Group set to face Ku Klux Klan at rally

Counterdemonstration to support tolerance
Dana Cheshire (top right) and friends make signs for a counterdemonstration planned during today's KKK rally outside of Augusta State University. The group, Proud Ally, is composed of heterosexuals who wish to demonstrate their support for the homosexual community.

It wasn't until the end of her whirlwind week that Christin Meador stopped to really consider whom she would be facing today.

Meador admits going against the Ku Klux Klan outside the gates of Augusta State University has her a little worried. But it also steels her resolve to present a another image, one of tolerance.

"This is the civil rights (struggle) of our generation," she said.

Meador is founder of Proud Ally, one of several gay rights groups that will band together today against the KKK's rally. The Klan plans to march in support of graduate counseling student Jennifer Keeton, who sued ASU after staff told her to take a remediation program because of her views on homosexuality.

Keeton has vehemently denied any support or connection with the KKK.

On Friday evening, supporters of Proud Ally met at Nacho Mama's in downtown Augusta to make signs and formulate a strategy. A few minutes with neon-colored poster board and thick double-sided markers produced signs such as "Love Not Hate."

Meador, an Augusta native who now lives in New York City, formed Proud Ally as an outlet for straight people to support the homosexual community. She said the issue of gay rights is especially germane right now in light of recent suicides and hate crimes against gay students.

"It's a crisis in sense," she said.

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Student suing Augusta State works at Christian school
Judge rejects Keeton lawsuit
Waiting plaintiff misses 1st class
Christian student sues ASU
Afternoon rallies

The Ku Klux Klan plans to rally today from 1 until 4 p.m. on Fleming Street, across from Augusta State University's main entrance on Walton Way.

Confederate group will not protest at ASU

A local Confederate group will not be attending today's planned rally outside the gates of Augusta State University.

Lee Herron, the commander of the Brig. Gen. E. Porter Alexander Sons of Confederate Veterans Camp #158 in Augusta, said Friday that his group will not join the protests out of concerns of being mistaken for supporting other attendees, specifically the Ku Klux Klan.

Officials said Thursday that the Confederate group had expressed interest in obtaining a permit to appear at the protests two days after Proud Ally, a gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender group, announced they would hold a counterprotest against the Klan.

Herron said their intention was to "counterprotest the Klan for their use of the Confederate battle flag and the hateful way they use it. They've basically hijacked a flag of honor and (are) using it for their hateful purposes and that's wrong," he said.

-- Adam Folk, staff writer

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