As thousands protest for justice, experts share what it might take for policy change

Local News

DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN) – Thousands of Americans have participated in protests, including in the Miami Valley. But a divided political climate could make actual policy change slow to come, according to political science experts.

Mark Caleb Smith, director of the Center for Political Science at Cedarville University says policy changes will take bipartisan collaboration, which has not been seen often in recent years.

“The temptation will be for [politicians] to do something symbolic and denounce something or support something; but, you really need to see some legislative reform taking place,” he said. “That’s going to mean people getting into a room, putting aside some of their differences, looking past November, and looking at what can we do to address this. I don’t mean to be overly pessismistic but we haven’t been able to do that.”

Nationally the NAACP has released a list of demands that includes a ban on knee holds and choke holds, clear rules on escalation for officers, the Open Records Act and the implementation of citizens review boards.

Smith says the list of demands is a good start, but politicians and protesters need to come together quickly to make change.

“From a purely political standpoint, the longer they persist, the less their message is really going to resonate. To me, this needs to be done quickly otherwise people are going to start listening to other stuff,” he said.

In Dayton, pastor Joshua Ward is joining the movement to turn the momentum of the protests into action.

“Now that people’s attention now that people are finally saying their really might be a problem with the way that our society is operating…what we’re trying to do is while we’re protesting [is say] let’s also begin thinking of what it is we need to do in order to change this from just a protest to actual substantive change,” said Ward.

Omega Baptist Church is hosting “A Way Forward: Community Conversation” on June 3 at 7 p.m. You can watch the live stream on their website or on their Facebook page.

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