Statement on Police Brutality

The Secular Humanists of Western Lake Erie were dismayed over the news of the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis on May 25th at the hands of several city police officers.

Floyd was compliant and in handcuffs when he was taken to the ground and one officer ground his knee into Floyd’s neck which led to his death. That action is unconscionable and the officer should be prosecuted to the full extent of the law. The other officers who stood around and let it happen should also be prosecuted.

The crime that Floyd was taken into custody for doesn’t have a death sentence and even if it did the police officers acted way outside their mandate of protecting and serving. They violated department policy and Floyd’s due process.

This is happening far too often in this country where white police officers with some kind of power trip fetish, over police people of color and SHoWLE demands it stop now.

There is no more time for discussions, task forces, or promises to stop the murders – it MUST STOP NOW.

Police departments, including Toledo’s, must come under citizen led review committees.

Training programs need to be changed to focus on de-escalation and teaching not to use tactics that unnecessarily harm or further marginalize people of color.

There must be a stronger effort to recruit people of color for the police force and there must a strong effort to weed out the officers who can’t treat all members of the public equally and without bias.

We must all work together to end the murder of people in custody by police.

Douglas Berger – President SHoWLE

Berger Spoke At Lights4Liberty Vigil

On Friday evening, July 12th, at Levis Square in downtown Toledo, the Secular Humanists of Western Lake Erie (SHoWLE) co-sponsored the Lights For Liberty vigil to End Human Concentration Camps.

Lights for Liberty partnered with international, national, regional and local communities and organizations who believe that human rights are fundamental rights, are not negotiable, and are willing to protect them.

President Douglas Berger was one of several speakers, at the event in Levis square, who highlighted the human rights issue with the immigration detention camps setup around the country.

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Toledo Humanists Disappointed Gary Johnson Refused To Vote On Six-Week Ban Resolution

Toledo Member of Council at Large Gary Johnson (D)

Toledo City Council passed a resolution on June 26th that condemned passage of the six-week abortion ban by the state legislature back in April. The Secular Humanists of Western Lake Erie support the passage of the resolution. The issue we have was the refusal of Council member Gary Johnson to vote. He fled the council chambers so he didn’t have to vote on the resolution.

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More To My Letter About The Berkeley Puncher Incident


Hayden Williams (right) with President Trump at the 2019 Conservative Political Action Conference on March 2nd.

The Berkeley Puncher is a ’cause celebre’ in the conservative press and social media. Keith Burris, editorial director of Block Newspapers (owner of the Toledo Blade) wrote an op-ed about the ‘war on tolerance’ and used the violent incident in Berkeley as an illustration of ‘both sides’ doing it and it should stop. I wrote a letter-to-the-editor in response.

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Toledo And Lucas County Need To Step Up To Save Public Transportation

It was reported in the news this week that the Board of the Toledo Area Regional Transit Authority (TARTA) voted to cut Sunday and Holiday service due to continuing financial problems. SHoWLE sent an email to the city and county elected officials to step up and save the only public transportation option in Lucas county.

Some background:

The service cut, which, with one exception, will take effect Jan. 6, is expected to cover most of a $3-million-plus budget gap that TARTA leaders had hoped to fill by switching the agency’s local subsidy from property taxes to a sales tax.

But the sales tax failed — for a third time in eight years — to clear a statutory process for getting on last month’s general-election ballot in Lucas County, and the transit authority had no alternative revenue proposal ready to go.

That process required all of TARTA’s current member communities’ legislative bodies to endorse the admission of Lucas County as a new member. Sylvania Township’s trustees, as they had done twice before, voted that resolution down in July, and several TARTA trustees and Mr. Gee on Thursday blamed them for the transit authority’s current situation.

Among board members opposing the service cut was Daniel Woodcock, who said imposing it before seeing how a fare increase might improve the authority’s finances would do a “major disservice” to the community.

But agency administrators said that with each 25 cents of increase generating no more than $250,000 in revenue, and with TARTA already having exhausted its monetary reserves, there was no way to put off the service cut any further.

TARTA board approves service cuts

Here is the email SHoWLE President Douglas Berger sent on behalf of the group:

My name is Douglas Berger and I am President of the Secular Humanists of Western Lake Erie (SHoWLE), a chapter of the American Humanist Association. I am contacting you today with our concern about the current struggles of the TARTA system and the announced end to Sunday and Holiday service.

I don’t think I need to say that a strong and vibrant city and county that is able to be inclusive of all socioeconomic strata needs to have a strong public transportation system. Toledo and Lucas county does not have one and the one we do have seems to be getting worse.

Cutting service impacts the people less able to have or afford alternatives. They may have to work on Sunday or they want to attend church services. Cuts in service also impacts local businesses by reducing the ability of some customers to visit their stores.

I watched again as one stakeholder community was able to block a viable plan for TARTA to survive and be the public transportation option we can all be proud of. I’m afraid that the block was due to a lack of compassion and empathy for the workers and others who depend on the service.

We here at SHoWLE would like to know what are you doing or plan to do to fix TARTA for long term success? I know public transportation isn’t as flashy as a new employer or a renovated hotel downtown, but many people who make up the backbone of the city ride the bus and they vote.

One idea I had is to see if TARTA could be dissolved and a new authority agency created to take over the assets and this new authority would start off funded by a sales tax as most modern public transportation systems are in this country.

The county might see if a small percentage of the hotel motel tax could be used to supplement TARTA funding until a better funding source could be used.

The other stakeholders in the TARTA system need to pressure the lone hold out to allow a sales tax measure to take place. A sales tax would be better than a property tax.

SHoWLE really hopes that all members of the TARTA authority can work to solve this issue so Toledo won’t lose out future businesses who see a broken public transportation system as a negative when considering where to locate.