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Nearly 150 people rallied during the Peace Rally held in downtown Asheville Saturday. Some billed the event as a time to stand up for racial equality in the wake of events happening in Ferguson, Mo., but organizers said the rally’s intent was to bring the city together. Alicia Funderburk/Carolina Public Press

ASHEVILLE — About 150 people attended the Peace Rally, held last Saturday at downtown Asheville’s Triangle Park, expecting to take a stand against racism and stand in solidarity with Ferguson, Mo., the site of a the shooting death of 18-year-old Michael Brown by a white police officer.

Some arrived with signs. Others were armed with pens and paper to register community members to vote. They were, instead, greeted with a block party and fish fry.

Just Folks, a community group focusing specifically on food service and free food distribution programs, and local radio show The Midweek Fix hosted the rally, located in Asheville’s historic black business district known as “The Block.”

Herman Bright, DJ for The Midweek Fix, was among the organizers. Bright said that the idea of the Peace Rally was conceived months ago with the hope of creating unity among the entire community of Asheville.

“Asheville has changed, and the community seems to be divided,” Bright said. “We would like to create the atmosphere of an old school style block party.”

Though flyers were passed out in August claiming that the purpose of the Peace Rally was to “take a stand against racism and stand in solidarity with the city of Ferguson and Mike Brown,” this was far from the case. Bright said rally organizers were not responsible for the flyers that were passed out, and they had no intention of having a moment of silence. The Peace Rally, instead, showcased several local community speakers and local talent.

Bubbles Griffin, president of the Asheville community organization Just Folks, speaks to the crowd on Saturday. Alicia Funderburk/Carolina Public Press
Members of Just Folks prepared a fish fry for participants of Saturday’s
Peace Rally, held in downtown Asheville historic black business district known as The Block. Alicia Funderburk/Carolina Public Press
Herman Bright, a DJ with Midweek Fix, is one of the organizers of the event. “Asheville has changed, and the community seems to be divided,” Bright says. “We would like to create the atmosphere of an old school style block party.” Alicia Funderburk/Carolina Public Press
Some participants to register people to vote. Alicia Funderburk/Carolina Public Press

Alicia Funderburk

Alicia Funderburk is a contributing photojournalist to Carolina Public Press. Reach her at alicia@aliciafunderburk.com.

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