Zoom screen

Did you miss the November Free Press Cyber-Salon? If so, here's a run-down of what happened and how you can be involved next time! View video recording here.

Our speakers were Dr. Bob Fitrakis, Free Press Editor, political scientist and Dr. Marilyn Howard, historian, Black Studies professor and author discussing the general atmosphere in the country now, racism, election integrity concerns and hopes for the future. Points of discussion were how some black males and again, white women, came out for Trump this election, and Kamala Harris’ record.

Mark Stansbery called for a “Peoples’ Forum on Political Economy and the next Regime.”

Bob told us what he knew about election integrity issues during this election. He pointed out how the law firm Porter Wright of Columbus refused to handle Trump’s case in challenging the election. Not so for the law firm Jones Day, as Cliff Arnebeck told us Jones Day has a history of representing the Republican Party and a lot of clerks for U.S. Supreme Court Justices are hired by them.

People concerned about the run-off Senate election in Georgia were told WE can volunteer with Election Defenders - they need calls and texts because ppl in GA said that they turned out when they were called. They will need encouragement to come out again for the run-off. Election Defenders will train you (weekly) and then get you signed up for calls. Postcards too.

Jasmine Ayres brought us all up to date on the activities of the Columbus Civilian Review Board workgroup. She is trying to get subpoena power and proposing that there be both appointed and elected members. There is concern about how many people will be on the Board, who they will be, and how politicized it will become. Jasmine told us about a website where we can find ongoing information about it. There are videos that they want the public to view and report back if they have information.  

Adrienne Hood, this year’s Free PressLibby Award winner, honored at last month’s salon, mentioned that Mayor Ginther stated that there were more videos but if they showed them to the public, the city would burn down. One salon participant shared that they heard police were visiting Black Lives Matter activists in their homes, questioning them and charging them. Another participant shared a news report.

We congratulated newly-elected Common Pleas Judge Terri Jamison on her win and she weighed in on the Civilian Review Board.

Columbus Police Lieutenant Melissa McFadden joined the discussion and also let the listeners know about her new book: Walking the Thin Black Line: Confronting Racism in the Columbus Division of Police.

Participants mentioned the B1 bomber that flew over Columbus on Friday and one witnessed fighter jets over Westside and Upper Arlington Saturday.

Pat Marida reported that the Repeal of HB 6 is being heard in the Senate Energy & Public Utilities Committee next Tuesday, the OPPONENT hearing. The same committee, Senate Energy and Public Utilities. will be hearing proponent testimony Tuesday for HB 104, in which the State would take ownership of high level radioactive waste, unprecedented, and would subsidize research and development of two kinds of small modular reactors. The Senate Energy and Public Utilities Committee will also hear a bill that would eliminate automatic enrollment in gas and electric aggregation. This is an attempt to set back the initiative that just passed in Columbus, Issue 1. 

Upcoming legislation in the Ohio House:

It was noted that Ohio has passed more legislation during lame duck than during the full assembly for 10 of the last 11 assemblies (a decade or so). So many bills need our attention now on guns, abortion, death penalty, HB6 - we cannot testify online yet and masks are not required at the chambers but you can post written testimony or put on social media short video clips.

  • Good bill to abolish the death penalty from Sen. Antonio. - might be possible to end this in lame duck.
  • HB 786 would suspend certification of major solar and wind farms in Ohio.
  • Ohio bill just introduced by two Republican women to deeply curtail or cool protestors’ protesting by criminalizing actions as “riots” when even a fist-fight breaks out. See PDF attached below.
  • There are gun bills too - you can say you felt “threatened” after you shoot. Also eliminating the requirement for training for buying guns.
  • Prevailing Wages under attack as well.


  • Columbus Museum of Art will have Virtual Exhibition Talk on Wednesday at 6pm. Gallery Preview Thursday-Friday, Nov 19-20 - Free admission use Promo Code: AMINAH. Visit columbusmuseum.org to RSVP. Amina Robinson’s House and Journals.
  • “Kiss the Ground” is a new film about how regenerating the world’s soils has the potential to rapidly stabilize Earth’s climate, restore lost ecosystems, and create abundant food supplies.
    Special Virtual Screening: Wednesday December 2, 7 pm
    Gift To Be Simple 2020
    KISS THE GROUND Discussion + Q&A with local experts and farmers at 7 pm
    A link to watch the film will be provided after signing up on Eventbrite.
    It can be viewed now on Netflix
    Directors Josh and Rebecca Tickell have spent the last seven years tracking regenerative agriculture and unpacking the science behind it. Narrated by Woody Harrelson and featuring music from Jason Mraz, the star-studded film explains why transitioning to regenerative agriculture could be key in rehabilitating the planet, while simultaneously invigorating a new sense of hope and inspiration in viewers.
    “CLIMATE-SKEPTIC-PROOF“  – Fast Company
    Join the Discussion and Q&A at 7 pm to learn from local experts and farmers who are practicing regenerative agriculture and permaculture in central Ohio. Panel will be announced soon.
    Visit the website and watch the trailer for more information about this remarkable film.

  • Laurel’s Green New Deal bandana. It has snippets of articles about what the GND could be. Also it is embedded with 25 environmental & progressive websites one being WGRN.
  • Free Thanksgiving Grocery Giveaway – Saturday, November 21, 12-3pm, 1634 Minnesota Ave., Columbus, 43211. In the midst of a pandemic, we know family and tradition are more important than ever. Thanksgiving will be different this year, so together we want to help ease the stress of some family’s holiday dinner.

The salon opened with a song by political singer/songwriter David Rovics.

Hope to see you at the next one!
Pete Johnson
President, Columbus Institute for Contemporary Journalism

Contact: 614-253-2571

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