Vigils in Dayton, Huber Heights mark one-year anniversary of George Floyd’s death

Huber Heights residents sing ‘Lift Every Voice and Sing,’ the hymn often referred to as the Black national anthem at a celebration of Black lives on the one-year anniversary of George Floyd's death.
Huber Heights residents sing ‘Lift Every Voice and Sing,’ the hymn often referred to as the Black national anthem at a celebration of Black lives on the one-year anniversary of George Floyd's death.

Minnesota police officer was convicted in Black man’s death.

Several Dayton area communities held vigils and demonstrations Tuesday evening to honor the life of George Floyd on the one-year anniversary of his death at the hands of a Minneapolis police officer.

More than 25 people gathered in Courthouse Square in downtown Dayton and lit candles.

About 25 people gathered at Courthouse Square in downtown Dayton Tuesday evening, May 25, 2021, on the one-year anniversary of George Floyd's death by a Minnesota police officer. JORDAN LAIRD/STAFF
About 25 people gathered at Courthouse Square in downtown Dayton Tuesday evening, May 25, 2021, on the one-year anniversary of George Floyd's death by a Minnesota police officer. JORDAN LAIRD/STAFF

Credit: Jordan Laird

Credit: Jordan Laird

“To be Black in America is to be in fear all of the time,” said Ari Rose Divine, one of the event’s organizers. “We put this together to honor those ancestors, to honor George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, John Crawford and the millions of people that we’ve lost.”

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More than 40 people gathered for a similar vigil in Huber Heights. The celebration of Black lives included singing “Lift Every Voice and Sing,” the hymn often referred to as the Black National Anthem and holding candles while a speaker read the names of Black Americans who lost their lives at the hands of law enforcement.

Yolanda Stephens, chair of the Huber Heights Culture and Diversity Citizen Action Commission, said slavery might be gone but racism is alive in America today.

“We saw that with our own eyes one year ago when George Floyd died when a knee was placed on his neck for nine minutes as he said, ‘I can’t breath,’ as he cried for his mother,” she said. “I don’t know how any of us cannot acknowledge what has happened and what continues to happen.”

Huber Heights residents hold candles at a vigil on the anniversary of George Floyd's death while a speaker reads the names of Black Americans who have lost their lives at the hands of law enforcement.
Huber Heights residents hold candles at a vigil on the anniversary of George Floyd's death while a speaker reads the names of Black Americans who have lost their lives at the hands of law enforcement.

Credit: Jordan Laird

Credit: Jordan Laird

Demonstrations in support of the racial justice movement were also held in Yellow Springs and Sugarcreek Twp. on Tuesday evening.

A demonstration in Sugarcreek Twp. at the intersection Wilmington Pike and Clyo Road marks the one-year anniversary of George Floyd's murder in Minneapolis.
A demonstration in Sugarcreek Twp. at the intersection Wilmington Pike and Clyo Road marks the one-year anniversary of George Floyd's murder in Minneapolis.

Credit: Submitted

Credit: Submitted

Former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin was convicted in April of murder and manslaughter in Floyd’s death. Chauvin was videotaped by bystanders kneeling on the 46-year-old Black man’s neck for 9½ minutes as Chauvin and three other officers were detaining Floyd.

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Floyd’s death prompted a number of protests throughout the nation and in the region last summer.