Activists say march and speeches calling for peace will counter hate message
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Nov. 11, 2002
By TOM HELD
Several groups of local activists plan to counter a white supremacist rally in Milwaukee with a march and speeches calling for peace, justice and an end to racism, organizers announced Monday.
The demonstrators hope their message will be louder and clearer than the Ku Klux Klan’s calls for racial purity at the rally, set for Nov. 23 on the steps of the federal courthouse.
The coalition plans to draw students, residents and local officials to march in opposition to racial hate groups.
“Some have argued that we should ignore this demonstration and that protesting their racist views only gives their cause more attention,” said Matt Nelson, executive director of Education for the People. “In fact, we must always stand up against hatred directed toward our community and defend the human rights and rights to safety of all people.”
The coming rally is a joint effort expected to bring the leaders of the World Church of the Creator, the Ku Klux Klan of Wisconsin and the National Socialist Movement to downtown Milwaukee.
The World Church is considered the nation’s fastest-growing white supremacist movement, and the National Socialist group is a form of the Nazi party in America.
In announcing their plans, the groups said they want to focus attention on the hate crimes that have occurred in the city, specifically the attacks on white patrons at the close of Summerfest in July.
Witnesses to the attacks have said that gangs of black youths were attacking people as crowds left the festival grounds, and nearly all of the victims were white.
“It is high time that white people band together to protect each other,” the groups say in their news release.
Nelson said fighting crime and improving Milwaukee for everyone depends on unifying the diverse people in the city. The coalition will demonstrate to counter the white supremacists’ efforts to further divide people, he said.