After a Fort Dodge family became the target of racist vandalism, one community group is coming together to fight back against racial hatred.
The Rally Against Racism, which is being sponsored by Athletics For Education and Success, will be held Oct. 13 at 712 Third St. N.W.
Charles Clayton, executive director of AFES, said the idea for the event came about after a local family was targeted in what Fort Dodge Police called a hate crime.
On Aug. 23, the family of Quennel McCaleb, 214 Second St. N.W., discovered graffiti, which included racial slurs, on their camper.
"I talked to a friend of mine who lives in Texas and told him about what happened," Clayton said. "He called me back and said, 'This needs to stop. I grew up in Fort Dodge and this is not what Fort Dodge is about. If I give you some money, would you do something about it?'"
Clayton said after talking to the AFES board, it was decided to host the Rally Against Racism event.
It will feature games, food and T-shirts in what Clayton described as a "fair-type atmosphere."
The day will also be about fighting racism in Fort Dodge.
"There was strong support for the McCalebs when this happened," he said. "This is not what Fort Dodge wants in its town."
The rally will feature Bryant Smith, who is described as a "human potential specialist," and Dr. Eddie Moore Jr., of America & Moore LLC. Each will be giving a speech during the afternoon.
Clayton said he believes racism is more common in Fort Dodge than people admit.
"AFES moved out to the Hillcrest building last August," he said. "There were four different incidents where we've had racial slurs written on buildings. And I've talked to other people in town who have shared stories that have happened to them over the past year."
He hopes that the rally will draw attention to racism in Fort Dodge.
"This community doesn't want this here," he said. "We want to be a stronger, tight-knit community without any hatred."
Clayton said he would love to eliminate all stereotyping and prejudice in town.
"Fort Dodge is a great place to be," he said. "Hopefully, this will be a great way to come together for positive change."