It’s been 25 years since the last time the KKK came together for a rally in Dayton, Ohio. One would think that the 25-year gap would make a difference in the ideologies imposed by hate groups such as the KKK. But unfortunately, if we have learned one thing from history, we know that ignorance equivalently and unfortunately breeds more ignorance.
Here are our reactions regarding the KKK rally in Ohio:
“Hearing about this or any KKK rally causes a lot of emotion to rise up for me — fear, confusion, disappointment, and anger are the most prominent, though never surprised. As a black woman, I hate feeling like I’m not safe in my own country, that I’m hated by someone who’s never met me, just for existing… just for the color of my skin. It’s really difficult for me to even comprehend that kind of hatred. It also outrages me that rallies such as this one are still allowed to occur, though I understand “freedom of speech” is an American right. Knowing that only 9 people showed up to support the rally leaves me with a feeling of relief and gratification. The comparatively overwhelming amount of protesters of all walks of life who came out gives me some hope for the future.” – Briana
“It’s insane to me how people still hold the ideology that they are better than others because of their color. However, I believe that people hold these ideas as a means of opportunities being few. They are not an opportunist and because of this, they work hard to oppress others, to step on others, and to put others down as a means to assure their status and position within society. It’s a matter of survival for them.” –Ziajah
“When I first read about the KKK rally in Dayton, Ohio, I couldn’t help but laugh. The fact that only nine people came to the rally in support of the KKK or as they like to call themselves, the Honorable Sacred Knights of Indiana, versus the 600 counter-protesters that showed up was quite funny to me, to be honest. I think that visual of the 600 against nine, sent a message to the nation that hate will not be tolerated here. It’s uplifting because it gives me hope that there are more people against this kind of hate than there are people in support of the ideals of the KKK.” –LaToya
“I feel very low-spirited when I hear groups such as the KKK that still exist in today’s world. I sit and question to myself “who do you think you are, how can you have so much negativity inside of you and where does it stem from?” It’s beyond disturbing the thought that members involved in the organization are motivated and led to protest and rally on things such as hatred and violates, thus creating division and strife.” –Kenya
“When I first read about the Ohio KKK Rally I wasn’t surprised but I felt anger and sadness. The United States Pledge of Allegiance taught to kids the second they enter into a US school [that we are] “One nation under God indivisible with liberty and justice for all”. The Pledge of Allegiance, something we’ve all been taught to memorize doesn’t include us… minorities. Its lack of inclusion is apparent in the existence of the KKK. It makes me sick to think about how far we’ve come as a nation but still haw far we need to go.” –Shaquierra
“I remember watching an episode of The Daily Show with Trevor Noah and he made a comment about the Confederacy. It disturbs me how the city had to fork over $650,000 to support the protest and the rally! I understand freedom of speech but I don’t understand the level of tolerance KKK receives. They were able to obtain a license for the rally and my question is how? The ability to pass an ordinance to band together on a premise of hate and discrimination is beyond my understanding. It seems as though there’s always a loophole for strong opinions when generated by White people but if it were a brown person of color they would have labeled it as an act of terror, or seen the members as criminals. I am at peace with the idea that people conducted themselves in a respectful manner, as there were no arrests or acts of violence.” –Ashley
“It did bother me that law enforcement decided to “protect” the KKK protesters by allowing them to protest in a specific area that was enclosed by a fence. I don’t recall Black Lives Matter protesters ever being protected against their opposition. This puts a bad taste in my mouth not only because it sheds light on the fact that black lives are viewed as less valuable, especially by law enforcement, but I also can’t help but think back on the history of the police and their relation to the KKK. The KKK was made up of all sorts of professionals. Doctors, lawyers, teachers, and more importantly, law enforcement. So, do I think it’s a coincidence that the police felt the need to make sure the KKK protesters were secluded and protected? I don’t know, but it’s definitely something to remain vigilant about.” –LaToya
History is said to repeat itself…. how can work to ensure that we’re going forward in a better direction?
“Nowadays slavery isn’t plantations, it’s the prison and legal system. I think it goes deeper than banding together for rallies it’s also using our spending power wisely. It’s great that we can show up for a protest but it’s also about putting Black dollars back into Black businesses and making larger corporations who refuse to exhibit diversity and inclusion [suffer] the financial strain of not having our support.” – Ashley
“Don’t stay quiet! Continue talking about and raising these issues online, in friend groups, in school systems, at town meetings, during elections, and etc. Don’t get distracted by the media, or allow these issues to become dormant, otherwise, they’ll continue on. We have to keep talking about them to help educate others and make our voices heard. We have to keep educating ourselves about politicians and participate in elections; and down to what may sound like the simplest and maybe cliche effort, we must practice love, understanding, kindness, and a willingness to learn in our own everyday lives, and teach these things to others, especially our children.” –Briana
If you could discuss one topic with a member of the KKK what would you discuss? What questions would you ask?
“I would probably ask them if they knew God was a Black man. I would pull out all the Bible verses they use to persecute people in the name of God to contradict their beliefs.” –Ashley
“Part of me would want to ask them where they get the base of their beliefs/arguments from, and what evidence they have to support it given that they probably have never taken the time to actually know a black person for who they actually are a day in their life; but I know there’s no real sense in talking to someone who wants to remain in ignorance. I’d also like to know how if they have any sense of humanity. Have they ever thought about how they might feel if they were treated with the same unwarranted hate they spew out? And last, I’d want to know if they realize how much more harmful it is to their own well being to the harbor and to act on all that hate. Wouldn’t it be more peaceful to live in harmony?”-Briana
“I would first ask the klan member about their childhood because a lot of beliefs and ideals are stemmed from our childhood experiences. I would then go on to debunk and dissect the experiences and conversations in an effort to help them gain a different perspective. Lastly, I would go on to ask: You’re a part of a group that is known for lynchings, rapes, violent attacks, and the killings of innocent people… why would you want to be a part of a group like that? Also, would you want to teach your child the same hate? How would you respond to your child if they had opposing views?” –Ziajah
“We cannot fight and overcome these battles alone. If we do, they’ll only continue to repeat themselves. Hate stems from ignorance. We need our white (and other non-black) brothers and sisters to join us in these times to show and spread love, and to help educate others who are lost but may be willing to listen/learn from someone that looks like them. Also, unfortunately, the way our current system is set up, the black voice often gets muted out; so having others on our side (those with privilege) to fight for genuine equality, may help the message become more widely received, and hopefully result in real change to take place. We are all human beings before we are anything else. Simply out of a sense of humanity, this should be regarded as everyone’s fight, not just the persons of color.” – Briana
“I think this kind of support and unity is what it’s all about. Unity and supporting one another is what the world is lacking and it’s important that we make a more conscious effort at becoming one as a nation. As a result, the state wouldn’t have to waste money as they did during the rally when $650,000 went toward security and protection which wasn’t needed as there were no reports of arrests, injuries, or use of force by the police. Although the safety of people’s lives is important to protect and invest in, that kind of money could be put toward our community and schools instead of an uncalled KKK- affiliated rally. All in all, I’m glad to hear the rally turned into something positive rather than negative. The city of Dayton came together to fight against hatred and stood up to keep peace and unity in their town. Imagine if more people stood up against negativity to keep more peace in the world?! I’m here for that!” –Kenya