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Rally in Hastings remains peaceful despite social media rumors

Posted at 5:39 PM, Aug 16, 2020
and last updated 2020-08-16 22:32:05-04

HASTINGS, Mich. — A rally for unity brought roughly 100 people to downtown Hastings Sunday.

The event lasted just a couple hours in total, but the organizers hope it helps create a lasting discussion in their hometown.

“There's been a lot of talk around the entire country about the BLM movement, what it means. We wanted to kind of bounce off of that in our community and have a discussion about where we think we are with racism and prejudice and what we can do to kind of fix that in our community and make it more inclusive to other people,” Co-Organizer Brad Smith told FOX 17.

Smith aimed to bring that discussion to the center of Hastings, where dozens came together outside the Barry County courthouse and spoke openly about how they felt.

“It's families, friends, people, colleagues being divided over supporting one movement or not supporting another supporting a certain political party, and we wanted to bring this unity to Hastings, bring everybody together to be able to open up the discussion and be comfortable having the discussion of, seeing different perspectives,” Co-Organizer Miguel Arjona Rodriguez said.

Also in attendance, were armed members of Michigan militia groups,

Despite social media rumors that suggested things would turn out violent, that was not the case.

“We all came here today to make sure everybody had the right to peacefully assemble whether you agree with it or not, now we have no problem with peaceful assemblies, what we do have a problem with is people causing disruptions at these kind of protests.” An anonymous member told FOX 17.

“If a white supremacist group would of came here, we would not allow them to come here and harass these people, because these people have a right to be here today, just as we have a right to be here. We stand with this, because this was a peaceful protest,” he added.

Organizers say they hope to have another similar rally in the future.