As police and officials in Laguna Beach gear up for planned white supremacist rally on Main Beach Sunday, word comes that more demonstrators will be coming to the same site on Saturday.
However, those who announced today they will show up at the beach at 10 a.m. Saturday are not neo-nazis, white powerheads or alt-right wingers. They are from a coalition of community groups “heeding a call by the Movement for Black Lives,” reads an advisory.
The goal of the so-called Unity Rally: “to give the community an opportunity to oppose bigotry” and “send a message that hate has no place in our communities.”
Saturday’s Main Beach gathering is being held “in solidarity with the anti-nazi protesters in Charlottesville, and to peaceably counter-protest the white supremacist rally planned for Sunday,” add the grassroots organizers.
“The neo-nazi, white supremacist message that is feeding on the Trump presidency has no place in our community—a place that is made up of immigrants, refugees and a broad swath of the human tapestry,” says Joseph Baechtold of Laguna Beach Democratic Club in the announcement.
Brace for fireworks as Unity Rally organizers say they learned Thursday evening that white supremacists have called for a protest at the Saturday demonstration and have circulated an anti-semitic meme targeting Laguna Beach Mayor Toni Iseman, who is Jewish and one of the scheduled speakers.
Unity Rally organizers say they are trying to work local police to ensure public safety.
The Sunday event is titled America First! but Unity Rally organizers say it especially is targeted at demonizing immigrants. So Unity Ralliers have come up with a unique fund-raising campaign: For every America First! protestor who attends Sunday, donors are pledging a certain dollar amount to be contributed to the Public Law Center and Resilience OC, non-profits working for refugee and immigrant justice. (Click here to become a Pledge-A-Protestor donor.)
Matt Coker has been engaging, enraging and entertaining readers of newspapers, magazines and websites for decades. He spent the first 13 years of his career in journalism at daily newspapers before “graduating” to OC Weekly in 1995 as the paper’s first calendar editor. He went on to be managing editor, executive editor and is now senior staff writer.