Mike Meno, spokesperson for the North Carolina American Civil Liberties Union, released a statement condemning the KKK’s views as well. The statement expressed concern about the rise in reports of harassment and discrimination across the country.
“While free speech and peaceful assembly, no matter how ugly and hateful, are protected for all by the U.S. Constitution, harassment, violence and threats are not,” the statement said.
State Rep. Verla Insko, D-Orange, said the group has the right to gather peacefully.
“The problem is that all of these activities seem to validate racism, and I think that’s really problematic,” she said.
Rev. Robert Campbell, president of the Chapel Hill-Carrboro branch of the North Carolina National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, said he did not think the founding fathers intended for free speech and the First Amendment to be used in this manner.
“You cannot use your speech to threaten someone, or to advocate for someone to be threatened, or to bring violence or promote violence to someone,” he said.
Rob Schofield, director of research at NC Policy Watch, said there is an undercurrent of hateful groups in the country who see the election of the president as validation of their views.
“The idea that the Klan, or some group that purports to call itself the Klan, would feel emboldened and licensed to speak in public in 2016 is frightening,” he said.
Schofield said the environment after the election has contributed to announcements such as these.
“One would hope that this is a rag tag band, a handful of knuckleheads, that will be met with laughter and derision, but the environment in the aftermath of the election causes one to wonder about that,” he said.
Bob Hall, executive director of Democracy North Carolina, said he is not surprised the rally is held in the state.
“It’s not so much that this one activity will poison the state as much as the overall campaign that Trump led gave rise to this occasion, and, unfortunately, will give rise to others,” he said.
Insko said incidents such as the upcoming KKK rally will continue to negatively impact the economy of North Carolina.
“It adds to our currently, recently tarnished reputation as a state that’s filled with bigotry and hate,” she said.