The KKK came to my town yesterday.
The police, riot gear and all, were prepared for violence. While news reports emphasized the 23 arrested and the use of tear gas, the day was one of a community coming together and saying in many ways “not in our town”. The Quakers came to the site early in the day and sat in silence. A group filled the old Jefferson School (formerly the “black” school) and sang spirituals and talked about race matters. Boyd Tinsley, a local of the Dave Matthews band, highlighted music on the downtown mall at the same time the KKK had scheduled their rally at the old Lee Park around the statue of Robert E. Lee. Church groups marched carrying signs of love and peace. The evening had music. There were picnics over at Ix Park. The town came out and celebrated diversity and inclusion while 50 KKK supporters needed a police escort to march to their chosen site.
This southern town once had leaders who formed a KKK in the dark of night up at Monticello, Thomas Jefferson’s home. That was 1920’s. White robes with hoods, hidden away at the historical society, were brought out this week to show the reality. I suppose it was finally time to “air the dirty laundry”.
The harsh reality of the past reminds me that it took a Congress brave enough to pass laws to end discrimination to begin to create a true nation “with liberty and justice for all”. The current Congress shows no such bravery. Indeed, those in the majority seem to desire an undoing and a return to hoods of horror both for our citizens and our resources. They do not wear robes. They are cloaked in patriotic propaganda.
My town said RESIST.