FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
September 27, 2017
Residents Denounce Planned Ku Klux Klan 3-day Rally in Monticello
Members of the Concerned Citizens of Monticello and their partners at the Arkansas Public Policy Panel were alarmed to learn of a planned rally in Monticello, Arkansas of the International Keystone Knights of the Ku Klux Klan. In a letter to Drew County Sheriff Mark Gober, Klan leader Ronnie Carter informs the sheriff of the planned 3-day rally on private property from October 6 through October 8. He notes that the rally will conclude with a cross burning.
“There is no place for hate groups such as the Ku Klux Klan in Monticello, Arkansas,” said Joe Britton, chair of Concerned Citizens of Monticello Area. “Everyone has a right to believe what they want to believe until you start advocating for violence and discrimination against people,” added Britton.
Britton said that his members were deeply concerned about escalating racial tensions in the wake of white supremacist rallies in Charleston, SC and other places.
“People are afraid for their safety, and we’re all concerned about our ability to come together as Arkansans and Americans to respect our differences and work for a better future for all of our children,” added Britton.The other day an African American family in Monticello found a noose hung in one of their buildings. President Trump refers to hate groups as fine people. And now the KKK is holding a 3-day retreat in our community. We can’t remain silent while hatred and division spread.”
Curtis Mangrum, chair of the Arkansas Public Policy Panel that works with grassroots groups to advance social justice throughout the state added, “This isn’t just happening in Monticello. Hate groups and people of prejudice feel emboldened throughout Arkansas. We denounce their hatred and intimidation tactics. We call on people of good conscious from all races and beliefs to show our love for one another as human beings and work together to make our communities better for all through peaceful fellowship. We need to dismantle the structural barriers to opportunity and the divisions that separate people in our communities.”
The community groups are planning their own activities on the days of the Klan rally. The Arkansas Public Policy Panel will be hosting a workshop on social justice and racial inclusion in Little Rock on October 7. Many members of Concerned Citizens of Monticello Area are planning to attend that workshop, but they are planning other responses to the Klan events.
“First of all we want people to be safe and respect the law,” said Britton. “Our response to the Klan will not be a one day or one weekend thing. We will respond throughout the year and through our lives to bring people together to make our community a better place for all people to live. We are disappointed the Klan, in 2017, is still an organization that appeals to some individuals, but they don’t represent the community we know and love.”
The Concerned Citizens of Monticello Area is a community group made up of people who are working to make life better in their community.
The Arkansas Public Policy Panel advances social and economic justice through respect for human dignity, diversity, empowerment and an inclusive, fair and transparent political process.