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Religious leaders, activists gather in Washington Park to discuss policy change

Posted at 9:37 PM, Jun 06, 2020
and last updated 2020-06-06 23:48:23-04

CINCINNATI — The Saturday afternoon protest in Washington Park was different than many of the protests across Greater Cincinnati, but organizers say that was the point.

Neighborhoods United Cincinnati organized the event, called "The Path Forward—Creating Our Vision for Cincinnati," and invited hundreds of elected officials, religious leaders and activists to come up with specific policy proposals they can deliver to city hall.

The movement marked the ninth straight day protesters have gathered over the Minneapolis police killing of George Floyd.

Attendees discussed changes they would like to see in the city, including ending cash bail, broadened support of black-owned businesses and creating more affordable housing, among others.

Brian Garry, chair of Neighborhoods United Cincinnati, said the purpose of Saturday’s event was to turn protest into policy.

“The way change is going to be created is by these people in attendance here who are going to fight to create this movement and bring real systemic change to Cincinnati,” Garry said.

Audrey DuBose, the mother of Sam DuBose, was in attendance. Sam DuBose was shot and killed by former University of Cincinnati police officer Ray Tensing in 2015. A judge dropped the charges against Tensing in 2017 after two mistrials.

“When I saw this come together like this, I said my son didn’t die in vain. He did not die in vain. The fight goes on,” she said.

Activist Nature Brooks said it’s not enough to just protest, people have to advocate for change in policy in order to achieve equality.

“We are not just fighting for one person. We are fighting for all people,” Brooks said. “We are out here fighting every single day for our children, my children’s children, my children’s children’s children. I don’t want my kids to have to be here 20 years from now.”

Reverend Damon Lynch III said it’s vital that people organize the issues they believe in.

“So right now it is time for us to continue to stand. Rosa Parks sat. Colin Kaepernick kneeled. But now we got to stand,” he said.

Many of the attendees who spoke expressed the importance of voting. They also said they want to continue grassroots activism until they see change in the community.