Richmond, Virginia: Anti-hate rally responds to KKK hoax

By R.E.A.L. Organization • on November 3, 2009

Richmond, Virginia: Anti-hate rally responds to KKK hoax

The Commonwealth Times reports:

– “An anti-hate rally of about 30 protestors was led by two Richmond residents Friday in response to a publicized Imperial Klans of America and Ku Klux Klan rally to be held the same day in Kanawah Plaza.”
– “Rally organizer, Meredith Clark said she first became aware of plans for an Oct. 22 IKA and KKK rally, which turned out to be a hoax, when she was looking through the Rants and Raves listings on the social networking Web site Craigslist. Clark said she immediately contacted fellow rally organizer Lanaya Burnette.”
– ” ‘This is just something we felt really strongly about,’ Burnette said.”
– “Clark said Burnette called various Richmond public offices and news channels to find out if the IKA and KKK rally was a hoax but could not confirm whether it was. The debate went back and forth on the Web sites Facebook and Craigslist, where users posted their doubts or confirmed the event.”
– “Sam Austin, a political science major, said he suspected the event might have been a hoax but attended the anti-hate rally regardless.”
– ” ‘It happens a lot and that is sort of the reality of the Internet. People just sort of have to do the research,’ Austin said. ‘I wanted to be out here to support the opposition for that and say, ‘Hey, you have your right to be out here … but this is not a good thing for our country or city and we want to be here and show you we have a presence to and we are not going to let you come out here and spread your hate.’ ”
– “Racial disputes were sparked on Craigslist following the initial IKA and KKK rally posting. During the racial debate on Craigslist content was produced that violated the terms of use for the Web site.”
– ” ‘I am very grateful that I live in America and have the freedom of speech,’ Burnette said. ‘I prefer to use my freedom of speech to not hurt others. Be it in their hearts or slander them illegally, they have their right to say what they want to say but we have a right to say what we feel back. It is something that we all feel very strongly about regardless of which side you on.’ ”
– “Clark said the response to the alleged IKA and KKK rally was a powerful statement by the Richmond community.”
– “Burnette and Clark used Facebook to publicize their anti-hate rally and said they got a lot of feedback.”
– ” ‘If it is a hoax, great, because we can still stand here together peacefully and show the world that we do not agree with those kinds of ideologies anymore,’ Clark said.”
– “Nicholas DeFilippis, a political science major, was one of a small group of students who attended the rally.”
– ” ‘It is to be expected because this was the capital of the Confederacy,” DeFilippis said. ‘I do not think they should be allowed to do it because every time someone doing hate speech gets to have their say like Hitler or the government in Rwanda, something awful happens and they need to be opposed.’ “