Turning hate into hope at a picnic in Rapid City - KOTA Territory News

Turning hate into hope at a picnic in Rapid City

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Instead of it becoming a symbol of hate, they want to make a bench, once defaced with a racial slur, a symbol of hope.

"Somebody tried turning this bench into a symbol of hate. We want to turn that 180 degrees and make this a symbol of how open our community is," said Stewart Huntington, organizer of the “Take a Stand Against Racism” picnic at Canyon Lake Park In Rapid City on Saturday.

He said what started as a call to action on Facebook, took off from there.

"All I did was mention this as something we shouldn't let go by in silence," Huntington said. "Then I stepped back and let this town speak."

People who attended the picnic said in order to move forward as a community against racism, we need learn more about each other.

Stanley Kinnard was the first African American firefighter in Rapid City. He said people need to educate themselves about other people and cultures.

"When you get to know someone one–on–one, it can take the edge off some of the racism and attitude," Kinnard said.

Huntington says while there is no simple solution for racism, we have to start the conversation today.

"We have to start today to see that our children, and our grandchildren, and our great grand children grow up in a better environment," Huntington said.

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