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Group Aims To 'Cultivate Racial Unity' Through 'Humanity Not Insanity'

Nine people, some in Humanity not Insanity t-shirts huddle together with arms around each other.
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Humanity Not Insanity
Members of the Woodward High School class of 1978 left to right: Neal Rothschild, Linda Timmons, Peggy Maxberry, Jim Cleary, Stevie Shipman, Louise Williamston, Angela Neal Washington, Pamela Moore, Denise Harris.

A group of Woodward High School graduates launched the non-profit Humanity Not Insanity to bring together people of all races and backgrounds and help them overcome their fears through listening, talking, respect and having fun.

With unrest following the killing of George Floyd unfolding across the country, 1978 Woodward High School graduate Jim Cleary, like many, was upset about racial divisions in America. He made up his mind to talk to his friends and former classmates.

"I could not sleep at night. Concern compelled me to reach out and be part of a solution," he says.

Cleary and his classmates began meeting on Zoom to talk about the lack of unity and think about how they could create a positive change. They called themselves the Cincinnati Bulldogs after their high school mascot.

Their philosophy? "When Black and white people know each other, they are not afraid of each other. Let's bring white and Black people that would never ever meet together at a gathering and just have fun."

They've launched the non-profit Humanity Not Insanity to bring together people of all races and backgrounds and help them overcome their fears through listening, talking, respect and having fun.

The stated mission is "the promotion of interracial dialogue with a focus on understanding and eliminating racism and fear and encouraging purposeful social integration."

"It is about humanity," says Denise Harris, one of the founding members. "We want to generate a good cause in the sense that when people are coming together that they can feel safe and we can work on how we can do some social good."

She says they want to promote positive social good, and get others involved in the effort.

"We've reached points in our lives where we realize the only way to make a positive change, rather than complaining or talking about what isn't being done, is to be part of the change. We feel like we've all learned something in life and from life and we just want to share and not only promote awareness but be a part of positive change."

To that end, Humanity Not Insanity is hosting "The Gathering For All" on Saturday, Sept. 11, at Fleischmann Gardens park in Avondale. The event will have food, music, and games, and offer a chance to learn about the organization. It also serves as a launch for the Cincinnati Bulldogs chapter to introduce its Empowerment Workshops program aimed at investing in local high school seniors.

"As senior high school students going into adulthood (this will) give them the tools and skills they need to bypass a lot of the system barriers," Harris says. "If you don't have the wisdom and the knowledge of how those things really function, a lot of people get trapped into early debt. Just helping them be more prepared in learning how they can leave out of high school but be on a path of self-sufficiency that will be safe and that will be healthy for them. That will be brought about by helping them eliminate some of those barriers that occur when you just don't know."

That could include teaching about how credit cards and debt work, for example.

Humanity Not Insanity is hoping its mission will catch on. The members want to grow their chapter and see other chapters form around the country.

"We want to be a part of positive change," Harris concludes.

Details

The Gathering For All is Saturday, Sept. 11, from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. at Fleischmann Gardens in Avondale. The event is free and open to everyone. There will be a moment of silence at 2 p.m. for the victims of the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks.