learning more about the Toledo affiliate are asked to call him at 404-483-8284 or Ms. Sanders at 419-870-1456. He said questions also may be directed to them via their e-mails, n1992order@yahoo.com and meesndrs@yahoo. com.

Contact Tom Henry at:

thenry@theblade.com

or 419-724-6079.



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