Groups plan non-violent counter-protests in Middle Tennessee

Local News

MURFREESBORO, Tenn. (WKRN) – Two rallies are set to happen on Oct. 28 in Middle Tennessee, the first in Shelbyville and the other on the square in downtown Murfreesboro.

While no one knows what to expect, groups are planning their own counter-protest to push back against these “White Lives Matter” movements.

“We can’t control the folks that decide to do that but we can control our own behavior,” said Keith Caldwell, a pastor at a Murfreesboro church.

Inside this church, a message of love will prevail over what some call a hate rally on the horizon is spreading.

“I want to love people even if they don’t love me,” one attendee told News 2.

Sonya McCllough is learning the best way to spread her love to those participating in the white nationalist rally in Murfreesboro.

“It is disturbing and sad that we are having this conservation in 2017 in the heart of Tennessee,” said McCllough.

Key Memorial United Methodist Church Pastor Keith Caldwell hopes those standing up to the other side will remain peaceful.

“There may be some violence but I don’t think it will be coming from counter protesters,” said Caldwell.

He said the counter-protestors can take something out of the history books from non-violent rallies during the Civil Rights Movement.

“We will use our very bodies as a means of resistance,” Caldwell said.

During a workshop on Saturday, Caldwell laid out the six steps to having their message heard while staying calm.

“Always look them in the faces because this looks like a ball. People can kick you in the head with less remorse than if you are looking at them,” Caldwell demonstrated.

  1. Nonviolence is not passive but requires courage.
  2. Nonviolence seeks reconciliation, not defeat of an adversary.
  3. Nonviolent action is directed at eliminating evil, not destroying an evil-doer.
  4. A willingness to accept suffering for the cause, if necessary, but never to inflict it.
  5. A rejection of hatred, animosity or violence of the spirit, as well as refusal to commit physical violence.
  6. Faith that justice will prevail.

The biggest mystery and possibly concern is not knowing exactly what to expect.

“This could be Charlottesville 2.0. We have no idea,” Caldwell warned.

Still, this group will send the message that love will always beat hate.

Murfreesboro Loves plans to meet October 28 at 11 a.m. at Barfield Park in Murfreesboro and a separate rally will be held at 4 p.m. with speakers and music.

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