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Dayton Sues To Stop KKK Rally

In this Saturday, April 23, 2016 photo, members of the Ku Klux Klan participate in a "white pride" rally in Rome, Ga.
John Bazemore
Associated Press
In this Saturday, April 23, 2016 photo, members of the Ku Klux Klan participate in a "white pride" rally in Rome, Ga.

The city of Dayton has filed a lawsuit against an Indiana group that plans to hold a rally on Dayton’s Courthouse Square in May. City officials say the Honorable Sacred Knights is a paramilitary group and the rally they are planning is in violation of Ohio’s constitution.

Last month, Montgomery County, which oversees Courthouse Square, granted the KKK-affiliated group permission to rally on May 25.

Following Wednesday morning’s city commission meeting, Dayton Mayor Nan Whaley said the city will do what’s possible to stop the group from bringing a message of hate into the city.

“We will not allow ourselves to be threatened by this group or their message of hate,” Whaley says. “The city condemns any attempt to divide our community and intimidate our neighbors.”

The suit was filed on Wednesday in the Montgomery County Court of Common Pleas, so it’s unclear how soon any decision could come down.

In the meantime, Whaley says the city wants to meet with any groups planning to counterprotest, in order to decide on a unified front.

“Should we be unsuccessful in the lawsuit, you know, it’s still good for us to celebrate unity and we don't celebrate that if we have 12 different groups doing 12 different actions,” Whaley says. “We celebrate it if we all can all come together, and I think that that can be done. We'll see next week.”

Just last week, a coalition of groups gathered at a church in Northwest Dayton to plan a counter-protest to the Knights’ rally.

The public meeting established by city officials is scheduled for 7 p.m., March 20 at Grace United Methodist Church on Harvard Blvd. in Dayton.

Jerry Kenney was introduced to WYSO by a friend and within a year of first tuning in became an avid listener and supporter. He began volunteering at the station in 1991 and began hosting Alpha Rhythms in February of 1992. Jerry joined the WYSO staff in 2007 as a host of All Things Considered and soon transitioned into hosting Morning Edition. In addition to now hosting All Things Considered, Jerry is the host and producer of WYSO Weekend, WYSO's weekly news and arts magazine. He has also produced several radio dramas for WYSO in collaboration with local theater companies. Jerry has won several Ohio AP awards as well as an award from PRINDI for his work with the WYSO news department. Jerry says that the best part of his job is being able to talk to people in the community and share their experiences with WYSO listeners.