In connection with legislation known as “Black Laws,” Ohio in 1829 evicted Black people from the state within 30 days if they did not pay a $500 bond and did not possess certain legal documents.
And when public education began in Ohio, state lawmakers opposed the use of tax dollars to teach Black children because those legislators did not want Black families to immigrate there. Accordingly, Ohio in 1878 authorized its school district officials to segregate Black children if in the officials’ “judgment it may be for the advantage of the district to do so.” And the state courts twice affirmed segregation as constitutional and actually declared that there is “an… invincible repugnance to… (racial) fellowship” in Ohio.
Fast forward to 2011- specifically to January 18 when Summit County Common Pleas Court Judge Patricia Cosgrove sentenced a Black hard-working, college attending, single mother with no criminal record to jail simply for trying to provide a quality education for her 12 and 16 year old daughters. As a result, that judge and County Prosecutor Sherri Bevan Walsh turned Kelley Williams-Bolar into a convicted felon who now could be expelled from the University of Akron where she is just a few credit hours short of graduating with a teaching degree, who now could lose her job as a teaching assistant working with special needs children, and who could now be evicted from her public housing apartment. In addition to the ten day jail sentence, she was placed on two years’ probation, required to do 80 hours of community service, and could be ordered to pay the Copley-Fairlawn school district $30,500 in reimbursement for the two year cost of educating her daughters.
Ms. Williams-Bolar was convicted of two felony counts of tampering with records after being arrested in November 2009 and charged with falsely using her father’s Copley Township address in August 2006 while she was living in Akron when she enrolled her two children in a school located in the neighboring predominantly white and higher performing Copley-Fairlawn district where they would get a quality education.
This conviction occurred despite the fact that there were about 40 similar “residency issue” allegations involving other parents during the time this Black mother was being investigated. But as school district officials testified during Ms. Williams-Bolar’s trial, no one else faced criminal prosecution or even civil court action!
Accordingly- because the prosecution, the verdict, and the sentencing were not just plain unfair and not just plain inequitable but also were unconstitutional in violation of the Sixth Amendment (right to an impartial jury), Eighth Amendment (protection from cruel and unusual punishment), and Fourteenth Amendment (right to citizenship thereby overturning the 1857 Dred Scott v. Sandford decision, right to equal protection as later declared in the 1954 Brown v. Board of Education case, and right to substantive and procedural due process) – I respectfully request that as a concerned citizen you take the following actions and spread the word to others to do the same immediately:
- Request that Ohio Governor John Kasich immediately, publicly, and officially state his willingness to direct the Adult Parole Authority to unconditionally pardon Ms. Williams-Bolar because, consistent with Ohio law, there are “reasonable grounds to believe that granting a pardon… would further the interests of justice and be consistent with the welfare and security of society.” (Call the governor’s office at (614) 466-3555 and make this request. Also, get the name and title of the person you spoke with.)
- Request that the Ohio Parole Board immediately, publicly, and officially state its willingness to recommend that Governor John Kasich unconditionally pardon Ms. Williams-Bolar because, consistent with Ohio law, there are “reasonable grounds to believe that granting a pardon… would further the interests of justice and be consistent with the welfare and security of society.” (Call the parole authority at (614) 752-1200 and make this request. Also, get the name and title of the person you spoke with.)
- Request that trial judge Patricia Cosgrove and county prosecutor Sherri Bevan Walsh make a recommendation to the Adult Parole Authority in favor of the unconditional pardon. An unconditional pardon, as opposed to an expungement, is necessary because an expungement cannot be applied for pursuant to Ohio law until three years after the final discharge of Ms. Williams-Bolar’s two year probation, which is in 2016. (Call the judge at (330) 643-2228 and call the prosecutor at (330) 643-2800. Also, get the name and title of the persons you spoke with.)
Finally, right after you make these calls, please contact Avenging The Ancestors Coalition (ATAC) via phone at (215) 552-8751 or via email at ATAC@avengingtheancestors.com and provide us with the name, title, and office of the persons you spoke with.
This will be quite helpful in order to provide us with a record to present to the governor, the parole board, the judge, and the prosecutor if necessary.