Dayton Shooting: ‘Be Kind’ signs spread message from Virginia

Women from Virginia send message to Dayton

DAYTON — Being kind to neighbors has been a consistent theme reported since the mass shooting in Dayton’s historic Oregon District.

Now, it’s also a literal message three Virginia women are sharing. The women sent three handmade wooden signs to the newsroom, saying they hope their message — Be Kind — would help the community healing process.

>> Oregon District shooting: Remembering the victims

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“Dayton Strong,” “Hug Somebody,” even a sign to thank Dayton police. There are signs all along the Oregon District showing support after the tragedy that unfolded near Ned Peppers.

“This is just an added layer of people from, obviously from Virginia, and other places across the United States that have shown their love to Dayton,” Melissa Rodriguez of Dayton said.

News Center 7 took one of the signs to Ned Peppers, which accepted it and said they’d put it somewhere for people to see.

News Center 7 left another sign for Heart Mercantile, and they immediately put it up.

“We’ve had tons of support from all over as well. Cards, emails, snacks and drinks. Just people stopping in to see if we need anything,” said Kait Gilcher of Heart Mercantile. “Things like this keep happening and it’s really nice to receive them.”

Each “Be Kind” sign had a note attached:

"I started making the 'Be Kind' signs as a way to cope with all the negativity and polarizing messages that exist today. What began as a simple sign in my front yard has spread across the country and signs are now on display in schools, businesses and friends' and strangers' front yards as a way to remind people to 'Be Kind.'

It's a simple reminder that a kind word or gesture has power and can change the trajectory of someone's day. Please place the sign in a highly visible area (preferably outside) so the message continues to spread.

If the words on each sign can touch just one heart, then its purpose has been served. Thanks so much for helping to spread the message of love and kindness, one sign at a time.
— Gini Bonnell

News Center 7 placed the last of the three signs at the memorial in front of Ned Peppers, in hopes the simple words, be kind, can help people through the healing process.

“Just taking a moment and realizing to hug somebody, saying ‘I love you’ to somebody really means a lot to people,” Rodriguez said.