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Raven SantanaSep 4, 2017, 4:15 pm

Hundreds gather in Asbury Park to rally against hate

Gathering was organized after racist and anti-Semitic flyers were posted around city

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Hundreds of people in Asbury Park spent Labor Day — not at a parade or picnic —but at a rally to stand against hate. It was put together after racist and anti-Semitic flyers were found posted around the city.

This afternoon, more than 200 people gathered at a rally at Springwood Park to denounce hate. Dozens of speakers from various backgrounds focused on spreading peace and love.

Asbury Park mayor John Moor says, "The times they are a changing and here in Asbury Park, we say the tirade of hatred will not be tolerated."

Sitting, standing, waving flags and holding up signs — hundreds of people from all walks of life gathered at Springwood Park at a stand against hate rally.

Pastor Semaj Vanzant says, “Even though there may not have been a hate rally here in Asbury Park, the fact that there was one in this country means it happened here and we decided to gather and stand up against it.”

The rally, which was sponsored by more than 50 local, state and national organizations, is in response to ‘Unite the Right’ rally in Charlottesville, Virginia for white supremacists and neo-Nazis.

“We need to show them and teach them a new way of living and a new way of thinking because all of us need to live together and accept each other, it’s a hard message,” says Ophelia Hugley.

The rally comes just a week after racist and anti-Semitic flyers were found along Cookman Avenue here.

Rev. Nicole Harris says, “We've had some hate peek its ugly head here in Asbury and it is not welcome here. It’s important that people know that we are a community that is coming together, committed to unifying ourselves and we do not have room for hate.”

The event included speeches, singing and a promise from local officials that Asbury Park denounces all forms of hate in their community.

All the proceeds from the event will be donated to the Heather Heyer Foundation, a paralegal killed by the white supremacist who rammed his car into a crowd in Charlottesville protesting against white nationalists, neo-Nazis and Ku Klux Klan members.

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