More than 200 people attended a community event to showcase Dayton’s diversity and its opposition to a Ku Klux Klan event happening today at Courthouse Square.
>>PHOTOS: Crowds gather to counter KKK rally
Dayton Mayor Nan Whaley praised those who attended the NAACP-organized counter event "to celebrate what Dayton is all about. That we are united against hate and that we are a community that no matter who you love, where you come from, or what you believe, you are welcome in Dayton."
Whaley challenged those in attendance to strive for peace, and she led the crowd in a brief chant of “Dayton United Against Hate.”
"Please keep spreading the word and thinking of what you can do every day to make sure we end systemic racism and systemic inequality," Whaley said.
Derrick Foward, president of the Dayton Unit of the NAACP, said the event showed how people can peacefully assemble to counter hate.
It showed “that we are united against hate and that we are a community that, no matter who you love, where you come from, or what you believe, you are welcome in Dayton,” Foward said.
YWCA Grants and Advocacy Manager Sarah Wolf-Knight said the organization wanted to have a strong presence on Saturday to showcase its mission to eliminate racism, empower women and promote peace, justice, freedom and dignity for all.
“We are so excited to be at this event today to really represent something that we do 365 days of the year,” she said. “While we are really here today standing up against this big red flag of white supremacy in our community, we want to encourage people to get involved with us, the NAACP and other organizations who do this work year around.”
Carlos Jones, a Dayton resident, said he planned to spend “all day just saying ‘Hi’ to people so they feel welcome.”
Tanya McDougle, from the Point Church in Trotwood, said it was important to attend the counter-event to show support for diversity.
“We are a mosaic of God’s creation, and we are better together,” she said.
Love Fest DYT, a block-party style event organized by Dayton resident Carmen Kirkpatrick, was held at Oak and Ivy Park, and featured live performances, food trucks and a DJ.
Kirkpatrick said the event, which ran until 5 pm., had a good turnout and also was peaceful.
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