Carrying signs with messages against racism, hundreds of people take part in the Hate Has No Home in Grosse Pointe rally Feb. 21 along Wayburn Street in Grosse Pointe Park to show support for a Black family whose neighbor put up a  KKK flag in a window facing their Wayburn home.

Carrying signs with messages against racism, hundreds of people take part in the Hate Has No Home in Grosse Pointe rally Feb. 21 along Wayburn Street in Grosse Pointe Park to show support for a Black family whose neighbor put up a KKK flag in a window facing their Wayburn home.

Photo by K. Michelle Moran


Rally attracts hundreds to Grosse Pointe Park to declare, ‘Hate has no home in Grosse Pointe’

By: K. Michelle Moran | Metro | Published February 23, 2021

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GROSSE POINTE PARK — Hundreds of local residents took to the streets in Grosse Pointe Park the afternoon of Feb. 21 to show support for a Black Grosse Pointe Park family after a neighbor put a Ku Klux Klan flag in a side window facing the family’s home.

Marchers, many with signs, walked along both sides of Wayburn Street from Hampton Street to Mack Avenue during the Hate Has No Home in Grosse Pointe rally. Wayburn was selected for the march because the victims, the Dinges family, live there.

“I’m thankful for this opportunity to stand up,” said Park City Councilman Vikas Relan, who also chairs the council’s Diversity and Inclusion Committee. “It gives us an opportunity to really show the power in numbers. Together, we can be louder than bombs.”

The rally was organized by the community group WE GP — also known as Welcoming Everyone Grosse Pointe — and was co-hosted by the Grosse Pointes & Harper Woods NAACP, St. Paul AME Church, Grosse Pointe Unitarian Church-Racial Equity Task Force, Grosse Pointe Democratic Club, Detroit 300, The War Memorial, Grosse Pointe Congregational Church, Whosoever Ministries and the Grosse Pointe Board of Realtors.

Walking along both sides of Wayburn were seniors and children, individuals and families. Some even brought their dogs, including one pooch outfitted with a sign that read, “I Bite Racists.” Participants wore masks, and to discourage people from congregating in public, rally speakers were livestreamed later online.

At Wayburn and Mack Avenue, tables were set up with pens, markers, poster boards and, in a sign of the pandemic times, large bottles of hand sanitizer. Marchers were encouraged to sign the posters and offer words of support and encouragement to the Dinges family.

The Rev. Richard Yeager-Stiver, of Grosse Pointe Congregational Church, carried a sign with the message of Psalm 34, “Seek peace and pursue it.”

“We’ve really got to stand up and (work toward) peace,” said Yeager-Stiver, noting that hateful acts like the KKK flag display have to stop. “We need unity, and we need community.”

Davis Porter, of Grosse Pointe Park, who is Black, said he lives down the street from where the flag incident occurred. He brought his daughter, Victoria, 10, with him to the rally, which marked her first march.

“It’s pretty amazing,” Davis Porter said of the large turnout. “(It’s) nice to see a community reaction like this — so powerful and positive and immediate.”

Victoria Porter was also happy to see that so many had chosen to participate in the rally and speak out against hate and racism.

“I think it’s really cool that so many people came out,” she said. “I feel really appreciated.”

Darren Way, of St. Clair Shores, who is white and an educator and a musician in a ska band, had been hunkered down at home since last March because of COVID-19, but he said the rally’s message was so important that he felt compelled to take part in this public event.

“It’s amazing how it’s 2021 and there are still people out there who are spouting racism,” Way said. “They have problems with people simply because of their skin color.”

He said he’d like to see the antiracism momentum continue. That’s something rally organizers and supporters are hoping for, as well.

“This is the new Grosse Pointe Park, and we are not afraid to stand up against this type of ignorant and obscene behavior,” Relan said by email after the rally. “Today, we are making a choice — and a commitment. … Standing by and witnessing prejudice or racism or harassment or intimidation will not be something we do.”

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