SOUTHINGTON -- Southington residents and religious leaders held a 'Love Rally' on the town green on Saturday to combat racist 'White Power' flyers found on cars at the Southington YMCA earlier in the week.
"We are united in love and our community will not be divided by hatred," said Pastor Joshua Rinas of the First Lutheran Church. "We knew that we had to take a decisive stand in solidarity with our community members,"said Rinas.
Residents, some wearing red and white for love and peace, gathered to send a message of love and acceptance to counter the hatred spewed in the flyers. Pastor Rinas said the statement of solidarity takes a stand against racism, prejudice and hatred. "Having this happen right down the street just in town is a scary thing," said Rinas.
The event was organized, in part, by Southington resident Kelly Stuper. "I was super disturbed," said Stuper. "I was embarrassed for my community because I know that's not what the majority of us stand for," said Stuper.
Stuper said she wanted to show what the people of Southington truly believe in. "We really don't want to bring attention to the flyers, but we do want to bring attention to the community, where our grassroots really stand for love, respect, community, caring for one another," said Stuper.
Darshan Singh Bajwa with the Connecticut Sikh Association said the 'Love Rally' emphasizes everyone's universal common thread. "Irrespective of how we look, how we are, where we are born...we are all Americans," said Bajwa. "And not only Americans, but we should love everyone in the world."