Tennesseans discuss upcoming White Lives Matter rally

Tennesseans discuss upcoming White Lives Matter rally. (WZTV)

SHELBYVILLE, Tenn. (WZTV) - As police prepare for a White Lives Matter rally in Shelbyville this month, neighbors said Thursday they're shocked and concerned about the event.

White supremacist groups linked to a violent and deadly protest in Charlottesville, Virginia are headed to Tennessee. A White Lives Matter rally is scheduled to take place in Shelbyville Oct. 28, and local authorities began planning for it Wednesday.

People who spoke to Fox 17 News said the event is being organized by outsiders, who don't reflect the values of their hometown.

At the Coffee Break, the coffee is hot and the food is homemade.

"People come in the door they can read each other, they know each other, it's very personal," said owner Dardie Fannin.

Fannin is shocked to learn Shelbyville is where white nationalists linked to a violent protest in Charlottesville are planning their next rally.

"I'm concerned about it," Fannin said. "I don't like the idea because I don't want there to be violence and trouble."

According to the Occidental Dissent website, the League of the South met in Shelbyville in 2013 and is returning to protest the recent church shooting in Antioch and refugee resettlement programs in Tennessee.

"I was initially kind of shocked when I saw that," said Allen Pitner, Shelbyville, Bedford County Chamber of Commerce CEO.

"I'm not going to speculate on why they chose this community," Pitner said. "Could be a logistics thing or something, but again they are in no way reflective of anything about our community."

No one is sure where the rally will be held. The group said on its website that it plans to keep the location a secret until the day of or day before the rally.

The Oct. 28 date concerns Reeni Dee, who has an outdoor event on the same day.

"It's actually really scary especially since we're having a festival called the Boo and Brew the same day," Dee said. "We're a little scared about it."

Neighbors said the White Lives Matter rally and message have little to do with their community.

"This group is certainly entitled to free speech, but it does not reflect Shelbyville and Bedford County at all," Pinter said.

"I'm all about freedom of speech," Fannin said. "I think it's great people have opinions, and I know mine are different than other peoples, too, which is fine, but not to the point where it involves violence."

The exact location of the rally has not been announced.

According to the organizer's website, the group wanted a location close to Nashville and chose Shelbyville because it's a red county in a red state with a Republican governor.

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