HILLSBOROUGH, N.C. — Hundreds of people marched together in Hillsborough Saturday afternoon as a way to speak out against hate and bigotry.
The event was put on by Hate-Free Schools Coalition and Hillsborough Progressives Taking Action.
It came after a group of Ku Klux Klan members gathered in Hillsborough last week.
“It was alarming. You don’t expect to see behavior like that in 2019,” said Latarndra Strong, vice president of NAACP Northern Orange County.
Strong said she was the first to speak to the KKK members gathered last week.
“There were racial slurs. They were talking about defending Christian values,” said Strong.
That’s part of why she wanted to march Saturday. She joined forces with several other organizations to schedule Saturday’s counter-rally.
Organizers expected 200 people to be there. They said 700 showed up.
“I am overjoyed,” said Strong. “It fills me up and it tells me this community is not okay with hate in our community.”
The group of children, adults and dogs took to the streets around noon. They waved flags, held signs and chanted words of acceptance.
“I’m glad we have support and can feel welcome here,” said attendee Sujata Bijou.
They then met at the courthouse where several activists spoke.
“We don’t have the ignorance or the ability to hold the ignorance of thinking anybody is less than anybody else,” said one speaker.
Police closed off multiple streets. They said the group got permits for both courthouse spaces.
“It was invigorating and it gives us all hope and it continues to let everyone else know we really are stronger together and we are together here,” said attendee Lisa.
Officers were there to direct traffic and help maintain peace.
On Sunday, organizers are hosting a prayer service at Margaret Lane Gallery Cemetery from 5 to 6:30 p.m.
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