Dayton says ‘thank you’ to Dave Chappelle, our Daytonian of the Week

54 thank you notes to Dave Chappelle for massive, star-studded block party to help reclaim Dayton after mass shooting

In the final minutes of his massive block party in support of victims of the Aug. 4 mass shooting in the Oregon District, Dave Chappelle showed once again that he is more Dayton than Dayton.

>> Transcript of what Dave Chappelle said at Gem City Shine block party

“Gem City, shine. Stay kind to one another. Remember, we are friends, we are neighbors, we are countrymen and we love you,” the comedian said after leading the crowd of roughly 30,000 in a rendition of “You’ve got a Friend” by James Taylor.

>> Here’s what happened at John Legend’s special show at Blind Bob’s

The Dayton area has a friend in Dave Chappelle, and Daytonians didn't pass up the opportunity to share what they'd say to him in a thank you card for Gem City Shine, an event featuring appearances and performances by Stevie Wonder, Jon Stewart, Chance the Rapper and others.

We say "thank you" to Dave Chappelle by honoring him as our Daytonian of the Week.


Chappelle is known internationally, but has shown time and time again that his heart is right here in the Dayton area.

The Yellow Springs area resident wears pride for the Gem City and all of Ohio on his sleeves and sometimes literally on his hat.

>> PHOTOS: Stevie Wonder, Chance the Rapper among performers at Dave Chappelle’s Gem City Shine

After famously walking away from his hit Comedy Central sketch show “Chappelle Show” in 2006, the entertainer soon resurfaced in Yellow Springs. Yellow Springs and the Dayton area is his home.

He brought Erykah Badu to his village for that year’s African-American Cross Cultural Works Blues, Jazz & Culture Fest.

>> RELATED (July 12, 2019): Felicia Chappelle on return to the stage: ‘There is nothing more killing than being too silent’ 

"Turns out you don't need $50 million to live around these parts, just a nice smile and a kind way about you. You guys are the best neighbors ever. … That's why I came back, and that's why I'm staying," he told the crowd.

Credit: Tom Gilliam

Credit: Tom Gilliam

At his Juke Joint barn parties at Whitehall Farms in the Tecumseh Land Trust and at the Gem City Shine, Chappelle said what he often tells showbiz friends when they ask him why he still calls Ohio home.

>> Amy Schumer among celebrities spotted in Yellow Springs for Dave Chappelle’s Juke Joint

“They say ‘Dave, why do you live in Ohio?’ And you know what I tell them? ‘Why the f*** not?’” Chappelle said Sunday just moments before learning the day had been declared “Dave Chappelle Day” in Dayton.

>> PREVIOUS COVERAGE (Jan. 2, 2019) CNN’s Anderson Cooper, Andy Cohen chat with Dave Chappelle from Yellow Springs

Chappelle has sung his state’s praise time and time again on national TV.

>> (March 20, 2017) Dave Chappelle on Yellow Springs: “I have time to think about things” 

Long before the benefit Sunday for the victims of the mass shooting, Chappelle had donated time, talent and money to local charities.

Credit: Tom Gilliam

Credit: Tom Gilliam

He gave a benefit show for WYSO, a local public radio station in June.

>> RELATED: Dave Chappelle to Dayton audience: 'You guys are the secret of my success'

In April, Chappelle and his wife Elaine sponsored the Coretta Scott King Center Justice Awards put on by Antioch College's Coretta Scott King Center.

The community offers these well-deserved thank-you messages to Dave Chappelle: 


💌   Thank you, Dave for bringing the community together and for reminding us who we are as a community — strong beautiful people who are better together than divided. Thanks for a night that will never be forgotten.  — Joseph King

💌 Thank you for not only being from Dayton, but for being of Dayton. Your generosity and love for our city became more than any of us dreamed, and there are no words to describe how grateful we are for this act of service. Thank you, thank you, thank you from the bottom of our shining Gem City hearts. —  Tiffany Kelly

>> 8-year-old tornado survivor lands spot right next to Kanye during service in Dayton

💌 Thank you for being our "Hometown Hero". Thanking you for making your life here and making sure the world knows how awesome we are. Thank you for being a regular guy who likes to hang out with regular people. (P.S. Thanks for that one time you came to a Gem City Get Down and helped me pick my drunk friend up off the floor...... smile 🤣😂🤣😂.)  — Nikki Webb  

💌 I did not get a ticket to the block party. I was in the Oregon District the night of the shooting. I took a direct hit from the tornadoes. I went downtown for the block party and watched the entire show from behind a fence next to 3 smelly dumpsters along with several other people. I had to be a part of the day. I am so grateful for you and all your support, and it made me so happy. Mr. Chappelle needs to know how heartfelt our community is. Thank you.  — Dianne Bailey

💌 Thank you very much for helping Dayton heal; it was what we needed, it was meant to be😊again from all the people of Dayton THANK YOU!!!!  — Amy Bear

💌 Thank you for allowing good people in Dayton to be LOUDER. —  Jehanne Dufresne

💌 Thank you for your kindness and generosity you changed so many lives here in Dayton and help us remember those we've lost again thank you we will never forget this night. — Robb Sloan

>> Mayor: Gem City Shine event was ‘very Dayton’

💌 Dave,  

Thank you for helping us see our worth again. Thank you for reminding us of what Dayton is capable of. Thank you for choosing us, and showing us the way forward.  — Sarah Caplan

 💌 Sometimes in the midst of tragedy, we need something celebratory to remind us of why we go on. It isn't designed to help us forget the tragedy or minimize the hurt of those who lost their lives. But Dayton, at its core, is a community healing from many potentially divisive actions in the past year. And this event was needed to remind each and every one of us that we are all one and we are family. And Dave Chappelle was THE champion of that great, healing effort.  — Jack Omer

>> Remembering the victims of the Oregon District mass shooting

💌 Thank you for being one of the gems of this gem city  and for believing in us, your proud home. — Jenny Papadakis

Credit: Tom Gilliam

Credit: Tom Gilliam

💌 In a time when so many are struggling to feel joy, you and your friends brought a light to truly help the Gem City Shine. You became "family" to us all. 
You reminded all of us of our strength and brought us together to celebrate life [of those lost and those who survived] and the love we have for each other. You helped us to rise. 
Thank you Dave Chappelle for not just being a part of the Dayton community, but being FOR the Dayton community and for all of those across the country and around the globe affected by such tragedies. Thank you for your time, your love and your generosity. 
We are one. One planet. One race (the human race). One love. 
#daytonstrong   — Cheryl Collier

>> PHOTOS: Kanye West holds ‘Sunday Service’ event in Dayton

💌 Thank You for stepping up and arranging such a wonderful event for the victims and our city,what a generous person you are..God Bless us all😊😊😊😊😊   —   Kenneth Sparks

💌Thank you for being so selfless and having so much love for the victims and the city of Dayton that you celebrated your birthday weekend throwing an unforgettable event for us that we'll cherish forever! —  Jordan D. Hockett

💌 Thank you for giving us more than thoughts and prayers, and for reminding the world not to forget, just when they were starting to. Humor, music and community heals with the help of people like you.   —  Stefanie Badders Laufersweiler

Credit: Tom Gilliam

Credit: Tom Gilliam

💌 Dave,  you could live anywhere in the world and you choose to live in the Miami Valley. Thanks for loving the Dayton area and us♥️ — Rhonda Moore

>> AMELIA ROBINSON: Jennifer’s girl has not been the same since mass shooting 

💌 Dave, thanks for shining LIGHT and LOVE on our city!!  — Tim Wilson

💌 Thanks for the support Dave, it means a lot that you care about our great state like you do! God bless you brother.  — Brian Alexander

💌 Nothing like this has ever happened to Dayton. Thank you for showing me that it's possible. I will always strive to give back to my community and continuously bring hope. I can't say thank you enough for the greatest birthday weekend of my life. ❤️ — Daj'za Demmings

>>  RELATED: Daytonian of the Week on tornado work: ‘It was only right that I took care of home the best way I could’

💌 Dave, thank you for springing into action and unifying our Community. There was love and many healing hugs. Daytonians are sending this love in your direction with a grateful heart. —  Dovie Pettitt

💌 Fifth Street should forever be named "Dave Chappelle Ave." Thank You 🙏 🎤   —   Brandon White

💌 Thank you for your service to our Dayton community, and for continuing to be a valued part of it. You are part of what makes Dayton a great place to live! Your work has made us proud to call Dayton home. Thank you.  — Gina Stough

Credit: Tom Gilliam

Credit: Tom Gilliam

💌 Thanks for being there when Dayton needed you.  —  Lee Jarrod Evans 

Thank you for organizing a peaceful, beautiful celebration of strength that we didn't know we had!! Dave Chappell 2020!!!  —    Stephanie Weaver

💌 Thanks for sharing the love..friend! You made Dayton Shine by uplifting us and reminding us we can and will come back stronger than ever! May we always remember we're in this together as one! Thanks for being so generous by stepping up and giving us a night no one will ever forget. Love, <3 peace, ☮️ ✌️and healing!  —  Sheryl Davis Dear

💌 Thanks for being the leader and example we need. Thanks for thinking of the families who lost their loved ones. For giving them the vip treatment, the hope and joy they need. For giving us laughter when we want to slip into depression. For acting out your good thoughts for others! For being you.  — Bridget Zinkiewicz

💌 Thank you for doing what no one else in this nation has done for a city affected by a mass shooting. You lifted us up and reminded us who we are. We will never forget your generosity of spirit and the lovely people you brought to help us heal with song. We love you as one of our very own.  — Teresa Talley

💌 Thank you for never getting too big for the Gem City!  —  Amy Jones

💌 Thank u for showing up and showing out and looking out for the people and their families that are going through this hard stage of life and you're such a wonderful person to give us a concert at no charge! That's love!❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️OH-IO— Vita Lanell Stallworth

Credit: Tom Gilliam

Credit: Tom Gilliam

💌 Thank you for showing our city it is valued, that the people here matter. Thank you for having the empathy to relieve the city of Dayton form the trauma we have endured. You gave people hope and ignited the want in them to continue to endure and strive for the dreams for the city so much of us see.—   Christina Mendez

💌 We appreciate you bringing to DYT what you have done in other major cities that are much larger and probably more lucrative to your brand. Thank you for putting the spotlight on a small town that is rebuilding and healing. We hope to build off this momentum and show artist, corporations, organizations, etc that Dayton, OH is the BEST place to plant and build. — Tasha Washington-Harris


💌 Good times: CONFIRMED — David Payne

💌 Thank you bringing your friends to what many Daytonians consider their living room to perform for us and show us that no one can make us afraid of what is ours. The gathering was wonderful ( I don't want to call it a party) and it started the healing process. You did good on such short notice!!  — Edy Wine

💌 Thank you for always being you! Thank you for inspiration and thank you for a mystical night full of unicorns! Cheers to you Mr.Chappelle! 
#StayInbound  —  Kyle Law

 💌  Thank you.  — Jodi McDermitt

Credit: Tom Gilliam

Credit: Tom Gilliam

 💌  Thank you for helping to take the fear from downtown, putting the national spotlight on Dayton, and hopefully creating more action on Do Something. No one else could/would have done what you did for Dayton, the victims and their families - a tremendous show of support and love. —  Virginia Burroughs

💌  Thank you for rocking Dayton.can we have this every year. —  Jennifer Brown 

The ultimate big payback! Let's make this a yearly event, doing programs for our most precious gems, our children. Thank u and your entire staff for the start of rebuilding and healing of Dayton, Ohio!  — Tommy Owens Jr

💌  Thank you for extending your heart and love to the DYT! We hope we can create long-term collaborative partnerships with you and your network that help to further heal the social ills affecting residents in this area. We look forward to building on this in the near future. #LocalGrassrootsOrganizations #GemCityStrong —  Mica Garrison

💌  We need a billboard filled with thousands of thank you cards!❤️ #Beyondgrateful #Davehasaheartofgold  — Jamie Rippey

Credit: Tom Gilliam

Credit: Tom Gilliam

💌  Dave, you started something - a chain of love.  — Tina McPhearson

💌  Thanks treadmill buddy! —  Kyle Bowers

💌 Dear Dave, Words cannot express the depths of our gratitude. We knew we needed something but we didn't know what. But somehow, some way...your heart transmitted this grand idea to your mind....and you humbly listened and followed through. And now our hearts are lifted and renewed.....and the whole world became a kinder place thanks to you!!!

Love,  Janet Neu

💌  🎶Thanks for bringing us together 🎶 —  Amber Le Frère

💌  Thank you for being the one to say and do what feels right! All the love and power to you! —  Robin Smith Sassenberg

💌 Thank you Dave for being the epitome of what being a resident of Dayton exemplifies. You immediately thought outside the box, you knew you could do it if you put your mind to it, you showed the rest of the state and country how to give selflessly, and you ROCKED it!!! Much love, respect, and hugs! A lifelong resident.   — Donna Sizemore  


💌 Thank you for lifting us up out of the darkness. You have given us light and hope. —  Becky Rowley Taylor

 💌  Thank you for your kindness and generosity you changed so many lives here in Dayton and help us remember those we've lost again thank you we will never forget this night. —  Robb Sloan

💌  Thank you for making the Miami Valley , laugh , and smile again...your optimism will help us rebuild our spirits to be the best versions of who we are to nurture our community ❤️ —  Darryl Demure

💌  You bet on us, the people of this town, to show up with an intention of love and healing. Things could have gone wrong, many people predicted a sh*t-show downtown on Sunday....and you bet on us anyway. I've chosen to live downtown and raise my family here for over 20 years, and it's not often people bet on us. But you did...and we'll always love you for it.   — Carli Ricciardi Dixon

💌 Thank you for sharing your heart, talent and friends with us while going beyond the call of duty in serving a need when Dayton needed love and care the most.'—  Melissa Spirek

💌  Thank you for living here and ACTUALLY living here. You are a part of this community and used your resources and influence for good. We all appreciate that you consider yourself a member of the Dayton community. It makes us feel special, as did this amazing, inspiring event! 😘  — Katlin Meredith  

💌  Dear Dave: Earlier this year you received a gift from Global Love Dayton with my pages-long personal note about what a blessing you are to the world. I have enjoyed reading all the lovely posts here and watching the coverage of Sunday's event. While it was heartbreaking to be waitlisted and watch everything (except Kanye's Sunday service) from afar, even as a spectator the love was palpable. Whether performing a comedy show to benefit WYSO Public Radio or magically creating a life-celebration event out of thin air, your commitment to being a good human being & helpful neighbor is inspiring. Thank you for the amazing gift of YOU that you so willingly share with our community! ❤️  —  Kelly Marie Lehman

💌  Dear Dave: thank you for bringing out the best in people. If everyone behaved daily the way they did August 25, the world would be exponentially better. Love, Emily and the service industry. —  Emily Mendenhall 

💌  Dear Dave, How can we say thank you enough? What you did to lift our spirits, put a song in our hearts and help transform the imprint of tragedy to love of community is above and beyond what we ever could have asked for. Thank you for your compassionate heart and most thoughtful actions.  —   “Maggie  Walsh

💌  Thank you Dave Chappelle!!! —  Jeff Fluty

💌  Thank you Dave for giving us the opportunity to reclaim the Oregon District! Thank you for all the love ❤️ you’ve shown our city! —  Allison Jordan 

💌 Thanks for knowing and giving me what I had no idea I needed! — Sean Mitchell  

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