emotional speech, Kasich talks of faith, civil rights
January 18, 2012
Ohio — Tears rolled down Gov. John Kasich’s cheeks yesterday while the
belted out Amazing Grace. As How Great Thou Art wound to a close, he
mostly African-American crowd at historically black Central State
tears and humbly telling the audience, “I don’t really know what I’m
be talking about today,” Kasich launched a nearly 30-minute speech
issues of faith and perseverance and how they related to him, Martin
King Jr., the students in the audience, and his approach to governing.
“As we say,
he’s ’bout it ’bout it when it comes to doing something,” said Zhelma
52, of Xenia, a sophomore at Central State. Kendrick said she typically
Democratic “when it comes to politics,” but Kasich “just came across as
caring and concerned about change.”
listening to him, I have a different perspective on some of these
issues,” she said.
for Kasich’s speech was a Central State convocation. University
W. Garland said Kasich was the first sitting governor to speak at such
engagement during Garland’s leadership tenure, nearly 15 years.
discussed his own faith before, and at times during yesterday’s speech
returned to familiar themes of job creation and policy initiatives, but
never before as governor has he stitched those themes together like he
the slain civil-rights leader whose birthday the nation celebrated on
Kasich said: “It was the grace of the Lord empowering him to do what he
change the face of our country.”
only touched the hearts and the souls of African-Americans, he touched
of white folks who lived in the suburbs and said, ‘This is not the
I love,’ ” said Kasich, who grew up in a small, blue-collar town near
his message to the student body was, “deep in your soul, you can figure
your purpose,” and he encouraged the students to pursue that purpose
African-American, you still have obstacles that are unique, in my
your race,” Kasich said. “Why not admit there are some people in our
that you have to go the extra mile for? I don’t like that, I don’t look
that way, but it happens in our society. But you know what, when you
excellence, when you produce, when you know what you’re doing — oh,
deny you a few times, but they can’t deny you forever.”
Ruffner, 19, a freshman from Cleveland, was impressed: “He just has so
energy,” she said of Kasich.
Colbert, director of the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services and
two African-Americans in Kasich’s cabinet, introduced the governor.
a Central State graduate.
and other articles at the Columbus Dispatch