ZINC, Ark. (KY3) – A group of Black Lives Matter protesters took a trip to a small town in Arkansas on Sunday to protest the KKK, racism and hatred.
The group took to the streets of Zinc, Ark., which is the home of KKK director and Grandwizard Tom Robb.
Protesters described the town as “the heartbeat of racism.” While protesters gathered on one side of a long dirt road through the town, some locals counter-protesting gathered on the far end. Both groups were separated by the local sheriff’s deputies.
Several of the BLM protesters came from out of the area, including Missourians from Branson and Springfield.
Springfield protester Sonny Cropper said the drive was worth it.
“We came here open for dialogue,” Cropper said. “You know we want to be able to have conversations with people. And we want to show people that this movement can come to a place like this and keep it peaceful the whole time.”
He said the protest was the first of its kind, making a large leap forward for the movement.
“This is the first time I have heard of an anti-racism protest come directly into ‘the belly of the beats.’ I mean we’re not very far from where the national director of the KKK does his business,” Cropper said.
He said the group had one major goal for the protest.
“I think the main thing is to show them that even out here, in your little neck of the woods, where you do not think you have to see the people that you hate, we know that hatred is here and we still do not tolerate it,” Cropper said.
The protest remained peaceful for a few hours, but people living in the area still felt the visit was unwelcome.
“I think if they want to start trouble, they should do it in their own town,” Zinc resident Kenny Devore said. “We did not ask for it. We didn’t do nothing to them. And I don’t really see what the reason is for them being here.”
Devore said he stayed in the area during the protest to protect his family, who live in a house right across the street from where the protest occurred.
“I got family behind me and up here on the corner,” he said. “I’m just out here to keep it peaceful and protect the family and the citizens.”
One man came from Branson to partake in the protest. He said some of his family members were in the KKK.
“I have a lot of animosity for the klan,” Branson protester Jason Walker said. “Because my grandfather was a Grand Dragon and his son was a part of all this hate. And it is not good.”
Walker said he came to protest the hatred he had learned about growing up.
“I was raised around a lot of hateful, spiteful, racist people,” he said. “And I’m out here to try and put an end to it. My kids do not need to grow up in this, my nieces and nephews do not need to grow up in this. There is no sense for any of this.”
Some people living in the town said they are worried the group will come back in the near future.
“Really people just want it to get done and go away,” Devore said.
He said he does not think there is much racism in the town, but said he thinks now there will be a lot of animosity in the town against the protesters. Devore said the protest would likely not accomplish anything in Zinc
Some protesters said they are eager to come back to the town in a few months.
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