Community members continued talks Wednesday night about the city’s efforts to create a unified response to the planned Honorable Sacred Knights rally in Dayton.
Dayton police have confirmed they plan to step up security downtown during the May 25 rally.
The Wednesday meeting was a follow-up event to the anti-hate forum the city hosted last month.
Ann Hurley, the owner of LDSS Corp., said she wants to see the city involve local businesses like hers.
“We get a lot of opportunity to interact with not only our employees but their families, with other community members,” Hurley said.
The Dayton Human Relations Council shared some major themes discussed at the March meeting as well as some response tactics they’re considering, including shared messaging online.
According to Mayor Nan Whaley, the city plans to move forward with putting up colorful signage around Courthouse Square that shares Dayton’s values.
“There are all a lot of really great ideas,” Mayor Whaley said. “And our goal is how do we keep this decentralized but then allow people to share information and share assets together.”
Lt. Col. Eric Henderson, assistant chief for the Dayton Police Department, did not discuss any specifics at the meeting about security, but he said they’re trying to limit the number of people that will go downtown during the KKK-affiliated rally. For those who do, officers will be in the area to ensure demonstrations remain peaceful, according to police.
City officials have also encouraged people to attend alternative events and stay away from the rally downtown.
“The response should be as diverse as possible because we are a city of many people, many voices, one city,” said Erica Fields, executive director of the Dayton Human Relations Council. “And I think an appropriate response will reflect the diversity of our community.”
The Dayton Human Relations Council plans to hold several more meetings on this issue, Fields said. She wants to ensure the conversations go beyond the rally, she added..
“May 25 is not just a day,” Fields said. “For some people, it’s their life. And they’re experiencing this day in and day out, hate and bigotry.”
The city is still waiting to hear back from representatives for the Honorable Sacred Knights regarding the lawsuit the city filed against the group last month, Mayor Whaley said.