Hundreds showed up for “A March Against White Supremacy” in Hillsborough over the weekend in response to a klan rally held in the town the week before.
On Saturday, Aug. 24 members of the Ku Klux Klan gathered in front of the Orange County Courthouse. Some dressed in Klan robes while others held up Confederate flags. LaTarndra Strong is a Hillsborough resident and co-founder of Hate-Free Schools Coalition. She recalls seeing the spectacle, and instead of retreating, she faced the klan head-on and streamed the interaction live on Facebook. Steven Petrow is a long-time resident of Hillsborough who wrote about the events for The Washington Post. He documented the recent political history in Hillsborough, including the removal of the words “Confederate monument” from the Orange County Historical Museum in 2015, which led to a protest by those who wanted to protect Confederate culture. Since then, it has not been uncommon to see people with Confederate flags standing in front of the courthouse or walking the streets of downtown.
Strong and Petrow join host Frank Stasio to about the recent civil unrest in Hillsborough from the perspectives of an activist, a journalist and long-time residents who witnessed the events first hand.
Strong on seeing the klan on a local street in Hillsborough:
I was making a routine trip to our local dump, and I came across the klan … And I parked my car … And walked over to the site where they are. And for at least 10 minutes, it was the klan and myself alone in a face-off.
Strong on why she stood up to the klan:
As I'm approaching them I’m thinking: What am I going to say? And am I going to risk my safety? It just felt important for me to stand up — and in particular as a woman of color — to let them know that this is a different time and that we won’t accept this behavior and that as a community we will collectively stand against them.
Petrow on the chapter that rallied in Hillsborough:
This klan group came down from Pelham [in] Caswell County. They were in Charlottesville two years ago. They were part of what happened there where someone was killed. Many were injured. So it's not just people in white robes and pointy hats. This is a dangerous group.
Petrow on response to his Washington Post story on the rally:
People are just astounded that the klan still exists. It’s 2019. We have iPhones. Everything streams. It seems so modern. You see these pictures of the KKK, and it seems like they’re in black and white from another time. And then you’re in your own town and they’re standing in front of the courthouse. And it's jarring. So I think people really had a difficult time putting that together.
Strong on the ongoing clash with the Confederate flag-wavers:
For four weeks now we’ve had this sort of standoff. The week before was 120 people. The week before that it was 80 people in a small town like Hillsborough fighting these flag-wavers … And it got no press. The struggle is how much do we center the klan in this story when the story is really about who we are as a community.