Del. residents, advocates take “stand against racism”

Numbers in a crowd on the Legislative Mall lawn in Dover were not massive Monday, but their message was clear.

"The people united will never be defeated!" Matt Pillischer led in a chant.

Pillischer is director of Racial and Social Justice for YWCA Delaware, a non-profit that aims to empower women and lead social change. "Stand Against Racism", an event organized annually by the non-profit, attracted more than 50 people in Dover on Monday.

"We have to remember, we're standing with hundreds of demonstrations that are taking place across the country today so there's hundreds of thousands of people out and we're just the part of that," says Pillischer.

The rally was held on the same day as May Day, also known as "International Worker's Day". In past years, it has spawned protests around the globe. In U.S., marches were expected to draw larger than usual crowds with women's groups and police reformers.

Pillischer tells 47ABC this year they chose to stand in solidarity with the national movement Beyond The Moment, a movement is initiated by "The Majority" which is a coalition of more than 50 organizations.

"This year, we wanted to do some kind of public demonstration that really tied racism to other forms of oppression because we felt like so many people were coming under attack," he says. "Women, Muslims, Jewish people, people with disabilities."

The dialouge of eliminating racism is one that Smyrna resident Diane Szego says needs to happen.

"Racism is something that needs to be eradicated, if there's anyway to do that," Szego says. "I've listened to a lot of people talk here today and all of their messages, I take close to heart."

Eliminating prejudice and racism, according to Mary Ann Abella, will take more than just rallies and events. A member of the Southern Delaware Alliance For Racial Justice, Abella says it starts with education.

"I think that a lot of the problems that we have stem from people's fear. Fear comes from ignorance, they don't know a person of color," she says. "They don't know a Muslim, and if they did…they would find that they're human beings, just like they are with the same problems, the same concerns."

Overall, three dozen organizations endorsed the Monday's event.

We're told the Allied Local Emergency Response Team (ALERT) will be hosting an open meeting on Tuesday night. More information can be found here.

Categories: Delaware, Local News