I was at the Augusta rally to denounce hatred and political violence (“Competing rallies at State House remain peaceful,” Sept. 30). It felt horrible to be called “Nazi … racist … white supremacist” while standing publicly for peace and social justice.

Political violence in action was vividly portrayed. In prior weeks, a psychological virus hit the internet. Spreading like wildfire, it scattered in all directions.

As with the polarization of people and issues, divide and conquer is a military tactic. Oppressed people are used to oppress others. Promotion of fear and hatred are seeds for violence. Character assassination disempowers. All were enacted in a systematic, overt example of political violence that unfolded Sept. 30.

Speakers and participants were threatened before the event. Subsequently, some withdrew. Tensions ran high. An ample showing of police prevented altercations and provided protection to attendees (including children).

With surprising subversive action, one speaker asked everyone to leave with her in “mass exodus,” exposing the remaining “supremacists.” Simultaneously, someone thrust a propaganda flier at me and said I was supporting white supremacy if I chose not to leave. It was a blow.

My immediate instinct was to leave, despite knowing it was untrue. Everyone wants to run when being called vile names. Nobody wants to be left publicly, in front of cameras, as a racist. Despite an intense impulse to go, I stayed. With other brave souls, we stood in continued denouncement of political violence.

All races are my brothers and sisters. I don’t always like what some people say or do, but I focus on my own heart to know that it’s true. This is how we weed out prejudice and ill-harborings so that love, compassion, tolerance and respect can grow. We’re one race – the human race.

Sally Brotheron

South China