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The Rev. Jesse Jackson visits Toledo to address Powertrain Racial Harassment Suit, followed by a visit to The Truth Gallery

January 22, 2019: In light of the recurring incidents at the GM Powertrain plant involving hate messages and symbols that have led to a lawsuit against management, the Rev. Jesse Jackson, civil rights activist, visited Toledo on Tuesday, January 22 to speak with some of the GM workers and to hold a press conference to address the issues at The Truth Gallery.

After speaking with local workers, Rev. Jackson held a press conference at 1 pm, at The Truth Gallery at 1811 Adams Street to address what the Ohio Civil Rights Commission has called a “a culture of racial discrimination and harassment” at the GM Powertrain Plant.

According to the Ohio Civil Rights Commission’s findings: “Nooses, swastikas, White-Only signs, ethnic slurs, racial jokes, offensive or derogatory comments, racist poems are repetitive in Respondent’s workplace. Nooses and swastikas are symbols of racial hatred. The hangman’s noose is one of the most repugnant of all racist symbols, because it is itself an instrument of violence. The totality of circumstances was ignored and Respondent treated the situation like a single-issue harassment case, not a hostile work environment case. Respondent has presented no new evidence to warrant a reversal of the Commission’s decision.”

In attendance was Ray Wood, longtime GM employee and former president of the UAW unit and the current president of the local NAACP. Mr. Wood is a plaintiff in a separate racial harassment suit against the automaker.

Also, in attendance were local pastors – members of the Interdenominational Ministerial Alliance and United Pastors for Social Empowerment; supporters; and public officials including Councilman Larry J. Sykes. Below is a letter to the Toledo Mayor concerning the contents of the suit.  Visit www.sojurnerstruth.com


Dear Mayor Kapszukiewicz:

What response, if anything, is the City planning?

Toledo is a city that is inclusive to all and has policies against racism and discrimination, yet one of our major industrial companies has brought our city to the forefront because it has been found to allow these types of activities to fester and breed within its work place.  I plan to introduce a resolution and ask that all my city council colleges to join me in reaffirming our commitment against this behavior.

As the Mayor of this great city, I am reaching out to you to request that the City take action to address this situation if only to say that we, the citizens of Toledo, and you as Mayor, do not condone this type of behavior, and will take whatever action is necessary to help bring it to an end.

As you are well aware GM receives financial support from the federal government and tax credits from the City of Toledo and Washington Local School District for hiring Toledoans.

That being said, I am asking that you, as Mayor of this City, meet with the leadership of GM Powertrain plant and ask that they address this matter immediately.

Together for a better Toledo

Larry J. Sykes

Councilmember At-Large




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Revised: 01/22/19 22:41:52 -0800.




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