“To me, Dialogue to Change is more than black and white. A key point is that the group strives to peel away layers of hate and get to the root of the problem, something that has more impact than talk or even a here-today, gone-tomorrow unity walk. As the group of pastors brainstormed on what could be their collective plan of attack against racism over the next several months, they struggled to come up with a sure-fire antidote.
But it’s not our destination.” Dialogue to Change Toledo is a program that has been used in cities across America since the early 1990s to foster communications among diverse sets of people in hopes of tackling some of society’s more complex problems.
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Suggestions were made for prayer walks, picnics, newspaper advertisements, city hall petitions, a book study, concerts, attending a Mud Hens game or other sporting event, potlucks, hosting visiting ministers, playing educational games — even trying to develop a speed-dating type of exercise to help area residents learn a little more about each other’s religion.
But nobody put their finger on a strategy that everyone embraced.
We’ve included a few select photos out of the thousands of images we captured over the weekend.
Think of these pictures as an appetizer, if you will, before the main course.
People who were born or have lived in Toledo include Brunhilda of Austrasia, Al-Zarqali, Garcilaso de la Vega, Eleanor of Toledo, Alfonso X and El Greco.
It was also the place of important historic events such as the Visigothic Councils of Toledo.
Savannah Marten, executive director of the Pregnancy Center of Greater Toledo, a nonprofit, Christian social service organization that provides alternatives to abortion, told the group it is important not to engage in what she called “toxic charity” — that is, sponsoring a feel-good event, such as handing out hot dogs, and going home.
Those type of events rarely yield results, and often just give organizers a false sense of accomplishment, she said. Tim Clark, pastor at Harvest Christian Center in Sylvania Township, who said he saw similar efforts fall short of objectives while he lived in Dallas.
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Toledo is known as the "Imperial City" for having been the main venue of the court of Charles V, Holy Roman Emperor, and as the "City of the Three Cultures", having been influenced by a historical co-existence of Christians, Muslims and Jews.