Mayor Stodola vows to fight bigotry in wake of Charlottesville violence

Mayor Stodola joins group to combat hate, bigotry

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (KTHV) - Violent clashes in Charlottesville have mayors across the nation taking action, and Mayor Mark Stodola is getting on board.

Stodola has joined 250 other mayors to fight bigotry and promote justice and equality.

To the surprise and shock of many, including Little Rock's mayor, neo-Nazis and white supremacists are again making the front page.

"The fact that these hate groups have gotten so vocal and so public is disturbing," Stodola said, "and I think that's why it is very important for people like myself to speak out loudly against that."

Stodola signed an agreement, put together by the Anti-Defamation League and the United States Conference of Mayors, to combat any form of hate in America.

"We will take whatever steps necessary to prevent violence and balance that with the issue of protection”, he said.

The compact has 10 points for the mayors to follow. It includes everything from making sure law enforcement has the finances and manpower to investigate hate crimes to restricting when, where, and how groups protest.

"If we have to restrict people to certain areas, we will do that," he explained. "Certainly they have a right to demonstrate, they have a right to speak, but as long as we're not affecting the content, we can regulate time, place, and manner and we will do that to the best of our ability to make sure that we keep the public safe.

Rizelle Aaron, with the NAACP was there last weekend, as his organization counter-protested the Confederate Square Group in Hot Springs.

"The reality is, we've been in this place, we didn't just get here," Aaron said. "It took a lot of events to get us to this point and we still are not any further along than we started at.”

Aaron said it's going to take a lot more than the Mayor's office to stop the spread of extremism, racism, and bigotry.

"We can pray all day and all night until we turn blue in the face, but unless we go out and do the work, then we still aren't doing what God is requiring us to do," Aaron said. "So our faith-based community have to get out and be more involved."

To read the Mayor’s compact to combat hate, extremism, and bigotry, click here.

© 2017 KTHV-TV


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