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DeAndra Beard had a diversity club going strong at Kokomo High School when she was a student so when the Ku Klux Klan came to Kokomo her sophomore year, students were already in place.
Did you know?
The KKK demonstrated in Kokomo in July 1996. It was that diversity group of Kokomo High School kids that became the foot soldiers for the counter rally along with church and civic leaders. The counter rally was held in Studebaker Park, the same day as the KKK demonstration.
“We worked with the City of Kokomo and booked the Showmobile Stage, reserved Studebaker Park and we planned the programming,” said Beard. "We canvassed neighborhoods with petitions from the Kokomo Tribune and hung posters."
STOP THE HATE
A MESSAGE OF TOLERANCE
“I believe that the main strength of our country and our community is our desire to treat people fairly and equally with no regard to the characteristics that make each of us unique. The KKK message of hate does not represent the feelings of tolerance and understanding that predominate in the Kokomo area."
Petitions were signed and mailed to the Kokomo Tribune and the counter rally became a unity celebration, more people attended the counter rally than the KKK demonstration.
Watch the video right here.
DeAndra was working on a diversity series for Indiana University Kokomo last month when she found the video and viewed it for the first time. Her own little sister Candace from Big Brothers/Big Sisters was one of the young girls interviewed and has a powerful message.