More than 100 people attended the “Hate Has No Home in Denton County” demonstration Tuesday night on the downtown Square following a weekend that saw reports of a bar manager being assaulted and called an anti-Semitic slur and members of a white nationalist organization demonstrating outside another nightclub.
The demonstration offered attendees the opportunity to speak about hate, how it affects Denton, and how people can combat hate through various outlets such as working with community organizations.
“This event was intended as a meeting place, not to solve anything in an hour and a half,” said Catherine Giles, a resident who organized the event. “What I would like is for the community to build upon that.”
Denton City Council members Paul Meltzer and Deb Armintor both spoke at the demonstration.
“Hate wants to break the human connection that binds us all together in community,” Meltzer said. “That’s not Denton. We are a community always striving to overcome, to include, to celebrate each other. Hate has no place when we celebrate everybody, every culture, every ability, every personal expression, every person.”
During his time at the microphone, Meltzer encouraged everyone in the crowd to hold hands with one another and say, “I celebrate you.”
Armintor began her remarks by thanking the attendees for coming.
“Thank you for standing out here and being here and showing people that Denton will not tolerate fascism, Denton will not tolerate Nazism, Denton will not tolerate racism,” Armintor said. “When we do that, when we stand out, we can help make Denton feel safer for everybody, except Nazis.”
With attendees invited to speak, more than 10 took the microphone to give their perspectives on hatred.
Anjelica Fraga, a community organizer, began her remarks by saying that “to declare that hate has no home in Denton is both a lie and is an erasure of our history.”
“Directly behind you is a testament to the legacy of racism in our town,” she said, referring to the Confederate soldier monument on the Courthouse on the Square lawn. “Not only that but our current elected officials support keeping the structure up. The bare minimum we could do is remove it.”
Many attendees carried signs with messages like “Love not hate,” “No space for hate” and “Reject white supremacy.” There was also police presence at the event, with Police Chief Frank Dixon present and many officers stationed around the courthouse and on its balconies.
There were no counterprotests at the demonstration.
After the speaker portion of the event ended around 8 p.m., attendees marched around the courthouse twice, chanting, “Equality for all, Denton for all.” The event officially ended after all the attendees yelled, “Reject white supremacy!”