The Ohio native advocated for new gun safety laws and played a few songs.
John Legend traveled to his native Ohio on Sunday (Aug. 11) to visit with the citizens of Dayton one week after their lives were shattered by a murderous rampage in which a gunman killed nine people and injured dozens of others on Aug. 4 in the city's Oregon District nightlife area. “You have no choice; you have to keep going,” Legend told Bethany Ramsey, owner of the Puff Apothecary during the tour of the district with Dayton Mayor Nan Whaley, according to Dayton.com.
The site reported that Legend bought clothes for his children, shopped for hats and had dinner in the District before playing a short set at Blind Bob's Bar, located near the spot where a 24 year-old male shooter dressed in body armor used a semi-automatic pistol modified to act like a rifle opened fire on unsuspecting locals out for a night of entertainment; the shooter's sister was among those killed in the rampage that came 13 hours after a man in El Paso, Texas, killed 22 people and injured 24 others in what the FBI is investigating as an act of domestic terrorism and a possible hate crime.
“Continue to support each other and be as loving and caring as we can with each other, and then I think we have to vote as if our lives depended on it because they really do," the politically outspoken singer told locals before holding a press conference with Whaley. "We need to vote for politicians that will support gun safety measures.” In the wake of the dual shootings last week, the 250th and 251st of the year so far, Legend expressed his frustration over U.S. gun laws and white nationalism, specifically pointing his finger at Pres. Trump.
"My heart aches for El Paso and Dayton. Our nation is experiencing these traumas far too often and we need our leaders to take urgent action: take these weapons of war off the street and fight the evil ideology of white nationalism that motivates many of these terrorists," Legend wrote. "When we condemn the racist venom coming from the President's mouth and point out the bigotry of his policies, it's not an academic question, it's not a political game, it's about life and death. The President regularly inspires killers. He is a part of the problem," the singer continued.
Legend also posted a series of tweets about the Dayton visit, thanking Whaley for her strong leadership and urging his 12.8 million followers to get involved. "I sat down with the people of Dayton, OH and I’m inspired by their strength & resilience, but we must take action," he said. "Join me, @Everytown & @MomsDemand by calling your senators & demanding they vote on stronger gun safety laws."
He also posted a picture from his surprise club show in the city, writing, "I just played a few songs to try to help bring comfort to some of the survivors of last week's tragedy in Dayton. My heart breaks for everyone who lost someone. I love how everyone rallies around one another during their time of grief. But our nation should not keep putting ourselves through these preventable traumas. Let's fix it together."
Legend was one of many artists who spoke out after the nation's latest mass shootings. Lady Gaga did her part by announcing over the weekend that she will be partnering with DonorsChoose.org to fund 162 classroom project needs in Dayton, El Paso and Gilroy, California, the site of another recent mass shooting.