Residents Hold Rally for Peace Amid Social Media Posts Indicating Possible Marches

Dozens gathered in downtown McKinney Saturday denouncing any threat of hatred and violence both inside their community and elsewhere.

"We are aware of the violence that has happened in El Paso, in Dayton, Ohio and Charlottesville, Virginia and all across our country, so we are concerned about this level of violence," Reverend Clay Brantley said.

Brantley was one of several speakers at a rally organized by the Flourish Community-Based Initiatives. The event came amid posts circulating on social media pointing to possible white nationalist marches in the Dallas and McKinney areas this weekend.

The posts were deemed not credible by police, according to McKinney Mayor George Fuller. Earlier this week, Fuller said the posts were old and possibly recycled; however, he said police were prepared for possible events. 

Fuller attended the rally Saturday and commended the city's response.

"McKinney is a city that cares. It's a city that is inclusive. It is a city that welcomes any and everybody," he said.

Sean Howe, executive director of Flourish Community-Based Initiatives, said the purpose of the rally was to show what the city stood for -- regardless of the marches.

"We understand there's still racism. There's still institutionalized racism. We just don't want it to grow. We want to push back on it and say, 'We're citizens here. We love one another,'" Howe said. "Hate is not acceptable."

Residents in attendance echoed the message.

"There's just so much going on right now, so much negativity that I just felt like being part of something positive was going to be worth twice the weight," McKinney resident Amy Gorenca said. "Whether there's anything going on or not, I think it's very important for people to see that there are people in the community who are saying, 'We want to reach across the table and hold hands with everybody. We want to be involved in something that’s positive.'"

In a message to residents, the Dallas Police Department posted this on social media Saturday:

"The Dallas Police Department is aware of a social media post warning the public of possible violence in the downtown area. All social media postings are being monitored by the Fusion Center. Out of an abundance of caution, additional officers are patrolling the area. The veracity of these posts has not been confirmed at this time. The public is encouraged to be vigilant while enjoying the activities this great city has to offer."

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