Counter-Events Planned for Dayton KKK Rally Tomorrow

A number of organizations will hold alternative events and protests against a small group of white nationalists based in Madison, Indiana granted a permit to rally in downtown Dayton May 25

May 24, 2019 at 11:45 am
Dayton's Courthouse Square - Derek Jensen
Derek Jensen
Dayton's Courthouse Square

Several anti-racism groups have planned events in response to a rally by a group affiliated with the Ku Klux Klan scheduled in downtown Dayton tomorrow.

The city has been bracing for the event for months.

The Honorable Sacred Knights of Indiana identifies as a Christian organization. But its members espouse white nationalist ideologies and the Knights are considered a Klan-affiliated hate organization. 

The group says it has about 25 members and is based in Madison, Indiana, a small city along the Ohio River about 70 miles from Cincinnati. 

In Youtube videos under the group's name, members say they advocate for legal segregation of white and non-white people. Other videos feature members lighting crosses on fire. Some photos in past videos show members with assault rifles. 

The Knights first applied to hold a rally earlier this year, but Montgomery County officials denied their permit request because the group used false names on its application. The group filled out another form and, in February, the county issued a permit for the event under the name Robert Morgan, a purported member with a Madison, Ind. post office box.

County officials condemned the group's message, but said they had no choice but to issue the permit on First Amendment grounds.

The City of Dayton subsequently filed a lawsuit seeking to block the event, citing indications on the group's permit that they would be armed and saying the Knights would act in a paramilitary manner not protected by the constitution.

“I will do everything I can to make it difficult for a group outside our community to come into our community and spread hate," Dayton Mayor Nan Whaley said at a press conference when the city filed its lawsuit in March.

Despite the lawsuit, the event is moving forward and will take place from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. tomorrow at Dayton's Courthouse Square. 

A settlement between the city and the group stipulates that only those listed on the permit can be at the event site and that those with permits may carry handguns but not long guns. The group will be allowed to wear masks, though members say they will wear sunglasses and bandanas. 

The members of the Klan-affiliated group will be behind barriers and likely heavy police presence. City and county officials have encouraged others to stay away from downtown Dayton. At least one application for a permit to hold a counter-protest two blocks from the site was denied. 

But a number of groups are planning alternative events nearby.

The Dayton NAACP will hold a block party-style event at McIntosh Park, about a mile from where the Knights have received a permit to hold their rally. That event is meant to be a celebration of diversity, organizers say, and will feature music, spoken word performances and a cookout. 

The Better Dayton Coalition, a collaborative set up in the wake of the Knight's plans to rally, will hold a counter-protest on North Main Street close to the Klan event. The coalition, made up of a number of civil rights and activist groups, has been planning the counter-protest since February. 

Representatives from anti-fascist and black liberation groups are also expected to hold counter protests near Courthouse Square.

The Knights held a prior public event last September when about 20 members gathered at a park in Madison for a rally. Heavy police presence and barricades kept the group separate from more than 300 protesters who showed up to condemn the Knights' message.

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