BLUE ASH, Ohio (FOX19) - A peaceful protest was held in Blue Ash Thursday featuring a caravan of cars and bicyclists.
The group left First Baptist Church of Hazelwood, then followed a police escort to the Blue Ash Towne Square Amphitheater where a “Rally for Justice” was held.
“We just want to stand with the black community as they seek justice, and we want meaningful change," Blue Ash Resident Dan Connors said. "We think the time is right and it’s now to make change in our communities.
"We just want to stand with them and show them that we support them and we want to be part of that change. Most importantly, we want to listen to them. We want to hear their story and follow their lead.”
Blue Ash Police Chief Scott Noel received a round of applause as he took the amphitheater’s podium.
Noel told the crowd the Blue Ash Police Department does not permit chokeholds. He added any use-of-force policy that does permit them should immediately be changed.
“Our goal is for all members of this community to feel included and to feel that your voice is being heard,” Noel told the crowd. “We stand with you and demand change in regard to policies and practices that do not promote equality for all people."
Organizer Kimberly Reese said the event came together in just five days. She added she’s pleased with the turnout.
“It takes a village, and that village is not just black people," Reese said. “Black lives do matter, and these people are here to say that and they are here to support that."
Reese continued, "So after the hashtags disappear and after you guys leave, the media leaves, then what? That’s what we are here for today.”
First Vice President of the Cincinnati NAACP Joe Mallory chanted “Black Lives Matter" as he took the podium.
Mallory spent 20 years with the Hamilton County Board of Elections. He spoke to the crowd about the importance of voting.
Mallory also brought voter registration cards with him. There was a whole table at the event dedicated to registration.
“It’s great to protest," Mallory said. “It’s great to chant. It’s great to make signs, but if you want policy changed, you have to come to the table.”