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Anti-Racism Rally Draws Crowds to Pier

Aug 13, 2017 06:12PM ● By Jeanne Fratello
With signs proclaiming "Hate Has No Home Here," a group of more than 100 marchers converged on the Manhattan Beach Pier for a "Stand In Solidarity with Charlottesville" rally on Sunday morning.

The marchers, organized by Indivisible South Bay and other local activist organizations including Solidarity Sundays and South Bay Cares, mobilized to show support for those in Charlottesville who stand against white supremacy, and to stand up against hate in all communities.

The rally came together quickly in response to Saturday's events in Charlottesville, where three people were killed and others injured in the wake of a KKK/white supremacist march.

"We wanted people in our community who were outraged about this to feel that they're not alone," said Michele Reniche of Manhattan Beach, one of the event's organizers. "It just kind of mushroomed."

The crowd of both young and old, included a sizable number from Manhattan Beach and the Beach Cities, as well as several visitors from out of state.

During the loosely organized program, organizers invited anyone in the audience who was willing to come up to speak about his or her experiences. Those who spoke included a local African-American woman married to a white man, a young Jewish woman from Texas, and a woman whose Filipino grandfather fought for the U.S. in World War II.

"It was seeing what happened yesterday, and then seeing the response of our president that made me want to speak out," said Adam Gerard of Manhattan Beach, who also spoke at the rally. "Those three words of Trump's - 'on many sides' - were three of the most disgraceful words to come out of the White House."

Amy Howorth, who served as an informal emcee for the event, said afterwards that she was proud that it was an inclusive event. "What I think is the takeaway is that so many people from different kinds of places, at different stages of their life, with different comfort levels in speaking publicly, all wanted to share their story. Usually if you go those things you don’t get to volunteer to speak. I felt that [today] people felt safe to say what they wanted to say."

Howorth, who is a member of the Manhattan Beach City Council and is Mayor Pro Tem, added that she believes the issue goes beyond politics.
"I think this is a nonpartisan issue. This is 'We’re not going to accept racism or anti-Semitism,'" she said. "I do think that as an elected person I really have an obligation to denounce this – it’s not a political issue."

Following remarks, the group then marched to the end of the pier and back, chanting and displaying their signs.

Howorth noted that as the marchers passed by a group of fisherman on the pier, one of them called out to the marchers, "Thank you for being good people."

Following the rally, Reniche and fellow organizer Pat Yates, also of Manhattan Beach, displayed a "welcome blanket," which is part of an ongoing national project that many local "craftivists" have embraced. The completed blankets from around the country will be put on display at the Smart Museum of Art in Chicago through December 17, and then will be distributed this winter as a welcome to newly arriving immigrant families.

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