Religious coalition tuning out KKK rally

Group plans a week of August events focusing on changing racist views

Akron Beacon Journal/July 31, 1999
By Jim Carney

Religious leaders in Northeast Ohio are asking people to attend other events to draw attention away from the Ku Klux Klan rally planned in Cleveland on Aug. 21.

The Akron Area Association of Churches, in cooperation with United We-Can of Cleveland, is advertising a variety of events planned for the week leading up to the rally. The Akron group also is asking the news media ``to refrain from excessive covering the Klan rally and focus upon the alternative events.''

The Klan, a white supremacist group, is planning a rally in front of the downtown courts at 1 p.m. Aug. 21.

The rally will be the same day the Cleveland Browns play their first football game in the new stadium. The preseason game, against the Minnesota Vikings, is at 7 p.m.

Also scheduled that day is a convention focusing on black families at a downtown convention facility.

The city of Cleveland has said it will provide protection to keep the Klan and protesters separated and may also allow the Klansmen to put on their white robes in the court building parking garage.

United We-Can, a community organization made up of religious congregations throughout Cuyahoga County, has labeled the weekend before, Aug. 13-15, ``Days of Meditation and Prayer: Transforming Hate into Love.''

The group, along with the support of the Akron religious group, issued a statement calling for all faiths to ``be intentional about their prayers on these holy days.''

The Cleveland group has invited the Rev. C.T. Vivian to speak at several events. Vivian organized the first nonviolent direct action to protest segregation in 1945 during a series of lunch counter sit-ins in Peoria, Ill. He is co-founder of the Nashville Christian Leadership Conference and is the president of the Center for Democratic Renewal.

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