August 11, 2019 was a special night for a select few in Dayton’s Oregon District, and I am proud to say that I was one of them. Tickets were given to several dozen to attend an intimate performance by Springfield, Ohio singer/songwriter John Legend. The night was started off with encouraging words from our local Mayor, Democrat Nan Whaley, then handed over to none other than the Grammy Award Winning star for an impromptu piano set on the stage of Blind Bob’s Bar on East Fifth Street in downtown Dayton… only yards from where the violence began one weekend prior, resulting in the loss of nine lives to a gunman (who was immediately killed by DPD).
The remaining town has been stunned; some silent, some unable to remain silent, and the face of our usual routines have been forever disrupted by the shock of another mass shooting. Only this time it happened in our community, and we lost brothers, sisters, mothers, humans who had so much to live for. Their memory will live on in the hearts and thoughts of everyone who visits our little town. We will never forget you, or fail to act upon laws and leaders to change the status quo with stagnant, failed gun laws that allow this senseless violence. And nothing seems to be able to stop Dayton; this town returns from any threat with courage and fire. #DaytonStrong is not a fancy hashtag style catch phrase… it’s the only way to describe someone from Dayton, Ohio. It’s become synonymous with our resilient spirit and our determination to build this home safer, closer, and with nothing but love and respect for one another. That’s why the hashtag remains trending. Because as Daytonians we cannot be stopped or silenced.
John Legend said that he reached out to the city and asked what he could do. They suggested that he simply come walk around and show the community that we are “open for business;” an attempt to salvage the District from being a media fare and vigil spot only, reminding everyone that the community that was left in the wake of this tragedy is trying to raise money for survivors. Which includes the amazing people who work down here. He stated loud and clear, “Dayton, is open for business,” then tickled the piano keys and sang us into tears of the deepest sadness, and tears of the most profound joy. People love us. And our extended family of celebrities who hail from this state have been ravenously sending support in the form of cash, supplies, or their presence so we can focus on anything but this loss for five minutes and catch our breath, heal enough to move forward, and to take the next necessary steps to save our city.
I am forever changed by this simple visit, and thank you John for spending your day off with this beautiful community. It was a night among several others that we will never forget.
Below are pictures and cell video by yours truly.