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Black Lives Matter Sign Spurs Discrimination Complaint

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Jerry Kenney
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Tenants in a Dayton home have filed a discrimination case against their landlords in a dispute over a Black Lives Matter sign.

In August, roommates Lindsay Ainsworth and Melissa Carrion put up the sign in the front yard of the home they rent in East Dayton.

Landlords Dan and Grace Christiansen of Beavercreek asked the women to remove the sign but told them they could place it in the front window of the home.

Lindsay Ainsworth says they wanted the sign to be more visible than that.

“This neighborhood is 90 percent white, but we live next to a bus stop, we live next to a convenience store so there's a lot of passersby," she says. "It was really important to show the people of color that there’s someone here that supports them as well as encourage other white people to put up their own signs and take their own actions."

On October 1, the women were served with a notice that their month-to-month lease would be terminated and given until November 3 to vacate the premises. They believe they are being asked to leave because of the sign.

Ainsworth and Carrion filed a discrimination complaint with the Dayton Human Relations Council, which offered to mediate, but in a forwarded email, the HRC says the landlords declined mediation. Even though none of the parties involved are African American, the incident is now being investigated as a racial discrimination case because of the subject of the sign in question.

The pair plans to move out this weekend, and has asked friends to join them in a visual demonstration bearing Black Lives Matter signs as they leave.

The landlords haven’t yet responded to requests for comment from WYSO.

 

Jerry Kenney was introduced to WYSO by a friend and within a year of first tuning in became an avid listener and supporter. He began volunteering at the station in 1991 and began hosting Alpha Rhythms in February of 1992. Jerry joined the WYSO staff in 2007 as a host of All Things Considered and soon transitioned into hosting Morning Edition. In addition to now hosting All Things Considered, Jerry is the host and producer of WYSO Weekend, WYSO's weekly news and arts magazine. He has also produced several radio dramas for WYSO in collaboration with local theater companies. Jerry has won several Ohio AP awards as well as an award from PRINDI for his work with the WYSO news department. Jerry says that the best part of his job is being able to talk to people in the community and share their experiences with WYSO listeners.