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Anti-Racism Group Planning Protest At Former Confederate Monument Site Promises Non-Violence

Showing Up For Racial Justice, Greater Dayton Chapter‎.

Organizers with a group that planned to protest a Confederate monument in the city of Franklin, in Warren County, say they'll move Saturday's rally to Centerville in light of the monument's subsequent removal by Franklin city officials.

Organizers say they received threats from white supremacist groups after they announced plans to protest the monument -- even after the monument was taken down.

An activist from the Greater Dayton Chapter of Showing up for Racial Justice, also known as SURJ, told WYSO details of the protest, dubbed the "Stand Against White Supremacy in Solidarity with Charlottesville," were shared on white supremacist websites.

Organizer Ri Molnar says she and other SURJ members are weighing whether to go ahead with Saturday’s protest despite the alleged threats of violence against the group.

If the protest takes place, Molnar says the event will be non-violent.

“There is no intention of violence from the part of SURJ or any of our members," she says. "The plan has been to go peacefully, to practice de-escalation techniques prior, to go in with curiosity, not to even push conflict, but just to engage conversation.”

Nonetheless, a post on the SURJ Facebook page cautions would-be rallygoers to be prepared for potential violence perpetrated by others who may come to the rally.

"We are engaging [in] this action knowing that risk is involved in that Franklin, Ohio is over 95 percent white and rural and there are specific trends that follow that demographic information," the post reads.

Soon after Franklin city officials removed the stone monument honoring Confederate Army General Robert E. Lee, an anonymous, hand-written sign featuring a confederate flag symbol appeared in its place.  

The Journal-News reports the makeshift sign was later taken and removed by a man passing by in a vehicle. 

Jess Mador comes to WYSO from Knoxville NPR-station WUOT, where she created an interactive multimedia health storytelling project called TruckBeat, one of 15 projects around the country participating in AIR's Localore: #Finding America initiative. Before TruckBeat, Jess was an independent public radio journalist based in Minneapolis. She’s also worked as a staff reporter and producer at Minnesota Public Radio in the Twin Cities, and produced audio, video and web stories for a variety of other news outlets, including NPR News, APM, and PBS television stations. She has a Master's degree from the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism in New York. She loves making documentaries and telling stories at the intersection of journalism, digital and social media.