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Rally Held To Advocate Against Hate After Virginia Protests

BENTONVILLE (KFSM) -- A crowd of people gathered Sunday (Aug. 13) afternoon at the Bentonville Square to advocate against the hate shown at the protests in Virginia the day before.

Some came with signs that read,  "Black Lives Matter,"  "Preach Peace" and "No Hate In Our State."

The rally was organized by the group Ozark Indivisible the night before.

Shannon Simons is a member of the organization and said they want to show others that hate will not be tolerated in Arkansas.

Harrie Farrow attended the rally and is a member of Indivisible Eureka Springs.

She said there was one thing she wanted people to know.

“We’re about love and not hate," Farrow said. "We’re about tolerance, we’re about treating people with respect, we’re about being patriots. We’re not a bunch of crazy anarchists.”

She said the turnout for the rally was good for Bentonville, but was saddened that there were not thousands of people flooding the streets about this issue.

At times, the crowd could be heard chanting things like the phrase "White supremacy is terrorism" or "take it down."

Simons said a reason for holding the event on the square was because of the confederate monument located there.

She said it did not belong in a town where people all over the world visit during the year and that it sends the wrong message.

“What does it look like to the rest of the world to come to come to Bentonville and see a Confederate monument?" Simons said. "That just doesn’t seem like it should happen. We want it to be taken down.”

Brandon Claybrook was just one of the many people in the crowd.

He agreed with Simons saying the monument should be taken down and that there were other ways to recognize our nation's history that did not involve a confederate monument.

The rally in Virginia did not surprise Claybrook, but the violence and death that occurred during the protests did.

He said peace rallies like the one in Bentonville are a good step, but we need to be united as nation.

“I think a lot of us have the same goals in mind and we want the same thing for our children and our communities," Claybrook said. "I think there is a way for us to do that together. We take out the categories, the political parties and things like that and we have a conversation at the table, I think we can all be there and be united in that sense.”

He continued to say that he thinks people are already having these conversations in the privacy of their own homes.

Claybrook urged those people to come out to more events like this to have those conversations out in public.