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Hundreds march in Asheville to protest hate crimes

By Jeremy Miller

Protest in Asheville against hate crimes

Over 300 people gathered to protest hate crimes in Asheville, North Carolina. The protesters began in the Montford District of Asheville, chanting, “Queer or straight, we don't hate!” The spirited protest met at local business “Todd’s Tasties” and marched two miles to Pack Square in downtown Asheville.

At the downtown rally, people spoke out against hate crimes and building unity in the community. “This is a grassroots effort,” stated Angela Denio of Students for a Democratic Society, “it is a great example of a community coming together. People came out today because they heard about the verbal and physical attacks from friends, from family, from their neighbors. We're out here today to say that we will not tolerate hate crimes in our community.”

The demonstration was in direct response to violence perpetrated on gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender and queer folk (LGBTQ). In the space of three days, three people were assaulted and another threatened. All four individuals were targeted due to their perceived sexual orientation. In all four cases, the attackers were reported as three-college age, white males driving a red Volvo.

To counter the hate crimes and take the fight to the attackers, community organizers, students, LGBTQ community, and allies rallied to stand up as one. Event Organizer Samantha Soper said, “This is about community over all. It’s about feeling safe and getting to know each other. This is what we needed.”

Under the slogan “We are not bashful!” the movement for equality and civil rights will continue to organize for self-defense and march in North Carolina.

#AshevilleNC #StudentsForADemocraticSocietySDS