The Ku Klux Klan is planning an anti-immigration rally in the small town of Welcome, North Carolina, on Aug. 9. And civil rights advocates are planning to counter the hate group with a demonstration of their own.
The coalition planning the counter-protest includes GetEqual North Carolina, an LGBT group, and El Cambio, an immigrant rights group.
A statement from Get Equal said the organizers want to make clear that it is the Klan that isn't welcome in Welcome, North Carolina.
The counter-protest is called "Hatred Not Welcome Here" and it will begin with a speak-out focusing on the impact of racism, homophobia and violence in North Carolina communities.
A statement from the groups said, "As immigrants and LGBT people, we have always valued the safety and survival of our communities. The Ku Klux Klan has been inciting terror toward oppressed groups in this country for over a century, and now they are turning their attention toward undocumented Americans, condoning physical violence and separation of families. Now is the time for our communities to join together to send a clear message that their hatred is not welcome in North Carolina. This rally is our community's statement that we will no longer fall victim to hatred and violence — we are standing together to protect ourselves and our families, and to work to end hatred and discrimination whenever and wherever it arises."
"To me, this action means a lot — we are letting the KKK and the town of Welcome know that we are all immigrants," said Maura Pereira, 19, one of the organizers of the counter-protest. "Those who are coming to the U.S. are not here to steal our jobs but to be a part of America — a place where you can participate in the American dream and be treated with respect. Our truly welcoming community is strong, and we won't allow any human to be treated inhumanely simply because of their immigration status."
"I am angered and disappointed that groups like this still exist in our community," Luis Aguilera, 20, lead organizer for GetEQUAL North Carolina, said of the KKK. "It feels like sometimes we are taking two steps forward and three steps back. We must defend ourselves and our community from living in fear of the hatred and intolerance being spewed out by groups like the KKK, and this counter-protest is a way of ensuring that we will bear witness to the love and inclusiveness of our community. We will not let fear overtake our lives or our communities."