More than 50 people gathered for the Gun Violence Rally outside Kennedy Union on Oct. 4. The day marked the two-month anniversary of the mass shooting that occurred in Dayton’s Oregon District, an area full of bars and restaurants that serves as a nightlife hotspot for people in the community.
The shooting lasted 32 seconds, killing nine people and injuring 27 others. Six Dayton police officers responded and killed the shooter before more lives were potentially lost. The police officers have since been honored by President Donald Trump with the Medal of Valor.
Over the past few months, Dayton has reflected on the violence in several ways. Rallies, vigils and a benefit concert called Gem City Shine have been held to express the anger, sadness and hope that Dayton locals and university students in the area have felt after the tragedy. Dayton Mayor Nan Whaley even traveled to Washington, D.C., to testify in support of gun control to the House Judiciary Committee.
On Oct. 4, UD students and other supporters took a stance to remind the world that the fight against gun violence is far from over. Students, faculty and members of the Dayton community stood in solidarity during the two-hour rally and expressed the need to take action.
The rally began with a moment of silence to honor those who lost their lives in the Oregon District on Aug. 4. The Common Good Players, nine performers wearing wings on their backs that made them look like angels, announced the names of the nine victims and performed movement pieces and songs throughout the rally.
Personal stories and support for gun legislation were shared next to the KU fountain.
Claire Strobach, a UD student who was in the Oregon District during the shooting, gave an account of how terrified she was that night. Students from different organizations on campus including Amnesty International, Feminists United, Black Action Through Unity, Spectrum and College Democrats, discussed the importance of supporting gun control.
Testimonies from Ohioans for Gun Safety, Moms Demand Action and Desiree Tims, a candidate for Ohio’s 10th Congressional District, were also heard.
The rally ended by calling the attendees to action. People were able to sign petitions and contact their senators to act on gun safety by texting “FLYERS” to 644-33.
“We can talk about gun violence all we want, but if we don’t actually do something, then nothing will ever change,” said Cierra Stewart, a senior political science major and student organizer of the rally.
Former Ohio Governor and UD professor Bob Taft also agreed that something needed to be done in order to stop the violence of mass shootings in the U.S.
“We simply have to do all that we can,” he said. “We have got to do something.”
Cover photo taken by Sean Newhouse