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Dayton's Black Leaders Talk About 'A Way Forward'

A sign of the times: leaders from Datyon's black community host a virtual roundtable to discuss what needs to be done in the wake of this week's protests.
Omega Baptist Church
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A sign of the times: leaders from Datyon's black community host a virtual roundtable to discuss what needs to be done in the wake of this week's protests.

On Wednesday night, Omega Baptist Church held a virtual roundtable with black leaders from the faith, business, and non-profit communities to discuss the state of black communities in Dayton.

The event was called “A Way Forward,” and it was centered on the multigenerational problems affecting black communities here in Dayton. Pastor Joshua D. Ward invited his mother, Vanessa, to sit on the panel.

“I have felt the pain of a black mother birthing a child in a world that is not just and praying when they’re out in the community that nobody will snuff their life, like police,” she said.

Dajza Demmings, the Executive Director of Dayton’s Young Black Professionals group, said she feels a big change is about to happen.

“I’m probably going to say what everyone was thinking: Right now is the start of the revolution,” Demmings said. “And the revolution isn’t bad. The revolution isn’t negative. It’s people asking for basic human rights.”

There was agreement that something is different this time or can be different if black communities keep holding politicians accountable after the current protests sparked by the killing of George Floyd.

There was also focus on empowering black neighborhoods through education and business initiatives. Panel members said that will require not just voting, but also getting more African-Americans in office and in positions of power.

“We need to start training our young leaders to be ready, to be politicians for our side of town. So, that when we get in those positions, we can speak up and maybe do the things we weren’t able to do 20 years ago,” Demmings said.

You can watch the entire roundtable discussion at the Omega Baptist Church website or Facebook page.