Three-year-old boycott losing steam?

Despite a lingering boycott of Cincinnati conventions, started in 2001 following the shooting of a black man and resulting riots, the city says it’s now on the comeback trail when it comes to minority meetings.

    No major convention has honored the boycott since the Urban League pulled out in July 2002. Author Barbara Ehrenreich was the last celebrity to cite the boycott when nixing her appearance, in March 2003.

    "I haven't seen much evidence of (a boycott) for a long time," Mayor Charlie Luken says.

    Pickets still appear occasionally. Boycott leaders say the boycott won't be over until they say it's over - and that won't happen until long-standing racial problems are resolved.

    But even they acknowledge that they're working less on a boycott and more on other ways to effect change. The Rev. Damon Lynch III, who led the boycott at its height, is involved in programs to help the homeless and poor and plans to run for City Council next year.

    "The boycott as an ongoing tactic needs to be looked at," Lynch says. "While it has provided us with tremendous victories and successes, eventually you can get to a point of diminishing return with any tactic."

I wish the city luck in rebuilding its race relations with groups, and can only fervently wish, in my naive way, that incidents like those that caused the boycott, are a thing of the past not just in Cincinnati, but everywhere.

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