Charlottesville Prepares for KKK Rally in July

Jun 21, 2017

Charlottesville City officials on Tuesday sought to reassure community members that they will be kept safe during the Ku Klux Klan’s planned rally in a little more than two weeks. WMRA’s Jordy Yager has more.

Charlottesville Police Chief Al Thomas said the department’s developed a coordinated public safety response to the KKK’s demonstration on July 8th. Police also have a back up plan, he said, and a back up plan for the back up plan. The worry, the chief said, is that groups like the KKK want to provoke a reaction from residents.

CHIEF AL THOMAS: We attended a number of community meetings last week and our message was clear and consistent: don’t take the bait.

Instead, city officials and a bevy of business owners, activists, and religious leaders have planned a day of events across the city.

THOMAS: I hope that July 8th will be remembered as a day of unity not a day of hate and fear. Fear will not define this community.

Events will range from bouncy castles and concerts to meals and in-depth discussions. One host venue will be the African-American Heritage Center at the Jefferson School.  Andrea Douglas is the executive director.

ANDREA DOUGLAS: And our goal here is really to provide an opportunity for dialogue, for conversation, for all of our community to have an opportunity to take a look at each other. To come together, the particular groups, who define what Charlottesville is, who define who we are as a community.