DAYTON, Ohio — One year after nine innocent people were killed in the Oregon District in Dayton, the feelings of grief still remain with Dayton Mayor Nan Whaley.

“Sadness, and I think how it was really unnecessary, and just really didn’t need to happen,” Whaley said.

What You Need To Know

  • Dayton’s Mayor Nan Whaley opens up about the Oregon District shooting one year later

  • Whaley offers her support to the victims' families

  • She voices her frustration for a lack of movement toward common sense gun laws

She says the past year has been a true test for the city. And for the families and friends of victims from the shooting, she knows it’s been extremely hard. But she is impressed with the resilience shown by the city.  

“I’ve been amazed by just how much it does heal, and how much we do move forward," she said. "That doesn’t say there’s not pain with that. There’s pain. A lot of unpacking and a lot of figuring out to do.”

Much of that healing continues this week as the first anniversary of the shooting arrives.

“No matter what happens to us, no matter what is put in our way, Dayton will continue to be resilient, it will continue to shine,” Whaley said. “There is still light for us to celebrate and be a part of.”

Whaley says Dayton will show that light with a series of virtual events as part of the Dayton Shines campaign. And despite there being physical restrictions on gatherings, she knows Daytonians will unite for the memory of those lost in the tragedy.

“That doesn’t mean we can’t remember, and we can’t honor, and we can’t still demand actio. We just have to do it in a different way,” Whaley said.

However, she is extremely disappointed that no progress has been made to, “do something,” to protect communities like Dayton from gun violence.

“Frustrated that we still haven’t gotten common sense gun legislation through, but hopeful that I know it will come,” she said. “And so, keeping at work at it, and making sure that we continue to do and advocate so cities don’t have to be like Dayton and what Dayton went through on August 4.

Her heart will always be with the families of the victims and hopes the city continues to wrap their arms around them — especially now.

“I love them and feel for them and pray for them, frankly,” Whaley said. “Because one night they went to bed having their loved ones, and that next morning they woke up recognizing those folks are no longer here, for something that doesn’t make any sense and didn’t have to be this way.”