(Memphis) A plan is being set in motion to counter hate with love. The KKK filed a permit with the city to hold what it says will be its largest gathering ever. The NAACP is now planning a way to counter the Klan’s message.
The president of the Memphis branch of the NAACP and the organization's national board are meeting this weekend. One of the things on the agenda: how to counteract the Klan’s impact on the bluff city.
When the Ku Klux Klan rolls into Memphis at the end of March, the nation will be watching to see how the citizens of Memphis respond. The NAACP is encouraging peace.
“Several years ago in Memphis there was a Klan rally and it had to be cut off through use of force,” said Keith Norman, president of the local branch of the NAACP. “We don`t want that this year. We don't even want to give them the attention that they're trying to get.”
That's why Norman is calling for no marches against or stand offs with the KKK. Instead, he says area churches are putting together a peaceful plan of attack the week leading up to the rally.
“We're going to have prayer vigils to curtail this activity to really give the citizens of Memphis a focus on that which is good,” said Norman.
The Klan claims it’s mobilizing online to attract thousands of its members from all over the nation to gather in Memphis to rally against the city renaming three confederate parks.
“There seems to be a target for continued growth and resurgence and the Klan is using this as a national activity,” said Norman.
He believes Memphis can stand strong against the Klan, but can do it peacefully as the rest of the nation watches, “We don't want Memphis to have a tarnished image at all. We are not a racially divided city. We are not a city that cannot live together. We want to be a model of what peace and solidarity looks like.”
The Memphis Police director says officers, sheriff's deputies, and federal agents will be on hand that weekend if things get out of hand. The city has yet to approve the Klan’s permit, but says it will treat them just like any other group.