TOLEDO (WTOL) - Several UPS workers from the Distribution Center in Maumee are filing a lawsuit against the company for a hostile work environment. In the suit they claim racial slurs were used, and nooses were hung in the workplace and more.
This incident is the most recent, but not the only racist claim in our area. Over the past year there have been several cases, from graffiti on a house and park, to racial harassment at General Motors also leading to a lawsuit, and charges in a hate crime for an alleged plot against an area Synagogue.
The images of racism happening here in our community are hard to see. But NAACP leaders say they are proof that the fight against hate and intolerance is one we must make a priority. They hope we will rise against the discrimination to create an inclusive community.
“We don’t want to have these types of stains nationwide,” said Ray Wood, President of the NAACP Toledo. “We want people to look favorably upon our community because there is too much good work going on here. Too many great people in this community to let the actions of a few and the inactions of some that should know better and do better define us. “
Ray Wood, President of the Toledo Chapter of the NAACP says racism is still very real in our community. That’s evident through several racially charged incidents across our region over the past year. He feels racism is like a disease and left untreated, it will grow.
”We have to look at it dead in the eye and say this is not who we are,” said Wood. “Toledo is much better than this, Toledo is a community that’s grown together that’s brought, done a lot of wonderful things not just here, but in the state and in the country. We just have to ban together and stick together.”
Wood believes change will begin when we prioritize the issue and start talking about it.
“When you sit down and talk about it, then that opens up the door,” said Ray Wood. “First of all, how are you going to address it? I accept that your reality is different from mine.“
Once the conversation has started then we can work towards solutions. Wood with the NAACP believes it’s also critical we start having stricter guidelines, expectations and serious punishment for acts of racism.
”Be who you say you are,” said Ray Wood. “If it’s zero tolerance, let it be zero tolerance. If it’s unacceptable, truly let it be unacceptable. We have to let everybody have a clear, clear understanding that it won’t be acceptable."
The NAACP says they will continue to fight for a community without hate.