Tracker Pixel for Entry

Rally against hate takes place of pro-white rally

by C.S. Hagen | .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) | News | October 14th, 2017

James Bergman sings a song he wrote during the rally - photo by C.S. HagenMOORHEAD – The original day set for a white supremacist rally came and went without so much as a whimper from local hate groups.

Multiple protests originally planned as counter rallies merged into one rally, which took place instead on the same day, Saturday, attracting more than 150 people celebrating diversity, called Standing for Humanity.

As in August’s North Dakota United Against Hate rally, chilly rains dampened the atmosphere, and the rally was moved from W. H. Davy Memorial Park to the First Congregational United Church of Christ. The rally came less than a week after the cities of Fargo and Moorhead passed resolutions to become hate-free communities.

“There was an actual counter-protest set up by a different group,” event organizer Rebel Marie, said. “We were a group of marginalized people, people of color, and community members of the Fargo-Moorhead area that wanted to create a safe place for us to have a voice in this conversation without violent confrontation.”

Native Americans, atheists, humanists, Wiccan, Hindu, Muslim, Christian, those fighting for women’s rights, and a handful of white supremacists attended. Preferring to be called pro-white activists, they stood quietly to the side and watched. Two officers from the Moorhead Police Department stayed for the entire rally.

Ruth Buffalo, a Fargoan and member of the Mandan Hidatsa Arikara Nation, was one of the first people to speak, and she emphasized that love is stronger than hate, and always will be.

“The only thing that can beat fear-based white nationalism is love,” Buffalo said. “Sooner or later all the people in the world will have to find a way to live in peace.”

For Pastor Grace Murray of the newly formed People’s United Church of Christ, the rally was an opportunity to begin to learn how to live with each other. She pointed to the Beatitudes, saying the word of the divine was present.

Willard Yellowbird, a member of the Fort Berthold Reservation and City of Fargo Native American Commission member, smudged the entire room with sage, calling everyone gathered a brother and sister in spirit.

“If we start believing in our spiritual energy, then our spirit will start dictating our body,” Yellowbird said.

Local Wiccan High Priest, Omni Rogers Mueller, said her followers like to be present in the moment.

“We are all strangers, but we’ve come together – touch hands,” Mueller said. “We’re human beings and we live and we love and we laugh and we cry, and we do it together.”

Founder of the Center for Interfaith Projects David Myers, who is Jewish, also spoke. “May there be peace between all peoples. We must recognize that all people are of equal worth, and that the idea that some peoples or cultures are inferior is an abomination.”

Adam Heckathorn is an atheist, and 99.8 percent white, he said, which leaves 0.2 percent Native American, but it’s not his blood that matters. America was founded on the principle of freedom of religion, even though here, in North Dakota, religions, such as Catholicism, have historically been persecuted by racist organizations such as the Ku Klux Klan, who once proved a tangible threat in state politics.

“The best way to ensure our rights is to ensure the rights of all,” Heckathorn said. “The question of who really is an American, that has nothing to do with how I look. You can be a great American and not even be born here. A true American is one who believes in American principles.”

“If we don’t come together and if we don’t support each other, then how can we integrate?” Hukun Abdullahi, executive director of the Afro American Development Association, said. He is a Muslim, and recently has been taking the leadership role for New Americans struggling against hate crimes in Fargo and Moorhead.

“This is a land of hope, but also a land of many challenges,” Abdullahi said.

Women’s rights advocate, Olivia “Liv” Oland, took to the pulpit saying she was white, straight, and privileged, and those who fall into that category need to begin using their social and political power to help new Americans.

“It’s 2017, and I tell you I am sick and tired of being talked down to… by white, older men,” Oland said. “I should not have to list 28 reasons for women to be able to use birth control.”

A Muslim woman, Hamida Abid Omar, asked those in attendance what Fargo and Moorhead are going to do about inclusiveness.

“Today, somewhere in our nation, and at this moment, someone is in pain because of hate,” Omar said. “No one is born to hate; instead we choose to hate. We can also choose to love.”

Peace and inclusiveness do not have price tags, Omar said. “How do we find peace in our community? We need to break the barriers.”

More people who stand against hate need to run for government office, Omar said, from school boards to Congress.

“Leadership’s bank of justice is bankrupt,” said Ezzat Khudhur Alhaidar, a Yazidi from Iraq. He describes himself as an immigrant with an American soul, and once worked as a translator for the U.S. Army in Iraq. He has seen the face of hate at its worst with the rise of ISIS in his home country. For three years, Hayden has lived in Fargo, and he stressed that some people in new American leadership roles need to be changed.

“There are leaders who collaborate for positive change, and leaders who want to control their followers, use their followers to achieve selfish goals and doom us all to failure,” Alhaidar said. “As humans, we are social, and we like to tell stories and listen to stories. Diversity has to be seen as a richness. Let’s teach our children the value of coming together. The future of our kids is affected by our daily leadership.”

Event organizer, Marie, said the hate crime legislation is important in North Dakota.

“Human beings are deserving of dignity and robbing people of this dignity is disrespectful and should be illegal,” Marie said.

“The importance of an event like this is to show that just because a person is a non-Christian, or a transgender person, or a person of color, they're still a human being,” Marie said.

“It felt good to see neighbors come together in a non-confrontational way. There were a lot of faces I've never seen before an event like this.” 

Recently in:

AMHERST, SOUTH DAKOTA – Four days before TransCanada anticipated obtaining permits for the Keystone XL project, the company’s older pipeline leaked, spilling more than 210,000 gallons of Canadian crude oil into the South Dakota…

The Transgender Day of Remembrance memorializes the trans individuals who have lost their lives due to violence this year. It is a day where we read their names and remember them—not how they died, but how they lived. This is also…

Thursday, November 16, 7-9pmUnglued, 408 Broadway N, FargoProof Artisan Distillers and Unglued present a craft party with four distinct projects and help from artists Ashley from AENDEE and Nicole Rae, not to mention a special…

“The experience of all ages has proved that the people constantly give away their liberties.” - John Adams“Man’s dishonesty with himself is his greatest enemy. When he makes a mistake, his memory admits, ‘I have done…

The thoughts and prayers of politicians will finally be answeredWe have had 307 mass shootings (four kills or more) so far in 2017, including the last one in Sutherland Springs, Texas, where 26 mortals attending church, aged 18…

For the third week in a row, our panel of judges were out on the town with a thirst for cocktails and a focus on presentation, flavor, and creativity. This week’s adventures took us to a couple of hotspots in south Fargo, as the…

Colder weather, changing leaves, pumpkin spice and more are some of the few things that come to mind when many think of fall. But fall is about much more than sugary lattes and scarves, and you can fully indulge in fall flavors at…

I’m told that there is nothing quite like a live Green Jelly show, where anarchy and foam puppets reign. So perhaps it’s in the spirit of the upcoming show that my intended interview with the mastermind and vocalist behind the…

On Tuesday, November 14 at 7pm, the Fargo Theatre hosted a screening of “The Mission of Herman Stern,” a feature-length documentary chronicling the remarkable humanitarian efforts of the North Dakota businessman and founder, in…

Would you like to escape your stressful daily life with a relaxing arts event? Do you like to meet with old friends and make new ones? Or maybe you would like to start your Christmas and Holiday shopping early. FMVA has the event…

Ted Larson introduced me to Chris Jacobs one evening at Weld Hall in the late 1980s. I was in high school then, but Chris recognized fellow film fanatics, and we would chat a little bit each week. I learned quickly that he loved…


​Talking to strangers

by Sabrina Hornung

“I don’t have a tour, like, on the back of a sweatshirt,” comedian Paula Poundstone says. “I go out every weekend. This weekend I went out Friday, Saturday and Monday. Mostly it’s Friday/Saturday or Thursday through…

Believe it or not, “The Holidays” are upon us. If you’ve been to Target lately, and I know you have, you may have noticed that the Christmahanakwanzika stuff is already up (if you’re unsure of that term, Google it).In fact,…

Essential oils. They are all the buzz lately. It seems everyone has heard of them or is purchasing them. Some people know how to use them; others are just interested in the wonder of their complex scents.Essential oils are as…

Live and Learn

​The other shoe

by HPR Contributor

By Elizabeth Nawrotnawrot@mnstate.eduI look up from my hotel lobby breakfast astonished to see a framed print of Wassily Kandinsky's "Mit und Gegen,” a masterpiece of color and composition that just happens to be my favorite…

By Anthony Paul [Editor’s note: This piece contains language that some readers may find offensive]It has been all over social media and the news lately, how our president and commander-in-chief called and spoke with one of these…