Ku Klux Klan rally runs short

Counter-protesters have their say

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They came marching up Fleming Street dressed in black, armed with Confederate and swastika flags and carrying a message.

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The Ku Klux Klan rallied in front of Augusta State University to show its support of Jennifer Keeton, a graduate student whose views on homosexuality have generated controversy.   Zach Boyden-Holmes/Staff
Zach Boyden-Holmes/Staff
The Ku Klux Klan rallied in front of Augusta State University to show its support of Jennifer Keeton, a graduate student whose views on homosexuality have generated controversy.

The dozen Ku Klux Klan members settled in the median in front of Augusta State University Saturday and faced nearly 300 onlookers who had been awaiting their arrival.

KKK members looked straight ahead at the hundreds lining the sidewalk guarded by police. The crowd studied their flags, their stances, their appearances -- no white hoods or robes in sight.

And the silence broke.

"Why are you here?" shouted an onlooker.

"We all live on this planet together," yelled another.

"We're here about the amendments of the Constitution of the United States," said KKK member David Webster. "We believe there is a serious violation of the Constitution."

KKK members and representatives from the Supreme White Alliance rallied at ASU in support of graduate student Jennifer Keeton, who filed suit against the school in July for requiring her to learn about the homosexual community or face expulsion.

The school asked Keeton to complete a remediation plan after she said she would tell gay clients "their behavior is morally wrong and then help the client change that behavior," according to an affidavit filed in the case.

Keeton's attorneys had condemned the rally.

Although the KKK said at least 50 members would arrive at 1 p.m. and rally until 4 p.m., the group of a dozen showed up about 1:40 p.m. and left about a 30 minutes later.

The dozens of counter-protesters from homosexual and civil rights organizations made use of their time face-to-face with Klan members.

"I think obviously those who came in support of equality and love outnumbered those who came in support of white supremacy," said Christin Meador, an Augusta native who traveled from New York City to organize a protest against the KKK. She founded Proud Ally in 2009, a national gay-straight alliance that promotes tolerance and education.

Meador and other counter protesters lined the streets surrounding ASU's main entrance on Walton Way with signs and messages of tolerance an hour before the KKK arrived.

"No second class citizenship," "Love not hate," and "Keeton great career move," were some of signs the counter-protesters held in front of the KKK group.

Dialogue continued between Klansmen and protesters continued until the group of KKK members marched back down Fleming Street.

Police blocked hundreds in the crowd from approaching the KKK members as they followed their retreat.

After weeks of security preparation for the rally, Richmond County sheriff's Lt. Scott Gay said the showing was as much as he could have expected. The rally did not turn violent.

"We're not afraid of them, they are more of an inconvenience," Gay said. "We're here to protect the citizens of Richmond County. Unfortunately we have to protect (the KKK) too."

After the Klansmen marched out of sight, counter protesters lingered in front of ASU posing for pictures and hugging after the day's efforts.

Although the rally was brief, Augusta resident Chris Bryant said he will try to make local citizens remember the event.

He and his wife shot video of the Klan and interviewed onlookers on race relations in Augusta and the country.

Bryant stood in front of the Klan group and shouted questions until police intervened.

"I'm going to put it out on YouTube to promote a message of unity and positivity," Bryant said. "The Klan here is just ridiculous. It's ridiculous."

Comments (17) Add comment
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jackrussell
219
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jackrussell 10/24/10 - 01:57 am
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I was taking photos of the

I was taking photos of the event and police only intervened after Bryant started screaming and dropping the F-bomb every 2 seconds. Good grief! There were children present! That kind of language and hostility was just as bad as the KKK's nonsense. It was like he was trying to get people to start fighting or something. Even the activists around Bryant were unhappy with his demeanor and when one lady asked him to stop cursing, he started yelling at her and said she must be with the KKK! Just ridiculous!

smAShT
42
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smAShT 10/24/10 - 02:13 am
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Im protesting protesters!!!!

Im protesting protesters!!!! I love rainbows and the confederate flag but cant stand that homosexual and racist have adopted these great symbols to represent their cause. Long live Banksy!

ImPOed
18
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ImPOed 10/24/10 - 10:36 am
0
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Just another sad day in the

Just another sad day in the Deep South! This is just a reminder of what we go through not just here in Augusta but around the country. This is the first time the KKK got involved in gay rights? Race relations, teaparties, liberal vs conservatives, gay rights, and much worse. Wait a minute, this is America. We hear and see this every day. It's nothing new nor is it anything we want to discuss at the dinner (supper) table either.

Musketeer Gent
0
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Musketeer Gent 10/24/10 - 11:51 am
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Thank goodness this isn't the

Thank goodness this isn't the KKK from my Grandfather's &/or Father's era. Of all the hate and horror I've heard or read about from this country's dark history, it's quite refreshing to witness the KKK "retreating" vs. everyone else. Welcome to 2010.

Jillian
2
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Jillian 10/24/10 - 11:55 am
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Some people wouldn't

Some people wouldn't understand what love is if it were their nose bitten off and spit out on a plate placed in front of them.

Love does not mean I am going to agree with something just because you want me to. If someone loves you they are going to try to encourage you NOT to do things to destroy your life Think about this- if someone loves who they are and what they do are they going to kill themselves? NO.

hope7
0
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hope7 10/24/10 - 12:17 pm
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Thank you, Jillian!

Thank you, Jillian!

c.james
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c.james 10/24/10 - 12:18 pm
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If people would ignore this

If people would ignore this group and let them spew their hatred doctrine, so be it. But no, there are people who give them the limelight by edging them on and making them martyrs. On the other hand I did not see the same reaction to the Black Panthers outside the voting precinct spewing hatred and threats against whites. Even worse they wanted to see the deaths of whites and encouraged their followers to do so. I did not see any condemnation by this President or him getting involved like he did when the Boston Police roughed up his socialistic professor for not cooperating with them.

The NAACP is a racist organization, so is the United Negro College Fund, (40 private, historically black, member colleges and universities are members exclusively for blacks). Miss Black America, Little Miss Black America, BET and the list goes on for people of color. Is this right? Politically correct? I don’t believe so, not in this day and age.

The polarization of black and white continues in this millennium and will continue as long as organizations like the above continue to operate. Obama has polarized the black and white issue even more with his antics and actions before entering the White House. He has alienated whites to a point of prejudice being reborn in this decade even though he is half white. He could have put an end to this hatred by using diplomacy and his supposed genius IQ. He did not, he chose his side and he chose Black. So the hatred continues today under a black skinned president. Nothing has really changed in over 140 years.

hope7
0
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hope7 10/24/10 - 12:26 pm
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Interesting to me and I would

Interesting to me and I would have completed my graduate courses
in counseling with ASU, recognizing ASU is not a Christian college. I, then would go on my merry way and counsel whomever I chose to.
So simple!

WW1949
19
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WW1949 10/24/10 - 12:42 pm
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Hope7, that is exactly what I

Hope7, that is exactly what I would have done. This is just a big bunch of garbage and alot of wasted time. Why even give this woman a headline in the paper. It would just go away had she used her head. What a dumb girl to rear up at the wrong time.
She should have just got her degree and go counsel where she wants to.

dashiel
176
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dashiel 10/24/10 - 12:55 pm
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This group is an

This group is an embarrassment to any decent Exalted Cyclops. Without pure hate and clean bedsheets, it's just KKK Lite. When did ignorance become a point of view?

MajorPaul
0
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MajorPaul 10/24/10 - 01:03 pm
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For goodness sake people,

For goodness sake people, this is not about homosexual rights or anything of the kind.
What Miss Keaton's case is about is the ASU school of counseling accepting some religious perspectives, and condemning others. And for an institution of higher learning, that is reprehensible behavior.
I suppose the students are also taught to tell a kid who is an alcoholic that it is just fine, you were born that way, learn to embrace it.
It all boils down to the same thing. Some of the students in the program say they would tell the kids they counsel that homosexuality is not a sin, Miss Keaton says she would tell them it is. Both are religious perspectives.
This has nothing to do with hate of anyone. It has to do with the right to practice what you believe to be true.

dashiel
176
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dashiel 10/24/10 - 01:11 pm
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Against gay marriage? Then

Against gay marriage? Then don't have one!

Musketeer Gent
0
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Musketeer Gent 10/24/10 - 01:18 pm
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Tracey...so now you're

Tracey...so now you're deleting comments of substance, while continuing to display those which are offensive? Thanks for showing your true colors as well. If that offends you, then so be it.

corgimom
32231
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corgimom 10/25/10 - 10:59 pm
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If the KKK rally runs short,

If the KKK rally runs short, can we say that they were short-sheeted?

corgimom
32231
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corgimom 10/25/10 - 11:02 pm
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"I suppose the students are

"I suppose the students are also taught to tell a kid who is an alcoholic that it is just fine, you were born that way, learn to embrace it."

Who would equate sexual preference with alcoholism?

Sexual preference is established before age 3. Know any 2 and 3 year old alcoholics, MajorPaul?

corgimom
32231
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corgimom 10/25/10 - 11:04 pm
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"I'm going to put it out on

"I'm going to put it out on YouTube to promote a message of unity and positivity," Bryant said. "The Klan here is just ridiculous. It's ridiculous."

Yeppers, nothing like shouting questions at people to promote a message of unity and positivity. That does it every time.

TampaZeke
0
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TampaZeke 10/26/10 - 11:13 am
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As a native Mississippian

As a native Mississippian surrounded by Northerners here in Florida, I spend sooo much time trying to convince them that Southerners aren't the bigoted rednecks that we once were.

Then I come to the comments section of an Augusta newspaper only to read comment after comment SUPPORTING the KKK and making shamefully ignorant and even bigoted comments about gay people. Jillian even goes so far as to blame gay kids for their own suicides, acting as if homophobia played no role; and then she gets a high five for her comment from hope7.

I'm saddened, disgusted and ashamed of my beloved South and her people. We clearly ARE the bigoted rednecks that we once were. I'll never say another word in defense of Southerners.

It's 2010 folks. You sound EXACTLY like your grandparents and great grandparents, only they felt passionate, and Christ-like, and Bible-based, in their racist bigotry; whereas you've replaced it with homophobia. You may deny it, you may hate to believe it, but here's an inconvenient truth for all of you. YOUR grand kids and great grand kids will be just as baffled by, and ashamed of, your homophobia as (i hope) you are about your grandparents' and great grandparents' racism. That's a fact. I encourage everyone to take a moment and really think about that.

rukiddingme
0
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rukiddingme 10/26/10 - 12:11 pm
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@c.james I do agree with you

@c.james I do agree with you about the black panthers. I believe that they are radical movement promoting hatred of other races. However I believe you missed the memo when it comes to the other organizations listed in your post. And yes the NAACP, UNCF, Miss Black America target the African American audience. But if you would have done just a little research, you would understand why they were created in the first place. The NAACP (1909) was founded on principles that we are all created equal and to ensure that all black Americans were afforded the same rights as whites. Oh and by the way, I do believe that there were several whites on the panel who helped with its creation. The UNCF (1944) was established to raise money for historically black colleges. And the reason why many of these black colleges exist in the first place is because blacks were not allowed to attend historically white institutions. And the Miss Black America (1968) was created to give African American women the opportunity so women like themselves portrayed in a positive manner. How many black women do you think were in the Miss America Pageants during those times. Many of these organizations were created because blacks were not allowed to participate in white organizations. None of these organizations promote hate. Whites as well as blacks are allowed to attend historically black colleges and universities.

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