A Better Dayton Coalition announced the Courthouse Square event at a press conference at The Word Church in Dayton.
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“We want to provide hope for Dayton,” White said. “We can break the back of police brutality in this age.”
The memorial service will honor George Floyd and other black men, women and children who have been unlawfully killed at the hands of law enforcement, White said. The “multi-racial and multi-faith” event will highlight the deaths of people killed in Dayton and the state.
White said the service will be an opportunity for Dayton and the surrounding communities to “grieve collectively.”
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“We can collectively have hope that we can do better, that Dayton is better,” White said. “This is only one of the many things we will be doing to highlight and further bring attention to the atrocity of police brutality and murders at the hand of law enforcement.”
Donald Domineck, who is with the coalition and the Dayton Chapter of the New Black Panther Party, said the event was organized for those who wanted to do something, but are not “protesters.”
“There are people in the community who are not protesters, but they want to be a part of the solution,” Domineck said.
The memorial service will serve as the first step in healing for some.
“We wanted to do something for those more spirit-minded who wanted to do something in memory of George Floyd,” Domineck said. “The fact that this murder was caught on tape was traumatic for a lot of people, so there’s going to be an opportunity for the citizens to come out and deal with a healing aspect. We not only need justice, we need healing. This was traumatic for everybody, so we wanted to do something outside of an actual protest.”
Bishop Jerome McCorry, who is also one of the leaders of A Better Dayton Coalition, said the group hopes that with this event, more clergy and religious leaders will get active in the movement.
“We’re seeing our young people lead,” McCorry said. “We hope we might fire the clergy up.”
McCorry said he has worked with family members of victims of police brutality, like the family of John Crawford, and some of those families’ greatest frustrations is that clergy is not active in this movement. Crawford was shot and killed by police in a Beavercreek Walmart in 2014.
Bishop Richard Cox, who is a member of the clergy and also part of the leadership of the coalition, said he personally has been involved with the movement from the very beginning.
Cox said protests will continue until there is some tangible change.
“As they lay him to rest in Houston, those of us who love freedom cannot rest until change has come,” Cox said. “We’re not going to stop until freedom comes.”
The group encouraged people to bring folding chairs or lawn chairs to Courthouse Square. They also encouraged those attending to wear masks and practice social distancing.