MARCC creates an organizing platform for social change. In the 1960s, a small handful of Jewish, Catholic, and Protestant activists and organizers met regularly to discuss their moral and political civic responsibilities. Discrimination was their area of focus, and their state-level advocacy efforts helped pass laws prohibiting discrimination during employment, accommodation, and housing practices.
The 1967 uprisings woke many more congregational leaders into action. It was clear that the new laws against discrimination were not yet effective and more dialogue and organized action was necessary. Religious leaders such as Bishop Roger Blanchard, Rabbi Albert Goldman, Monsignor Ralph Asplan, and The Reverend Paul Long began cooperative talks to plan steps. From these insights and activists MARCC, The Metropolitan Area Religious Coalition of Cincinnati, was initiated.
MARCC’s presence was soon an imprint upon the Cincinnati social landscape. On the afternoon of April 4, 1968, the City of Cincinnati Mayor Eugene Ruehlmann convened a meeting to discuss the city’s deepening racial crisis. He invited business, educational, industrial, human relations, and community leaders; he also sought a voice from the religious community. This became the first public appearance of the newly-organized MARCC.
Over the past nearly sixty years, three executive directors have led MARCC. The first was Bishop C. Joseph Sprague (1968-1973), followed by the enduring tenure of Reverend Duane Holm (1973-2006) who held the organization together and moved it forward through many challenges, and now Margaret A. Fox (2006-Present). Ms. Fox was mentored by both leaders, first as a college intern and then an associate director. Since the beginning, MARCC has been working effectively behind the scenes with City Council, Cincinnati Police Department, Cincinnati Metropolitan Housing Authority, Cincinnati Public Schools, and Hamilton County Jobs and Family Services, among other influential decision-making institutional and administrative bodies.
Now, we know that churches, synagogues, and gatherings are more effective together. Now, our voices can be heard as one to help create positive change. In the 21st century MARCC continues to be a vital voice for justice that speaks from a coalition of many faiths.