Wayne BLM sees more to be done; works to start conversations

There are no plans to move daily demonstrations out of Wooster, but other communities are encouraged to begin their own. The band of citizens, including Dan O'Rourke, see a need for demonstrations in Orrville and Rittman as well as the Wayne County Sheriff's Office.

WOOSTER − Over 900 days and counting, Wooster’s daily demonstrations are among the nation’s longest-lasting racial justice movements.

The band of concerned citizens and Wayne County Racial Justice Coalition and Wooster/Orrville NAACP members scored major victories in 2022 when the Wooster Police Department limited the use of no-knock warrants, carotid holds and chokeholds by its officers.

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Because of these wins and consistent public support, the movement isn’t slowing down. It plans to expand beyond the borders of Wooster.

“Getting to 900 days means the community cares about those changes,” said Desiree Weber, chair of the Wooster/Orrville NAACP Political and Community Engagement Committee.

To Weber, who has been with the movement from the very beginning, it took a village (or a city) of people who see racial justice in everyday life to make this possible, she said.

Where is the movement headed?

A large group of people gathered on Wooster Public Square on the 900th straight day of demonstrations protesting social injustice.

While Weber would not say which city the movement would focus its reform efforts in next, she said the Racial Justice Coalition had identified four departments of interest in 2021.

Those included Wooster, Orrville, Rittman and the Wayne County Sheriff’s Office.

“We are working to start conversations,” Weber said. “We’re in the beginning stages.”

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