GREENVILLE, SC – The president of the local Black Lives Matter chapter and a member of The Fraternal Order of the Alt-Knights were among a small group of people who met Thursday to discuss their differences face to face.
The leaders and members sat down at Bikas restaurant hoping to peacefully discuss contentious issues, mainly revolving around race.
Among the topics were the violence in Charlottesville, Virginia and recent protests around Confederate statues.
Jack Logan, President of Put Down the Guns Now Young People, organized the discussion. He told media that he believes getting the conversation going about race is the only way the current political and racial turmoil will stop.
“If the leaders of organizations set that example, other people will follow in the right direction,” said Logan.
Sitting across the table from Logan was Daniel Shepherd, a member of the Fraternal Order of Alt-Knights. Online, the founder of the group, Kyle Chapman described their organization’s values, posting to Facebook:
“We will protect and defend our right wing brethren when the police and government fail to do so.” (…) “We don’t fear the fight, we are the fight.”
The Southern Poverty Law Center refers to the group as an Alt-Right “fight club.”
Shepherd, however, told 7News the group is not about violence.
“We are not there to be agitators, we are not there to fist-fight anyone, e are not there to fight anyone,” Shepherd said, but added, “Should violence come, we will defend.”
Other people at the table were from organizations that say their sole purpose is to peacefully protect the constitution. Those include the American Patriot Rebellion and American Pit Vipers.
Andre Gregory from Black Lives Matter made it a point to confront the issue of racism head-on.
“You ain’t born to be racist, you’re taught to be racist. So we’re trying to break down the barriers.”
The group said that this was not their last discussion. They plan to have another discussion in the future that will be open to the public.