‘Dayton Undivided’ event to bring community together to push for racial reconciliation

DAYTON — A large faith-based event this weekend will bring people together to push for racial justice and racial reconciliation.

The event is called Dayton Undivided. It will start with a gathering on Courthouse Square and then a mile and a half prayer march through the streets of downtown to the Levitt Pavilion.

As part of WHIO’s continuing “Dayton Gets Real” series, News Center 7′s Mike Campbell spoke with event planners to ask why they believe this rally is important.

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Organizers say the prayer march and worship service is open to anyone, of any faith, who supports equal treatment for everyone.

Pastor Renard Allen leads St. Luke Missionary Baptist Church, but Sunday afternoon he will be out of the pulpit and in the streets for the rally.

“We can reach across racial lines and come together and unite in our faith and advocate for justice and reconciliation,” Allen said.

Allen joined with other pastors after George Floyds murder last year to form “Dayton Ministers United For Social Change.”

Floyd’s death and the pain it caused shined a spotlight on racism and racial divides. The pictures of the protests scenes in Dayton led activists to get involved in a longer-term effort.

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Caleb Ingram is executive director of Declare, a group working to unite Dayton churches behind goals of bringing people together for justice.

Ingram made it clear that no one, especially white Americans, should have been surprised by the reaction to George Floyd’s death and the focus on racism and racial divides.

“We shouldn’t have needed that to realize these conversations were important enough to prioritize,” Ingram said.

Ingram and Allen told told News Center 7 they believe that after Floyd’s death and protests, communities of faith should be leading the greater Dayton community to racial justice and racial reconciliation.

“It shook our nation to the core, and it put the age-old sin of racism at the forefront,” Allen said.

“We’re going to continue this journey, really, whether it’s the hot topic or not,” Ingram said.

Organizers of the event will go on rain or shine, so those planning to attend might want to bring rain gear with them just in case.