CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (WVIR) - Religious leaders are planning a response to a group affiliated with the Ku Klux Klan coming to Charlottesville. The Loyal White Knights of the KKK will host a rally in downtown Charlottesville in July.

They are planning to rally at the steps 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.
Religious leaders say they want to do everything they can to avoid violence between the group and potential activists.

The Charlottesville Clergy Collective, made up of over 50 religious leaders, met this week to begin planning a response. The collective is looking to host a rally and other events leading up to the KKK’s planned July rally.

"We're trying to work it out with our various groups in a peaceful way and we do not want confrontation. We do not want any polarization in our community,” said Pastor Liz Emery with New Beginnings Christian Community. 

Emery says planning is in the early stages, but they are determined to represent Charlottesville as a unified city.

“This is just in the talking phase right now about having something that stresses peace, and listening, and dialogue, and depolarization, and taking the tension away from that issue. We want to emphasize the goodness here in Charlottesville,” Emery explained.

NBC29 reached out to the NAACP. The president says the organization is working on a response plan, but has not given any further details at this point.

The Clergy Collective is hosting an additional meeting next week where they will sort out details and times for their response events in July.