FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE, January 5, 2017
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Love Lives Here learned that a white supremacist group has threatened to march in Whitefish on January 16 from 4:00pm – 7:00pm, but as of this release, no paperwork has been filed with the City of Whitefish.
There is still doubt that the march will actually happen, but this is the best information that we have at the moment.
We understand that many people may want to organize a counter protest while others will want to stay as far away from the march as possible. We cannot compel people to take or refrain from any action, but let us be perfectly clear on one issue.
Love Lives Here does not support direct engagement with the white supremacists.
While we respect the marchers’ First Amendment rights, we know that their only purpose in coming to town is to provoke citizens and gain attention for their agenda. The safety of our community members and visitors is paramount.
Since direct interaction with the white supremacists is likely to escalate, we ask that those observing the march practice peace, not confrontation.
For those who want to avoid the march, we are organizing a community-centered, family-friendly event during that time. See information below for details.
In the meantime, here are our recommendations for creating a place where Love Lives Here on January 16 and beyond:
— Make a pledge for every minute of the white supremacists’ march at mhrn.org/pledgeagainsthate. If we raise enough pledges, this may deter the march. However, if the march actually happens, the marchers will be informed by signs and social media that for every minute they march, funds will be donated to the Montana Human Rights Network to support diversity in Montana.
— Attend the Love Not Hate winter block party from 10:30am to 12:30pm on Saturday, January 7 next to Depot Park, then shop at local merchants all day. See the Love Not Hate Facebook page for more information.
— Attend the Martin Luther King Day Celebrations on January 16!
- March or no march, come join us for the MLK Community Pre-Party from 4:00pm – 7:00pm in the Whitefish Middle School Cafeteria. Hot cocoa, soup, and popcorn will be served, and we’ll have a family-friendly movie for the kids! See the MHRN Facebook Event page for more information.
- At 7:30, head over to the Whitefish Performing Arts Center for the main event — “Dear Mr. President: These are our Dreams for the Future.” This celebration of the life of Martin Luther King Jr. will feature local performers and a special appearance by actor John Lithgow. See the Love Lives Here Facebook page for more information.
— Throw yourself a party! Host a get-together with friends and neighbors to celebrate the connections that thrive in Whitefish.
— Enjoy the day skiing on Big Mountain or snowshoeing in Glacier National Park.
Thank you for all of the support that you have given Love Lives Here and the people in our community during this ordeal. You have responded so beautifully with love and generosity.
Today and every day, we hope you enjoy the freedom we have in Whitefish and take action that reminds everyone that there’s no place for hate in our community or our state.
For more information, please contact Love Lives Here at firstname.lastname@example.org or Montana Human Rights Network at email@example.com. Love Lives Here in the Flathead Valley is an independent affiliate of the Montana Human Rights Network.