Kindness Rally held in Knoxville in response to demonstrations at Confederate monument

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KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) – A Confederate memorial in the Fort Sanders neighborhood was at the center of a rally Saturday. While demonstrators were protesting there, three other community groups gathered at Krutch Park for a Kindness Rally.

The event was intended to give people an outlet to express themselves in a positive way, with a mission to spread love.

Liza Zenni, the executive director of Arts and Culture Alliance of Greater Knoxville said the groups planned to “stand together with other Knoxvillians who are committing themselves to kindness and equity.”Previous story: Demonstrators rally behind Confederate Ft. Sanders statue; counter protests planned

The Arts and Culture Alliance of Greater Knoxville, Alliance for Better Nonprofits and the Compassion Coalition, sponsored the Kindness Rally.

“You can’t have love and hate at the same place,” said Deborah Spencer with Overcoming Believers Church. “All over the country we’re seeing more and more hatred type activities and we just don’t want that in our community. We’re not about that.”

Zenni is one of the organizers of the Kindness Rally. After the violence in Charlottesville, Virginia, she wanted to have a nonviolent gathering of citizens.

“We really want to be able to provide a safe place for those of us who really feel a responsibility to stand up and say I’m against hate, I’m against racism. I’m against anybody being treated unfairly,” said Zenni.

Krutch Park was chosen as a specific location for the rally to stay away from demonstrators in the Fort Sanders neighborhood.

“We want to respect their right to speak freely without getting into a confrontation with them,” said Zenni.

Organizers of the Kindness Rally are hoping the community sees that diversity and equality are welcomed in Knoxville.

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