Local clergy organize for social change and racial justice

A group of Dayton-area clergymen said they were appalled by the shooting of Jacob Blake in Kenosha, Wisconsin and said “enough is enough.”

The clergy led organization was formed by Pastor Michael Murray of Living Word Church and the Rev. Renard Allen of St. Luke Missionary Baptist church following talks with city leaders, including Dayton mayor Nan Whaley, the police chief, sheriff, and superintendent about racial injustices.

“We, the Dayton Missionaries United for Social Change, are a group of ministers from throughout greater Dayton who have come together transcending racial, political, denominational, and gender divides, to demand, promote, practice and support social justice and racial reconciliation for the greater community,” Allen said.

The organization was formed in June following the height of days long protests held throughout the country surrounding the death of George Floyd. Murray said he began calling clergy members to offer support and ultimately be part of the solution.

“If we assume that we know it all and dismiss this as being a Black problem then we will remain in this place for yet another season while suffering continued injustice,” Murray said.

“The shooting of Jacob Blake, an unarmed Black man seven times in the back by police officer in Kenosha, WI was sinister. We the clergy of the greater Dayton region are appalled by the relentless violence being perpetrated against Black people in this country,” said Father Benjamin Speare-Hardy II.

The organization is not limited to social change but also wants to work to transform tragedies like Oregon District shooting and the 2019 Memorial Day weekend tornadoes into opportunities for the community to come together.

Moving forward the organization will begin their No School Left Behind initiative where a church will work with school leadership to provide resources to the students and staff. “It’s not limited to Dayton Public schools, but we have to start somewhere,” Allen said.

Allen said they will continue their monthly meetings to engage in tough conversations with city leaders. “We plan to hold them accountable. We plan to agitate and aggravate only when necessary all for the purpose of making life better for people of color for people in our community.”