Fayetteville alternative: Diversity, tolerance

The Register-Herald, Oct. 23, 2002

“We are not organizing a counter-demonstration; we are not organizing an anti-klan protest,” Dr. Dan Doyle said Tuesday.

“We’re organizing a ‘Community-for-All’ celebration … and strongly encouraging everybody to stay away from events downtown.”

The downtown events Doyle referred to is the march and rally planned for Saturday in Fayetteville by the Rev. Matt Hale of the World Church of the Creator.

Hale, who believes that all “persons of color must immediately be deported from America,” expects the Ku Klux Klan and SS Action group, as well as other white supremacists, to attend the rally.

Doyle and several others have put together A Community for All event to coincide with Hale’s demonstration.

The counter-event will be held at Fayetteville Town Park, and people are being encouraged to avoid downtown from 9:30 a.m. to noon.

He said several speakers have been lined up to participate along with some musical performers. The affair is simply to show that Fayette County is a place of diversity and tolerance, he said.

“In a strange way, the klan has defeated themselves by coming here,” Doyle said in a press release.

“By barging into our community with their message of hatred, they have stirred people to respond.”

He said it isn’t sufficient to “be against” hate or the klan, but that it is necessary for people to take a stand and show what they are for.

“We are for tolerance,” he said. “We recognize the benefits of many cultures, colors and creeds in our community. Diversity enriches our community culturally and helps our economic growth.”

Among the individuals committed to participate in the Community-for-All celebration are author Denise Giardina; Ivan Lee, executive director of the West Virginia Human Rights Commission; Marcus Wilkes of the West Virginia Rainbow Coalition; a speaker from the state NAACP; Fayette County Commission president John Witt; and Fayetteville Mayor Jim Murdock.

Invitations have been extended to Sens. Robert C. Byrd and Jay Rockefeller and Rep. Nick Rahall.

The downtown event is scheduled from 10 a.m. to noon, the Community-for-All event from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Sally Hurst, another community organizer, said the main event is an open-air picnic.

“It’s potluck, so bring a dish, some fruit or cookies or a bag a chips.”

To avoid the downtown, Hurst recommended turning off U.S. 19 onto the Keller Avenue exit just south of the New River Gorge Bridge, turning left at Dirty Ernie’s and following Hresan Boulevard to Park Street and turning right, which will take motorists to Town Park.

The counter-event has generated posters throughout the county.

In addition, a Community for All resolution has been adopted by the town of Fayetteville:

“As residents of Fayette County, we promise to work for a community whose tolerance and diversity flourish. We seek a community where all people, regardless of creed or color, can enjoy comfort and well-being. Our economic and social future requires nothing less. We want to be known as ‘A Community for All.'”

For further information, contact Doyle at 573-2798 (cell), 540-6237 (pager) or 469-2905, extension 339 (work); Hurst at 465-1252; or Murdock at Town Hall, 574-0101.


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Religion News Blog posted this on Friday October 25, 2002.
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