Rally in Hastings emphasizes unity

HASTINGS, Mich. (WOOD) — A demonstration emphasizing unity in the community took place Sunday afternoon in Hastings.

It was a public demonstration of acceptance, hoping to bring forward a conversation of change.

“This is me celebrating that I have a white family, I have a brown family, I have friends of all different colors,” said Miguel Arjona-Rodriguez of Kalamazoo. “And we’re coming together to stand against racism.”

The crowd was limited to 100 people, and it just about hit its limit with groups from right to left representing themselves.

But the goal of the day was simply respecting each other.

“Being an immigrant to the United States and being a citizen here now gives me the opportunity to make a change for myself and others who are coming up in the same way,” he said.

A message of tolerance was shared among much of the gallery.

“When you first look at me, you see a black woman,” said Desiree Holley-Sancimino of Detroit. “But that doesn’t mean, you know, it’s blind — it’s character that counts and I’m hoping that the character will overshadow a lot of our racial and ethnic differences.”

And there were a variety of opinions present to hear what was being said.

“I understand people have their rights to have their rallies, but as long as they do it peaceful, I’m not against that,” said a local man waving a flag supporting President Donald Trump. “But I’m against the hate, the bitterness, the rhetoric that comes out of these.”

Conflicting opinions in one place and being respectful toward each other was the whole point of Sunday’s event.

“I don’t want to see families get ripped apart because of political debates or because of opinions,” said Arjona-Rodriguez. “And that’s what’s happening right now. And I don’t want to see people continue to get separated because together we can go a lot farther.”