OAKWOOD, Ohio (WDTN) – As calls for change continue to echo across the Miami Valley more than two weeks after George Floyd’s death, hundreds gathered in Oakwood Thursday night for a peaceful demonstration.
Several speakers addressed the crowd, including students, community activists and faith-based leaders.
“It matters in your neighborhood,” said Daryl Ward, pastor emeritus of Omega Baptist Church in Dayton. “Not to go downtown or into west Dayton. No, do it here. Say ‘black lives matter’ here on Far Hills [Avenue].”
The demonstration was organized by Oakwood residents Sarah Filipiak and Carly Hall, who said they wanted to show support for the Black Lives Matter movement.
“I had a lot of emotion and a lot of drive to do something instead of just talking or writing on Facebook or Twitter,” Filipiak said.
“There’s a lot of interest, excitement, momentum around this cause,” Hall said.
Hall told 2 NEWS she wants Thursday’s rally to be just the beginning of a larger conversation.
“Listening is going to be very important for us as a community this evening, but moving forward, we know that we have a lot to learn,” Hall said.
“You hear the cars, they’re all honking, and it makes me feel like we’re a community in agreement,” said Kelley Deal, a protester.
Pastor Emeritus Ward acknowledged change won’t happen overnight – but said people shouldn’t be discouraged.
“Patience is a powerful tool,” he said. “Just stay focused and keep pushing in a direction. Change can happen.”
Hall and Filipiak told 2 NEWS they are hoping to organize more events focused on social justice in the future.