My hometown

I remember it well, standing in the church listening to Jesse Jackson speak about unity and the kkk.
We sat and prepared ourselves to take a stand against the klan, you could hear them outside, waiting for us to come out and walk to the town hall.
After being told how to handle everything the doors to the church opened and we made our way down the steps.
The klan was there, microphone and speaker standing unified, yelling things I won’t repeat on this post.
We walked by them, never spoke, never blinked, never uttered a word. We made our way to the town hall to peaceful stand.
I vividly remember growing up with the klan ever present in my town. I lived very close to the down town area and would run down the street to the record store but would always slow down nearing the corner, the klan would be there standing and handing out pamphlets trying to get ppl to join.
I remember how they made me feel, scared. Always being instructed by my parents and grandmother to never take anything from them. I would say no but they would insist, I would get far enough away and fling it.
I remember holding my grandmothers hand walking to jimmy’s near the railroad station, the klan was there and she told me, “don’t flinch, don’t look at them and don’t entertain demons. Just walk right through them.”
My grandmother would be proud of the progress made in this town.
The klan was a fixture here, I would watch them drive those big black Cadillacs into the cemetery for what I don’t know.
I remember how they would gather in groups up town and downtown, I remember the skin heads being around.
I remember Jesse Jackson coming back to help us again, I remember the heightened emotions this time, the words of disgust being spoken to them, one persons even pulled the hood off of a klan memeber.
I remember Matthew Hale coming and speaking.
I remember all of this well. I know the reputation of this town, I know what people say but I would hope people would take into account the battle that went on to break away from them, push them out of this town.
People may tell you that there hasn’t been much of this in the past but there has been and I tell you that to also say that we have truly come far.
People may tell you that there is still open kkk meetings but in all honesty I haven’t seen or heard of any.
People have spoken about burning Wallingford down, I would hope people would take a moment to understand the fight that went on to push the klan out, to bring in more diversity, to stand against racism, and to progress as a town. Is there still racism in this town, yes.
I remember the growing up with the klan in this town and I remember the battle that went on to push them out and silence their open meetings.
There are some good people here that have fought agansit the klan and helped Wallingford to progress.
Many have stood against the klan in this town, there was no hashtags, or live feeds just people standing for the rights of others to live without fear.