Cincinnati Sit-in a "protest of normalcy"

When Robin Martin moved to Cincinnati in 2007, she noticed that most of the people in the placed she frequented didn’t look like her, she said in an opinion piece to The Cincinnati Enquirer on Monday, July 20.

“Cincinnati is the most segregated city I’ve lived in.” she wrote, citing her time in New Orleans, California and Houston. “It doesn’t have to be, though.”

After several years, Martin decided to do something about the lack of integration she saw in restaurants and other social outing locations. In summer 2013, she launched the Cincinnati Sit-in (CSI), modeled after the Woolworth sit-ins during the Civil Rights Movement, in which she and 24 friends simply spent time in places where they might be the only black faces.

Martin explained that CSI is a “protest of normalcy” and is designed to spark conversations about why Cincinnati seems to be racially segregated in certain places. What started out as a small group in 2013 has since grown into a community of 65 black professionals who are, as Martin wrote, “determined to change the face of local businesses and communities.”

“Next time you take your family out to dinner, quietly take inventory around the room and see who’s missing,” she said. “Consider how we as a community include or exclude differences… If you notice an absence, I challenge everyone to seek answers purposefully, until we see change.”

To learn more about CSI and Martin’s observations about racial and ethnic integration in Cincinnati, read her opinion piece here.

Elizabeth Cychosz 
Marketing and Communications Intern

Photo: Robin Martin is associate provote for special initiatives at the University of Cincinnati. (Photo provided to The Cincinnati Enquirer)

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