CINCINNATI — A town hall forum was held in Walnut Hills Tuesday night during which the two candidates for Cincinnati mayor, Aftab Pureval and David Mann, discussed topics focused on Black culture and business.
Census data shows that roughly 42.3% of residents within the city of Cincinnati are Black.
The town hall was hosted by Cincy Nice, an organization that aims to create a space for diverse community members to gather, organize and socialize. The group organized the forum hoping to start its own conversation in the race for mayor of Cincinnati.
"Too often Black leaders, Black creatives, Black culture creators, folks on the ground creating what makes our city special, are left out of the conversations," said Billy Thomas, co-founder of MORTER, member of Cincy Nice and an organizer of the forum.
Members of the community came looking for specific ideas to improve equity and opportunity in Cincinnati.
"Make sure the voices are heard of our people, our community and hopefully help holding them accountable when one of them is elected," said Thomas.
When it comes to supporting Black artists and Black art organizations in Cincinnati, both candidates said they would look to promote diversity and inclusion by being more intentional about who gets funding from City Hall.
"The city needs to be serious about the metrics that it's using for diversity and inclusion when we're funding arts," said Pureval.
Mann said he plans to hit where it hurts, but ensuring those who are the beneficiary of any city grants will have to meet clear expectations, or lose support from the city.
Multiple people at the forum asked the candidates about supporting Black-owned business and creating more job opportunities for Black people in Cincinnati.
"It's not worth doing, it's not worth city resources being expended, unless as we do that we make sure there's a significant opportunity for Black citizens," said Mann.
Pureval vowed to help develop strategies to streamline processes for Black entrepreneurs seeking to open a business, so they can do so as soon as possible to create wealth and economic activity in Cincinnati.