Activist: Police, all others need to join the cause of justice

“’We need you to stand with us. Help release some of our anguish and let us know you stand with us,’ I cried out to (police),” Dayton resident Asia Gibbs said.

(NOTE: This guest column appeared on the Dayton Daily News’ Ideas and Voices page Sunday, June 6, 2020. Community Impact Editor Amelia Robinson asked a diverse group of people with ties to the Dayton area how our black community’s relationship with our police can be improved. Columns from other participants are linked throughout this piece.)

Protest has long been a tool used to show unity against injustice. Today, we need all people to join the cause of justice.

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We have to find solutions to our problem as a society so law enforcement personnel are no longer viewed by some to be murders and racists.

Solutions are not found by pointing the finger, but by joining hands.

On Sunday, May 31, the SOLUTION MOVEMENT began creating the platform as we marched.

As a community activist, I shared with the attendees a part of our mission: to create a safe space for community members, city officials and law enforcement to dialogue on the resolve of police brutality.

During the march, we focused on remaining peaceful in all manners in order to avoid further violence or jail time. We walked in peace.

When we arrived in downtown Dayton, the police officers were stone faced.

“We need you to stand with us. Help release some of our anguish and let us know you stand with us,” I cried out to them.

Out of the hundred that stood, only a few signaled their solidarity. Our protest was held to be peaceful, but we had no law enforcement openly join our party.

I had the opportunity on Monday, June 1, however, to speak with Lt. Randy Beane from the Dayton Police Department. He offered a shake of hands to support safe protesting, to respect the right to act in a protest.

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Our mission furthered when I began correspondence with Lt. Joe Lavene of Centerville Police Department. Preparations were made easy with their assistance and a mile-long protected path was cleared for our marchers. Our organization held a peaceful protest, reserved by our ally, at the Centerville amphitheater. Supporting law enforcement stood in union as an effort to demonstrate community on the issue of brutality by law enforcement.

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The solution should begin with an open forum on police brutality among citizens, law enforcement and lawmakers to start a healing process. The safe space should commence monthly or bi-monthly to generate possibilities. Thorough diversity training provided to all police departments. Training provided on tactics to disarm a suspect without it resulting in murder. Additionally, a financial freeze should be established as retribution for the act of violence.

Lastly, mental health support and resources should be provided for those who have been affected by this trauma.

Our children fear law enforcement. Parents worry if their child will return home. We need those who are not people of color to join the SOLUTION MOVEMENT to shape the change in the status quo.


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Asia Gibbs is executive director of SOLUTION MOVEMENT.

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