Working Together to Work with Others: This Thursday’s January AHEAD Meeting

Join us this Thursday, January 24th, from 6-8 p.m. at the Town Hall in Bluffton (154 N. Main St.) for the January AHEAD meeting.

The January meeting will begin with our delicious potluck, followed by a sensitivity workshop that will include training on how to work effectively with people from different backgrounds than our own. AHEAD’s goals include “Connect with diverse populations in our communities and work with them to support the vulnerable.” This training will give us some of the skills and insights to communicate with a wide variety of groups who are allies in moving toward a just and better democracy.

We are lucky to have as our workshop leader Chris Caldwell, the diversity lead at Tiffin University. He is knowledgeable, enthusiastic, and warm. This event will bring us together as AHEAD members in a supportive atmosphere to expand our understanding and skills. Please join us!

For more information, please visit the Facebook event page for the meeting: AHEAD January Meeting and Sensitivity Workshop

We hope to see you there!


UPDATE: MLK Day event RESCHEDULED due to weather

Due to this weekend’s snowy weather, tomorrow’s (Sunday, January 20th) Martin Luther King, Jr. Day celebration at St. John’s Evangelical Church has been rescheduled for Sunday, February 3rd, at the same time and place: 3pm at St. John’s Evangelical Church (211 E. Carrol St.) in Kenton.

For a full description of this wonderful upcoming event brought to our community by the Hardin County Talks Planning Committee, please see previous AHEAD post: “She Sang Freedom”: Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day celebration in Hardin County – ALL INVITED!


“She Sang Freedom”: Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day celebration in Hardin County – ALL INVITED!

All are invited to the Hardin County community’s Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day celebration on Sunday January 20, 2019, at 3pm at St. John’s Evangelical Church in Kenton (211 E. Carrol St.)

The event will feature a performance in honor of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. titled, “She Sang Freedom.” It is an interactive program that explores how black female musicians used music as a means of documenting and promoting the struggle for equality and social justice in America. It was created by Dr. Tammy Kernodle, Professor of Musicology at Miami University, who also leads the performance. Dr. Kernodle has served as scholarly consultant to several institutions including the BBC, National Public Radio, Jazz@Lincoln Center, and The Kennedy Center.

All are welcome to attend the free, public program, which is 60-90 minutes long and appropriate for people of all ages and interests. The presentation is educational and informative and will not include any proselytizing or political partisanship.

Please share news of this event! The Facebook calendar invite can be found here, a JPG poster for the event can be found here, and background about the “She Sang Freedom” presentation can be found here.

The event is organized by Hardin County Talks, a local group which seeks to bring our community together on issues of shared interest. Hardin County Talks works with local schools, businesses, government, and individuals to develop and present meaningful, community-wide activities.

A free will offering will be invited to cover the cost of the performance.

More about the event: She Sang Freedom combines a historical framework with live musical performances that move through slavery, the Popular Front in 1940s New York, the front lines of the Civil Rights Movements, and the Black Power movement in the 1970s. The musical voices highlighted through musical performances include Billie Holiday, Odetta, Nina Simone, Roberta Flack, the Staple Singers, Aretha Franklin, and Fannie Lou Hamer, as well as other female song leaders associated with the direct action campaigns of the 1960s.

For more information, please contact: Reverend Vanessa Cummings, 513-255-0205 or hardincountytalks@gmail.com

The Hardin County Talks Planning Committee:
  • Rev. Vanessa R. Cummings – Chair and Pastor, Payne Chapel AME Church, Kenton
  • Marilyn Balthrope – Payne Chapel AME Church
  • Sara Brown – Payne Chapel AME Church
  • Mary Drzycimski-Finn – AHEAD
  • Maya Fischoff – AHEAD
  • Rev. Randall Forester – Pastor, St. John’s Evangelical Church, Kenton
  • Michael Hubbell – Hardin County Democratic Party
  • Rob Radway – Hardin County Republican Party

“…the change we need won’t come from one election alone.” – Barack Obama, 11/7/2018

The following post was written by AHEAD member Jenny Donley. 

When I finally went to bed Tuesday night I felt heartbroken. Leads that had made me so giddy earlier in the evening were disappearing one-by-one the later I stayed up obsessively refreshing the NYT poll results. On Wednesday afternoon I started pulling together my thoughts for a blog post about the outcome of so much hard work. I lost my focus when tragedies occurred in California with yet another shooting massacre as well as the devastating fires that have killed at least two dozen people and destroyed thousands of homes. (Plus Trump’s awful statement in regards to the fires.) The firing of Sessions and the subsequent Nobody is Above the Law rallies further derailed my post-election thoughts. I found that as the week went on, newer articles about the election filled me with pride and hope, while at the same time articles about the shooting, the fires, and the attorney general reminded me of the battle that we are still in the middle of fighting, and why we must be steadfast in continuing to fight it.

The subject line for this post is from a statement Former President Barack Obama made this past Wednesday. The statement itself also includes what I feel is one of the most important takeaways from this midterm election: “America will be better off for it for a long time to come.” (CNN article summarizing Obama’s 11/7/18 statement:  “Obama urges reconciliation, praises Democrats for midterm victories“)

Yet almost a week later Democrats are still asking one another if it was the Blue Wave we had hoped for, and whether or not we won. After several days and sleepless nights spent scouring for articles, I have concluded that we did win overall, and I am proud of everything we accomplished. If you have time to scan the articles included below in the Blue Wave Bibliography that I’ve curated, you’ll hopefully walk away feeling the same.

Blue Wave Bibliography

To begin with, an article that addresses what it was like to watch the returns on Tuesday evening:

  • ‘I Don’t Even Know What to Think’: The Whiplash of Watching the Election Results” (NYT) – Favorite quote from this piece: Ms. David was sounding a common note: A single American may not have power over Florida, or Texas, or the presidential election, or the races around Philadelphia, but that does not mean the only option is to sit back and despair. That is why so many joined the movement in Pennsylvania, because “it’s therapy,” as Ms. Dabruzzo said: Because doing something is not only better than sitting at home, but, as Mr. Lamb’s election showed, it can actually pay off.

Articles that highlight/prove how AMAZING this election was on a national level:

  • Why Democrats’ Gain Was More Impressive Than It Appears” (NYT) – Caption summarizes: “They are poised to win more seats this year than they did in 2006, despite far fewer opportunities.”
  • We Won” (podcast from Pod Save America) – Includes an extensive bibliography with sections covering Democrats flipping the House, statewide victories, challenges in the Senate, Stacey Abrams in Georgia, Andrew Gillum and Beto O’Rourke, Trump’s “press conference meltdown” and the firing of Sessions.
  • Republicans Dominate State Politics. But Democrats Made a Dent This Year” (NYT) – Reflects on the many wins, as well as the losses that are likely due at least in part to gerrymandered districts drawn by Republicans in 2010. “That has haunted Democrats the entire decade,” said Tim Storey, director of state services for the National Conference of State Legislatures.
  • On Politics: The Biggest Stories of the Week” (NYT) – Caption summarizes: From a monumental Election Day to a shake-up in the Trump administration, it’s been a busy week in American politics. Here are some of the biggest stories you might have missed (and some links if you’d like to read further).
  • Sizing Up the 2018 Blue Wave” (NYT) – Really interesting interactive maps from the NYT.

Articles summarizing the incredible FIRSTS that came out of Tuesday’s election results:

  • Night of Firsts: Sharice Davids, Ilhan Omar and More Make History in Midterm Elections” (NYT) – First paragraph summarizes: There were historic firsts across the country on Tuesday night, as voters chose from a set of candidates that was among the most diverse ever to run in the United States. Native American, Muslim and African-American women, and L.G.B.T. candidates, were among those who broke barriers.
  • A night of firsts: the candidates who made history in the 2018 midterms” (Guardian) – First paragraph summarizes: Groundbreaking campaigns have broken barriers this election, with historic candidates changing the face of Congress and statehouses across the US. Women have run in record numbers, and Native Americans, Muslims, Latinos, immigrants, millennials and LGBT candidates have already made history with their campaigns.
  • 16 reasons to be excited about the midterm Rainbow Wave” (CNN) – Beginning of piece: In this election, we witnessed the end of two years of one-party rule and the beginning of a new Democratic Party: younger, browner, cooler; with more women, more veterans and the ability to contest and win races from the deep South to the Midwest. We can debate whether it was a Blue Wave. But in the US House of Representatives, at least, the popular vote margin — at more than nine percentage points — was larger than in the Newt Gingrich wave of 1994 and the Tea Party wave of 2014. I call this torrent of inclusive populism “The Rainbow Wave.”
  • Rashida Tlaib, Ilhan Omar Win, Become First Muslim Women Elected To Congress” (Huffington Post) – House seats in Michigan and Minnesota were won by these two female Muslim Democrats.
  • A Record Number of Women Were Elected to the House by a Wide Margin” (Time) – Article was published in the wee hours of Wednesday morning when returns were still coming in, but the impact was already clear.
  • Jared Polis becomes first openly gay person elected governor in America” (Vox) – First line says it all: Jared Polis has won the Colorado governor’s race, becoming the first openly gay person to be elected governor in America.

Articles about the many wonderful things that YOUR hard work helped make happen in Ohio:

  • Sherrod Brown reelected to US Senate: old-time labor liberalism triumphs over Ohio’s rightward drift” (Vox) – My summary: Ohio loves Sherrod. From the article: Ohio Democrat Sherrod Brown secured his reelection to the US Senate, winning in a state that Donald Trump carried by 8 points in 2016.
  • Want To Beat Trump In 2020? Look At Sherrod Brown’s Big Win In Ohio” (Huffington Post) – Caption summary: Of all the Democrats who could play a part in the next presidential campaign, the Ohio populist emerged from Election Day with the most to brag about. 
    • Quote from Sherrod Brown: “Populists are not racists,” he said. “We do not appeal to some by pushing down others. We do not lie. We do not engage in hate speech. And we do not rip babies from their families at the border. … We will never ever give up the hallowed ground of patriotism to the extremists — at the statehouse and in the White House.
  • First Black Woman Elected To Ohio Supreme Court” (WOSU Public Media) – Judge Melody J. Stewart, a Democrat, is the first African American woman to be elected to the Ohio Supreme Court.
  • Voters bring historic change to Ohio Supreme Court” (Cleveland.com editorial) – In addition to Judge Melody J. Stewart’s momentous election as the first African American woman elected to the Ohio Supreme Court, Democrat Michael P. Donnelly was also elected to the Ohio Supreme Court. The seven current Ohio Supreme Court positions are all held by white Republicans.
  • 5 Ohio House seats won by Democrats (source: Ohio Democratic Party on Facebook) – Mary Lightbody, Casey Weinstein, Phil Robinson, Allison Russo, and Beth Liston all won Ohio House seats.
  • 4 Democratic members of the U.S. Congress were re-elected (source: Ohio Democratic Party on Facebook) – Joyce Beatty, Marcia Fudge, Marcy Kaptur, and Tim Ryan won re-election to Congress.

It is still not decided for Florida, Georgia, and Arizona:

Democrats in Texas aren’t giving up, and neither should we:

  • Beto Voters In Texas Aren’t Heartbroken — They’re Ready For The Next Fight” (Buzzfeed) – This quote from the article is the best summary of the situation for Democrats in Texas: “We awoke a beast,” one Houston-area volunteer told me. “It’s not going back to sleep.”
  • The Success in Beto’s Failure” (NYT opinion piece) – From the article: O’Rourke gave Texans who have long felt disenfranchised a glimpse of what could be…It wasn’t all for nothing: The enthusiasm for Mr. O’Rourke most likely helped less glamorous and less moneyed candidates win down the ballot. The youthful attorney Lizzie Pannill Fletcher beat the self-satisfied Republican Congressman John Culberson, who had represented West Houston since 2001. In North Dallas, the Democrat Colin Allred, a black former N.F.L. player and civil rights attorney, defeated the Republican Pete Sessions, who had held office for 22 years, was chairman of the House Rules Committee and had sworn vengeance on Obamacare. Maria Teresa Kumar, the president of Voto Latino, which mobilizes Latino voters, tonight said that her organizations saw a 500 percent increase in registration among young Latino voters in Texas, the state that previously had the lowest voter participation of all.


We aren’t done fighting. We will probably never be done fighting, but we may sometimes need to remind ourselves and each other of the progress we have made. One of my favorite quotes is by Desmond Tutu, and I wish to share it as a conclusion to this post. We may often feel lost in these deepest of red parts of Ohio where we have built our lives, regardless of whether we are from here or arrived here. It reminds me, each time I read this quote, that what we do here in Hardin County and Allen County DOES matter and DOES make a difference.

“Do your little bit of good where you are. It’s those little bits of good put together that overwhelm the world.” – Desmond Tutu

Jenny apologizes that she cannot remember to whom she owes credit for the original version of this image that she edited post-election. If it was you, or you know who deserves credit, please email ahead.oh.web@gmail.com.

NOBODY IS ABOVE THE LAW—Mueller Protection Rapid Response Rally in Lima TONIGHT

Trump has fired Jeff Sessions, putting the Mueller investigation in jeopardy. Please join AHEAD in Lima Town Square tonight (Thursday, November 8th) at 5pm to show Trump and his cronies in the GOP that NOBODY is above the law. Bring your signs, your energy, and your voices. We will have speakers at the event, and if you or someone you know is also interested in speaking, please contact AHEAD!

Link to the Nobody is Above the Law – Lima Facebook event. Please share!

Note: If you choose to attend this event, you agree to engage in nonviolent, peaceful action, to act lawfully, and to strive to de-escalate any potential confrontations with those who may disagree with our values. Everyone participating in this event will be required to abide by all applicable laws and lawful orders of authorities. This event will be nonviolent and will not involve any civil disobedience or other violation of law.

It’s time to VOTE, and not too late to remind others to do the same!

Early voting is upon us, and Election Day is just a week and a half away! It’s not too late to get involved, and to remind others that they still have SEVERAL opportunities to vote prior to November 6th, 2018.

Kerry Bush, AHEAD-member-extraordinaire, has created printable sheets of Hardin and Allen County bookmarks that are linked below. There is a front-and-back printable PDF with 5 bookmarks per sheet for each county. Each bookmark contains a wealth of information to help remind residents of county-specific voting locations, early voting hours and dates, and Election Day voting hours. The flip-side of each bookmark lists Democratic candidates on the ballot in each county. Succinct and powerful tools to hand out while there is still time!

Allen County Bookmarks: Voting hours and Democratic candidates included

Hardin County Bookmarks: Voting hours and Democratic candidates included

Please print and share, and we encourage you to stop by the Democratic Headquarters in each county: 562 W. Market Street in Lima and 128 N. Detroit Street in Kenton!



October’s AHEAD Meeting is TONIGHT, October 1st!

October and November AHEAD meetings

AHEAD’s next monthly meeting is today, Monday, October 1 in Ada. Both this meeting and our next (in Lima, November 5) will focus on election action. After a potluck and announcements, we will support candidates in practical ways: making calls, writing letters, knocking doors, recording videos! Bring your ideas, energy, and friends.

The October meeting is in Ada, 6-8 p.m., at Ohio Northern University’s James Dicke College of Business on Main St., between Lehr Ave. and University Ave. We’re in the same room as our last Ada meeting, the Dicke Forum (biggest room on the first floor). Thanks to the ONU College Democrats for co-sponsoring!