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Hundreds Attend Community Meeting Discussing KKK Rally

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CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (WVIR) -

Hundreds of people packed a Charlottesville community meeting Tuesday night, preparing for a Ku Klux Klan rally planned for July.

The Loyal White Knights of the KKK are planning a rally at the steps of Charlottesville Circuit Court on Saturday, July 8. The North Carolina-based group is protesting Charlottesville City Council’s decision to remove a state of Confederate General Robert E. Lee and rename Lee Park to Emancipation Park.

The pews were full Tuesday at Mount Zion African Baptist Church in Charlottesville as leaders and citizens talked strategy. 

Most of the speakers told the crowd to not go to the KKK rally. One speaker even said the city of Charlottesville should look like a ghost town the day they come.

The overall strategy, while still in the works, is to ignore the rally itself so not to incite violence or give a voice to the KKK members.

One male speaker told the crowd he was not going to the rally because he knew if he went, he would feel an urge to be violent toward the KKK. Instead, he asked people to stay away and be proactive in preventing any kind of escalation.

“We're here because we wanted to provide the community with an opportunity to not only have their voices heard, but also inform everyone that strategy, not emotion, is what is needed right now,” said Charlottesville Vice Mayor Wes Bellamy.

Another speaker, Yolanda Brown, said she knows there are, "ancestral memories" of KKK rallies in the community, but to funnel the anger and fire into literacy programs and community building instead.

There is still an ongoing conversation about different faith communities in the city hosting an event at the same time as the rally to draw people away. Those exact details are still in planning.

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