Local reaction to hate calls for peaceful response

Five known "hate groups" are here on the First Coast.

JACKSONVILLE, Fla.  - The conflicts in Charlottesville, Virginia have a connection to Jacksonville. According to the Southern Poverty Law Center, there are five hate groups in the area and some of its members were at the protests.

"Hatred has once again raised its ugly head," said Rabbi Shmuli Novack.

Rabbi Novack has heard the Racists and  Anti-Semitic rhetoric.

"This is unfortunately not something new to the Jewish community, but when it raise its head it is shocking and painful," he said. "There is no place for hatred."

Sandra Parks also finds what she sees as disturbing. Parks is the widow of Stetson Kennedy, a man who infiltrated the Ku Klux Klan in the '40s.

"I can't help but wonder what Stetson would have made of it," she said.

Stetson died in 2011, but she said he predicted this day would come.

"He had so predicted this resurgence of white supremacy violence and people did not take him seriously," she said.

A hand written letter from Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. applauded Kennedy for his contribution to the struggle for racial justice.

"If Stetson was here today, he would say we should be not only investigating these hate groups but whether they're members of these Para-Military groups," Parks said.

Parks said what we are seeing is the seeds of hate sewn decades ago.

"[Stetson] was really more concerned about the rise in the militias than in the Klan membership," Parks said.

Parks, who has served in government and in the Civil Rights Movement,said if you are troubled by the recent events you have to speak up, and be peaceable in your actions.

"Hate attitudes are not commonly held," she said. "Many don't like it."  

Rabbi Novack serves a number of college students from the University of North Florida campus. He said with the resurgence of hate, he is telling everyone to turn on their light.

"What I am encouraging our congregants and students to do his increase in light," Novack said.

He said his faith teaches him that if enough people would show more love and compassion, it will drive away the darkness of evil.

"One kind act, one kind word, one kind thought can have reverberating effects around the world, and we all have that power," he said.

 

© 2017 WTLV-TV


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