Unity in the Community, which organized Sunday’s event, is a coalition of local human rights and diversity groups that formed in response to a rally planned today by the National Socialist Movement, a neo-Nazi group.
“It seemed like a wonderful response to tomorrow’s rally, instead of meeting the hatred of the rally with more hatred,” said Kirstin Batchelor, associate pastor of United Churches of Olympia.
People wandered in and out of the seven-hour event, which featured speeches in support of diversity by religious leaders and politicians, and a steady crowd of about 100 people were seated on the lawn throughout the day.
“This was a crowd that we were hoping for – a crowd that reflects the diversity that we believe that America supports,” event organizer Anna Schlecht said.
Several people at the celebration said “plainclothes” members of the National Socialist Movement were in attendance, and John Brandt, the Snohomish County unit leader of the National Socialist Movement, confirmed it Sunday.
“We wanted to know the general temperament of the crowd,” he said. “We want to tailor our message to their temperament and their concerns.”
Read Diversity activists show united front ~ Neo-Nazis plan demonstration today by Venice Buhain ~ The Olympian ~ July 03, 2006