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Hundreds Attend Davenport 'No Hate' Rally

Hundreds of people showed up for a 'No Hate' rally in Davenport's Vander Veer Park Wednesday afternoon. 

The rally was organized even before the events in Charlottesville over the weekend.

Flyers from the Neo-Nazi group the National Alliance have been found in Davenport recently — on the dashboards of cars in the Menards parking lot, and near the Mississippi Valley fairgrounds. One flyer reads, 'no multi-racial society is a healthy society.'

Credit Lacy Scarmana / WVIK
"Pace" is Italian for peace.

In response, the group One Human Family QCA organized the 'No Hate' rally to show racism and bigotry aren't welcome in the community. Viminda Shafer is a member of the organization's executive committee, and she estimates more than 500 people attended the rally.

"The number of people that came out today is a testament to what the Quad Cities is," Shafer says. "Excuse me as I cry because it's just so exciting. It's so beautiful."

Wanda Smith is an African American woman living in Moline. She says the racist messages weren't surprising.

"I'm actually more shocked with the Quad Cities rallying the way they are, saying, 'we don't tolerate it.'"

Smith and her friend Linda, also from Moline, can't remember the community protesting racism when they were growing up during the 1960s and 70s, but they were encouraged by the predominately white crowd at the rally standing up against hatred.

"This is a bit of an improvement, yes it is, it's a huge improvement," Smith says. Then Linda added, "We grew up together. We grew up with a lot of prejudice. We witnessed Martin Luther King dying. And this hate resurfacing again like this scares a lot of us."