Rochester, MN (KROC-AM News) - The Rochester Branch of the NAACP today announced plans for a Not in our Town Community Rally on Saturday in response to the discovery of a racial slur near Century High School last weekend.

A news release issued by the organization says the NAACP Rochester Branch "stands united in condemning the recent hateful incident involving the use of a racial slur against black and brown people in the immediate vicinity of Rochester Century High School." It goes on to say "this reprehensible act not only undermines the values of our community but also sends a disturbing message to our youth who should feel safe in respected."

Kim David/TSM
Kim David/TSM

The local NAACP Branch also says "it is deeply disheartening that such bigotry and ignorance persist in our midst, especially in an area where impressionable high school students can witness it firsthand." The organization is urging everyone in the community to come together and "condemn and reject racism in all its forms." The group is also calling on community members to work together to build a more inclusive and equitable community.

The civil rights organization says a strong message of "not in our town needs to be sent:

  1. Not in our town, will children feel unsafe
  2. Not in our town, will racism be tolerated
  3. Not in our town will hatred find a home. Love wins!
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The Not in our Town Community rally is scheduled to begin at 11 AM on Saturday. Participants will cross over the pedestrian bridge where the racial slur was displayed and gather in an open area below the bridge with the goal of transforming the site of the hateful message into a symbol of unity and love. The NAACP says it is seeking local volunteers to help create messages of love and unity on the bridge.

NAACP Rochester Branch
NAACP Rochester Branch

The NAACP is also planning a series of what it describes as a face-to-face Townhall meetings next week. The sessions will bring together local students, local NAACP leaders, and members of the Rochester NAACP Youth Council to "facilitate meaningful dialogue and address concerns about racism and discrimination." The location and times of the Townhall meetings have yet to be finalized.

A larger community Town Hall meeting is also being planned for the week of April 29. The NAACP Rochester Branch says elected leaders, community leaders, law enforcement officials, and families are being asked to participate in an effort to ensure that "such acts of hate have no place in our community."

READ MORE: Rochester Public Schools Respond to Weekend Racist Incident

The City of Rochester has also issued a statement condemning the racist display on city property. It says racism, language that perpetuates hate, and all prejudice contradict the values the city holds. It also indicates the Rochester police Department is investigating the incident, which was reported early Sunday morning. The racist display involved the use of red plastic cups inserted into the chain-link fencing on the pedestrian bridge to spell out a racial slur.

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