Gem City Shine Reclaims Affected Community

Photo by Staff Photographer Brian Walker

In the wake of everything that has happened recently, the people of Dayton are taking their city back. On August 4, a gunman killed nine people in the Oregon District and injured twenty-seven others.

The whole city felt the loss, between victims and their families, businesses that had to shut down and everyone who was filled with fear and disbelief of something like this happening so close to home.

After the Memorial Day tornadoes, the KKK rally and now this, it seems that the strength of this city is being tested. But as demonstrated over this past summer, the people here cannot be broken.

On August 25, American comedian Dave Chappelle hosted the Gem City Shine alongside an army of volunteers to raise money for the victims and their families. The concert, which was held in the Oregon District, featured a star-studded line-up including music icons Stevie Wonder, Chance the Rapper, Talib Kweli, Teyana Taylor and Thundercat.

Several hours before, Kanye West held a Sunday service at Riverside Metropark in honor of the victims.

The weekend’s events, from Kanye’s service to the Gem City Shine festivities. (Source: WHIO/YouTube)

During R&B artist Teyana Taylor’s performance, pictures of the shooting victims were displayed on the big screens. Chapelle said this event was about reclaiming this area.

“The best way we can honor our fallen is by getting up better than we were before,” said Chappelle.

Mayor Whaley also spoke words of encouragement at the event as well, calling everyone to action against gun violence.

“Dayton, we changed the world once, we can change the world again,” she told the crowd.

Over 20,000 people were estimated to be at the Gem City Shine. Volunteers could see the strength and heart of the people at the event. People were seen buying drinks for strangers and even just offering hugs to those who needed it.

Afterwards, many stayed behind to pick up and clean to help make the volunteer clean up crew’s work easier. Overall, the concert raised almost $70,000 for the Dayton Oregon District Tragedy Fund.

The Gem City Shine wasn’t the only way community members were rallying together to help fix the damage done by the shooting. On August 27, shoppers from all over visited the Oregon District to support local businesses.

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The Oregon District is made up almost completely of small local businesses, many of whom cannot afford to be closed as long as they had to be. The Oregon District Spend-a-Thon was organized to support these businesses and featured many great shopping opportunities, as well as street art and music.

 Many other businesses and organizations hosted their own events throughout August to raise money that would go towards the Tragedy Fund.

However, the money raised isn’t the only great thing to come out of these events. The beauty of a community uniting together during a difficult time has added strength to a city facing a bevy of hardships.

No matter what hits this city, the people here get right back up, ready to fight. Through everything, this community remains Dayton Strong.

Mackenzie Tkach

Dave Chappelle’s event, as covered by Cincinnati’s local news. (Source: WLWT/YouTube)

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