XENIA — With fists raised and chants of “black lives matter” and “no racist cops,” area residents staged a peaceful protest rally in front of the Greene County Courthouse Monday afternoon.
Organized by 2019 Xenia High School graduate Khanya Walker, the group of nearly two dozen joined the nation-wide movement to end unwarranted killings of black people by police in the wake of the death of George Floyd in Minnesota recently.
“This is a crisis, it really is,” Walker said as cars drove by honking in approval. “It’s really painful to see. I want to change it. “I’m a young person and I don’t want to keep growing up in a world like this.”
Floyd died on Memorial Day while in police custody in Minneapolis. A video shows a police officer kneeling on the back of Floyd’s head and neck for several minutes.
“It’s really fearful,” Walker said. “Seeing someone killed in the broad daylight, it just hits you differently.”
The Minneapolis officer and three others were fired, the city’s mayor announced later. Protests and rallies have been held across the country, including Dayton, Cincinnati and Columbus. Many turned violent with looting, damage to stores and buildings, and fires being started.
Walker said she wanted Monday’s rally to be large but safe.
“I was trying to get this to be a big thing,” she said. “People are power. (But) I’m not going into this to be violent. I want it to be peaceful. I want to make a difference. I want people to remember this. You have to start in your hometown.”