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South Buffalo residents counter-protest rally

Posted at 11:27 PM, Jul 30, 2016
and last updated 2016-08-01 05:31:33-04

The community gathered together Saturday afternoon to show the true meaning of the City of Good Neighbors, as they fought for peace against a "White Lives Matter" rally.

"I was really scared to come out," said 27-year-old educator at University at Buffalo, Chloe Higginbotham. "I'm Jewish American and was worried to be in this space, but then thought it's every white persons responsibility to try to confront and dismantle white supremacy in this country right now."

The rally was organized by the National Socialist Movement, a neo-Nazi group based in Detroit, Michigan. As they tried recruiting new members to their group, they were faced with over 300 counter-protesters.

"There are a lot of people here who are very, very angry and wanting peace in this community," said Higginbotham.

Lou DeJesus, organizer of the Buffalo Anti-Racism Coalition, was also present.

"Very small pockets of folks wearing the lightning bolts and Nazi gear groups of say three or four showed up," said DeJesus. "Folks sort of circled them with their bodies and said, 'Go home, no Nazis here. We don't want you here go home.' So one by one, the little groups left."

The moment was captured on Facebook by Eric Dacey:

Protesters were not surprised to hear about the rally, as they reflect on Buffalo's history of racism.

"Buffalo has a lot of faults," said DeJesus. "It's very segregated."

"As much as I'm happy to remember the history, great history of activism in Buffalo, it makes it hard to know that we have not come so far," said Higginbotham.

However, Saturday proved that the City of Good Neighbors can come together to fight for peace.

"As a recruitment event for the National Socialist Party, otherwise known as the Nazis, it was a failure for them," said DeJesus.