McCarthy noted that many of the groups that helped organize the event formed after Floyd’s death.
Sugarcreek Cares worked with Greene County Voices, Inclusive Fairborn, YS Speaking Up for Justice in Yellow Springs and Citizens for a Better Beavercreek to organize the event.
Greene County’s population is about 86% white and 7% Black while the U.S. population is about 76% white and 13% Black, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. Bellbrook, in particular, is about 95% white, according to the same statistics.
Protestors stand on the Greene County Courthouse lawn on Saturday, May 22. The quote on the sign is from James Baldwin. Eileen McClory / Staff
Bomani Moyenda, of YS Speaking Up for Justice, said he wanted to be at the event to commemorate Floyd’s death. Moyenda noted former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin, who killed Floyd, was convicted of murder and manslaughter in April.
Chauvin was videotaped by bystanders while kneeling on Floyd’s neck for over nine minutes. The incident occurred as Chauvin and three other officers were detaining Floyd.
“So really what struck me in that video was not only the physical act, but the glaring stare of Derek Chauvin staring at the cameras as if he were sanctioned to permit street execution,” Moyenda said.
While Chauvin was held accountable, Moyenda said that was not enough to create long-term change.
“Whenever these things happen there is an automatic effort to prevent any justice accountability from occurring,” he said.
Ri Molnar of the Dayton Anti-Racist Network and Inclusive Fairborn called on those attending the protest to engage others in the work of anti-racism.
“We need to reach out to people who aren’t as far along as we are, or maybe they are engaging, but maybe a little bit misguided in the way that they’re engaging,” Molnar said. “But you see the enthusiasm and power there.”
Jordan Laird contributed reporting.