Gerald Rose, founder of a human rights organization in Atlanta and son of former Toledo civil rights activist the Rev. Floyd Rose, said he will bring members of his organization to Toledo to attend the Dec. 10 neo-Nazi rally.
Violence and rioting broke out in a North Toledo neighborhood Oct. 15 after a similar neo-Nazi rally and march were canceled, sparking national headlines.
Mr. Rose said he would like the opposite to happen this time around.
"This is my hometown, and I hated to see that happen," Mr. Rose said during a telephone interview from Atlanta.
"I know I can't change all the problems, but I want to talk to the people and let them know their voices are heard. We don't want [rioting] to happen again."
Mr. Rose is founder and president of New Order, a nonprofit human rights group. His organization was honored in October by the Cobb County branch NAACP during its Freedom Fund dinner for its work in the community there.
He said he expects 12 members of his organization to travel from Atlanta to Toledo. He said they will attend the neo-Nazi rally, set to take place in front of the Government Center between 2 p.m. and 4 p.m.
Mr. Rose stressed his members will act as peacemakers and not counterdemonstrators.
He said New Order members will go through the crowd to provide an alternative message of that displayed by the National Socialist Movement, which is organizing the rally.
However, Toledo police Chief Michael Navarre said New Order's presence may have the opposite effect, and he would rather Mr. Rose and his members stay away from the rally.
Mansour Bey, associate pastor at First Church of God, said he also hopes Mr. Rose reconsiders his decision. Mr. Bey, who helped organize a Nov. 12 prayer march through the riot-struck North Toledo neighborhood, said Mr. Rose's efforts may only lead to giving the neo-Nazis more exposure.
Mr. Bey said Dec. 10 is International Human Rights Day, and he will direct people to a previously scheduled event sponsored by the Human Values for Transformative Action at the Collingwood Arts Center, 2413 Collingwood Blvd.
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