One Year Later: Community honors George Floyd’s memory, holds candlelight vigil

DAYTON — Millions of Americans across the country are looking back on one full year since the murder of George Floyd.

>>Dayton Gets Real: Community leaders, law enforcement reflect on policing, reforms on anniversary of George Floyd’s death

Floyd’s death is a moment in history which was also recognized at Dayton’s Courthouse Square on Tuesday, where a public candlelight vigil took place to honor his memory.

A crowd of around thirty people came to pay their respects to Floyd and the movement he helped to propel.

“Systematic racism is still as strong as ever,” said Jared Grandy, a local activist for racial justice.

Those who gathered shared the same belief as Grandy, all of whom took a knee for the same amount of time that Floyd was choked to death under Derek Chauvin’s knee.

“I kept gasping, but I tried to hold it as long as I could because he could not take those deep breaths he had to take there and feel all of that,” Damia Demmings said.

People amongst the crowd believe that some progress has been made in the past year with demonstrations and marches resulting in new legislation to enhance police accountability.

“Dayton has taken some needed steps to fight systemic racism, and I applaud the current leadership for the steps that they have taken, but we certainly need to do a lot more,” Grandy said.

The same sentiment was echoed by pastor Renard Allen Jr,. who himself meets with local city leadership every month but still sees the gaps in racial quality, both locally and beyond.

“We have not made as much progress as we like to think since the 50′s, that indeed racism has simply taken on another form, but that form is no less distasteful and pervasive.”

Some people spoke highly of Dayton, saying that this has been a historically just and safe place for people of color, with some even specifically praising the work that mayor Nan Whaley has done, citing her commitment to the city police reform initiative process.