Two groups are preparing to square off this weekend in Dickson County.
American Renaissance, which also goes by AmRen and labels its views as “race realism”, will kick off its conference at Montgomery Bell State Park today while protesters prepare to rally and present a conference of their own.
It is the second year in a row that AmRen has held its conference at the park.
Dorsey Malina, a spokeswoman for the protest group Not in Our State, said she couldn’t believe it.
“We realize they have as much right to free speech as anyone else, but we also realize that their free speech is camoflauged as hate speech and we can’t tolerate hate speech,” Malina said. “This is happening in our backyard as Tennesseans and we do not agree with anyone taking a stand with racist thoughts or deeds.”
Not in Our State is planning to present a “counter conference” featuring 18 speakers at the park on Saturday. Topics include Hybrid Vigor: Biochemically Deconstructing the Notion of Racial Purity; Race, Class and Power; and Connecting the ‘Isms’: How Racism, Sexism, Heterosexism & Speciesism Intersect.
Jared Taylor, founder of the Virginia-based AmRen, said he chose Montgomery Bell because “it is owned by the government of Tennessee and the government of Tennessee is not likely to be intimidated by people who would like to stamp out freedom of speech in the United States”
Taylor disagrees with the hate group label.
“We’d prefer to live in a nation with a majority of people like ourselves,” he said. “It doesn’t mean we hate anybody else, it means that that’s our preference.”
In addition to Saturday’s counter conference, the Coalition to Shut Down AmRen in association with Austin Peay Students for a Democratic Society is planning to rally outside the conference at noon today.