MTSU students form coalition against white nationalist protests

(Photo: WKRN)

MUFREESBORO, Tenn. (WKRN) – After some Middle Tennessee State University students heard about the white nationalist rally coming to Murfreesboro; they reached out to several student organizations and formed an impromptu coalition against hate.

The Student Coalition Against Hate has been learning de-escalation tactics this week just in case they come in contact with protesters.

No one is sure about what to expect Saturday, so this student group wants to be ready just in case.

Students are hoping for the best, but are preparing for the worst just in case they come face to face with protesters on Saturday.

“Focusing on A non-violence, B is kind to stay calm while we’re there and not let ourselves be the escalator if they are going to be there, if they are going to be angry, if they are going to be hateful to remain calm ourselves,” said Student Coalition Against Hate member Joshua Hendricks.

The coalition consists of various students organizations on campus.

“These groups do not reflect Murfreesboro’s values, and we want to show that Murfreesboro is a place of acceptance, and a place where many of us are committed to dismantling White Supremacy,” said Coalition member Tess Shelton.

Tuesday evening the group held a safety clinic for members.

“In the event that we have any contact with them whatsoever, if they show up at our rally, we just went over some basic safety procedures,” Shelton said.  “One thing we talked about is de-escalation tactics.”

Coalition members are planning to take part in the Murfreesboro Loves Rally at Barfield Park Saturday.

The crowd will then break up into smaller groups and try to spread love across the city.

“We’re not Murfreesboro Hates, we’re not Murfreesboro chasing people out of town because we politically disagree with them; we’re Murfreesboro Loves and that got to set itself up not only in how we present ourselves, but how we conduct ourselves,” Hendricks said.

The Student Coalition Against Violence is not a registered organization with MTSU.

Members just felt a need to come together and spread peace and non-violence.

There will be a Direct Action Safety Training event this evening from 6 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. at the Thursday Edgehill United Methodist Church in Nashville.

It’s being held by the groups Showing Up for Racial Justice Nashville, and Neon Guard Nashville.