About 250 protesters laid on the hot pavement in downtown Fairborn for several minutes, chanting and protesting the killing of George Floyd.
After marching up and down Main Street, protesters stopped in front of the Fairborn Community Library and observed nine minutes of silence for the nearly nine minutes a Minneapolis police officer knelt on Floyd’s neck. Floyd’s killing has sparked protests across the nation against racial inequality.
Fairborn resident Anya Tassy organized the protest.
“I had been going to protests in the area and I wanted to organize something here in Fairborn so that the people of color who live here didn’t think Fairborn was being complacent,” Tassy said.
Dayton natives Nicol Oller and Alexis Dingle have been going to protests in the area and said they plan to continue protesting.
“I have two wonderful black brothers,” Oller said. “What would the tagline say if it was my brother who was killed?”
Oller and Dingle said they are not against white people or police, they simply want equality.
“Cops get to go home and take that uniform off, we can’t change our skin color, we can’t take that off,” Oller said.
“We want to feel safe in these streets,” Dingle said. “I don’t want to fear cops.”
MORE: Protesters march through Dayton Thursday
Several members of Fairborn City Council, the mayor, city manager and assistant city manager were at the protest.
Fairborn Mayor Paul Keller said the city wanted to make sure people who wanted to express their views could do so safely.
Councilwoman Tana Stanton, who marched with a sign that said “justice for all,” said she believed in the cause.
“I would be here even if I weren’t on council,” Stanton said. “I’m happy something is being done.
Tassy encouraged people to sign petitions, to vote and to make their voice heard in other ways. Tassy also encouraged those at the protest to go to the Fairborn City Schools Board of Education meeting to support the removal of a teacher and a board member for a comment he made on social media.
RELATED: Fairborn teacher placed on administrative leave after social media comments
A large crowd showed up for the meeting. About a dozen people signed up to speak about the issue.
Incoming senior Amya Channels said she has experienced racism at school from her peers and teachers, reported it and nothing has ever been done.
“I would love the school to take action,” Channels said. “I should feel safe in the classroom.”
Huber Heights protest plans
There also is a protest planned on Saturday in nearby Huber Heights.
Huber Heights city leaders and the president of the Dayton Unit of the NAACP, Derrick Foward, held a press conference on Thursday.
Huber Heights Police Chief Mark Lightner said officers plan to protect the protesters and property owners.
MORE: Where area protests, vigils are planned this week
“We have no reason to believe the organizers want nothing more than a peaceful protest to occur, and they have been responsible in making that message clear,” Lightner said. “We will not allow anyone to take away from the importance of our citizens expressing their rights or take away from the importance of the true message of the protest as we continue working toward a cure for this and other injustices.”
City Manager Rob Schommer said the city wants to uphold city laws and the U.S. Constitution.
“We want to make sure those that choose to speak out, their voice can be adequately heard rather than muffled through a bunch of noise of a bunch of troublemakers coming in,” Schommer said.
Gore said there is no planned curfew on Saturday, but said if the protest turned violent, the city could decide to institute one.
The city and Dayton Unit NAACP encouraged everyone who attends the protest on Saturday to wear a face mask and practice social distancing.
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