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Vandalism spurs Rally Against Racism

October 13, 2012
By HANS MADSEN, , Messenger News

On Aug. 23, an act of racist vandalism left a Fort Dodge family with a camper covered with racial slurs and swastika.

Charles Clayton, who founded Athletics for Education and Success, decided to do something about it.

He organized the Rally Against Racism, sponsored by AFES, at its building at 712 Third St. N.W.

Article Photos

-Messenger photo by Hans Madsen
Eddie Moore, Jr. of Brooklyn, N.Y. speaks Saturday afternoon at the Rally Against Racism at the Athletics For Education and Success. About 75 people attended the event which was organized in response to an incident of racial vandalism against a Fort Dodge family on Aug. 23.

Eddie Moore Jr. of America and Moore, Brooklyn, N.Y., one of the guest speakers, began with a question.

"Why would you buy a 1 year-old an iPad?" he said.

The answer: "You want to have them prepared," he said.

He said that since those youths are the future leaders, they need the tools that will help them - and that includes the tools they need to combat racism.

He urged everyone to, "give them the skills to deal with that situation."

"The kids are watching what you're doing," he said, encouraging the adults to practice diversity in their own lives and set a positive example.

Clayton helped drive home his message.

"If you can't get along with everyone, you're not going to make it. The person you hurt is yourself," he said.

Clayton related to the audience how he had to work to overcome racist attitudes and prejudice when he began organizing AFES.

He did it one person at a time.

"If I win over one," he said. "It's better than losing all 10."

Rep. Helen Miller, D-Fort Dodge, attended the rally.

She said she's experienced very little racism and has had few negative reactions.

"I go knocking on doors," she said. "Most of those who answer don't look anything like me."

As to those who might harbor a racist attitude.

"It's their issue," she said.

Chris Crooks-Rocha, who grew up in Fort Dodge, also attended. She said she's experienced racism.

"Going up against racism is hard as an adult," she said. "As a child, as I look back, it was there."

How do you stop it ?

"It takes the whole community to stamp out racism," she said.

She said the community has a lot of progress to make but that events like the Rally are good start.

About 75 people attended, according to Charles Clayton. He would like to see it become an annual event and more support from the community.

But, eventually, he would like to see the need for it disappear.

"We could turn it into a love rally because we don't need it," he said.



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