DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN) — Community leaders held their first forum for a permanent memorial honoring the 2019 Oregon District mass shooting victims Thursday night. The forum was just the first of many for the public to help decide what a permanent memorial should look like to honor the nine lives lost.
“I’m not focused on the location of the statue now, I’m focused on what we are building it for,” said Fudge Foundation CEO Dion Green. “I can’t move to the next steps until we figure out the right wording and what it’s going to mean to the community.”
Green lost his father two years ago in the Oregon District mass shooting and says he wants to see this memorial reclaim the district for the victims and families involved. At the forum, speakers decided that healing, celebration of life and space for reflection should be key pieces of the memorial. There was also debate about the location of the memorial, some people want it to be in the Oregon District while others say they’d like to see it elsewhere away from the tragedy.
Some people affected by the tragedy, who declined to go on-camera, say they still refuse to go anywhere near the district. Green believes in addition to the memorial, they should also focus on living with trauma. He says sometimes lights, certain noises and holidays can be triggers.
“The education part is definitely needed because there’s so many people who are experiencing trauma and don’t know the symptoms so being able to educate them about what they’re going through will get them the help they need,” said Green.
The Downtown Dayton Partnership says they will be handing out surveys to gather more opinions and will be holding more forums announced at a later date.