Local protest marks anniversary of Breonna Taylor’s death

People march in the street in downtown Dayton about  at a Black Lives Matter protest on the anniversary of Breonna Taylor's death in Louisville. Eileen McClory / Staff
People march in the street in downtown Dayton about at a Black Lives Matter protest on the anniversary of Breonna Taylor's death in Louisville. Eileen McClory / Staff

A Black Lives Matter protest Saturday in downtown Dayton in honor of the anniversary of Breonna Taylor’s death drew several dozen people and a small police response when participants briefly marched in downtown streets.

The protest began on Courthouse Square at around 1 p.m. Saturday included a short march. Organizers asked those in attendance to march in the street for a few blocks, but to remain peaceful.

Police at one point ordered about 20 people off the streets and back onto the sidewalks.

“People need to listen and the more we stay on the sidewalk, walk in the lane they tell us to walk in, do the things they tell us, as long as we stay in the box that they built for us then we’re not really making a change,” organizer Fred Lambert said. “Part of what this has to be is we have to be up front and we have to face the enemy and we can’t just continue walking the line that they set for us.”

Members of the New Black Panthers were there providing security, Lambert said. Some of those members were carrying guns.

Lambert said he worked with a network of different organizations to organize the protest.

About 40 people attended the beginning of the protest in Courthouse Square, which mostly consisted of speeches and discussion.

Ari Divine, said the day was about honoring the people and lives that have been lost.

She added the day felt like the same day 12 months ago.

“Very little has been done,” Divine said. “It’s a day of honor though, honoring the lives we have lost to the movement. And just really acknowledging their sacrifices, their families’ sacrifices.”

Kathy Yohn, of Germantown, spoke at the protest and said she was “trying to do the work and trying to learn.”

“I’m just here as someone who wants to see more coalition building, more people turning out, more people holding on to hope, whether that be in a higher power or in the ethics of this, or just in the hope that we will progress,” Yohn said. “We will progress. We will prevail.”

One speaker, Talis X, said both the past and the future are important in this fight. Teaching the children is important, he said.

“To fix the future, you must work on the children,” he said.

He said the movement must be “uncompromising.”

“Don’t tell me to forget my history, because my history is where my power is,” he said. “My power is in my ancestors. My power is in my history. I can’t forget it.”

Contact Eileen McClory at 937-694-2016 or eileen.mcclory@coxinc.com.