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These 11 images show just how to respond when a hate group tries to set up shop near your home.

Even though some think of the KKK as a secret, underground organization, they're not. Especially not in the Ozarks. Residents of the region are speaking up. In amazing ways.

These 11 images show just how to respond when a hate group tries to set up shop near your home.

What would you do if the KKK decided not just to put its headquarters near your house, but start a youth camp to train young people "to be a voice of racial redemption"?

This happened in July 2015 in Harrison, Arkansas.


You might be a little annoyed, right?

When Rachel Luster, a librarian, community organizer, and arts and community advocate in the Ozark region, saw this headline on Raw Story, it got real: "Klan camp: KKK developing 'a mighty army' of white nationalists at five day training in July."

A lifetime Ozarker, she was more than annoyed. She was ready to act.

"I had this visceral reaction and I didn't know what I was going to do, but as a human being and as an Ozarker, I had to do something about this."
— Rachel Luster

She spoke with members of community organizations across the South, including Black Lives Matter activists who were protesting Klan rallies in Charleston, South Carolina in the wake of the removal of the Confederate flag.

The #NotMyOzarks campaign was born.

A photo posted by NotmyOzarks (@notmyozarks) on

That's Rachel up there with her adorable family!

It's a pretty typical hashtag campaign, using the hashtags #NotMyOzarks and #RuralNotRacist to spread their message of love.

Looking at all the images, you see a picture of rural America that you just don't see elsewhere.

#NotmyOzarks #NotmyRural #LoveNotHate #BlackLivesMatter
A photo posted by NotmyOzarks (@notmyozarks) on


I spoke at length with Rachel on the phone, and she had some important things to say about the culture of silence among rural folks when it comes to race, as well as the need to break that chain.

"We grow up and we're taught ... it's not polite to talk about race or politics or anything like that, and it's also not polite to judge somebody by what color they are or 'who their momma is.'"
— Rachel Luster

A heartwarming quote from "To Kill a Mockingbird," drawn on a piece of paper in the shape of Arkansas. Image via Not My Ozarks Facebook.

Rachel continued:

"We don't really talk about things. But for me in particular ... I just feel like the only way it can get better is if we open [ourselves] up to this conversation — even if it's uncomfortable, even if it is awkward."


A photo posted by NotmyOzarks (@notmyozarks) on
MO Love, Y'all! #NotmyOzarks #NotmyRural #LoveNotHate
A photo posted by NotmyOzarks (@notmyozarks) on

Cool Missouri farmer guy, keeping it real. MO LOVE.

Thanks to the power of the Internet, people in the Ozarks are pushing back against racism.

The #NotMyOzarks campaign has over 2,000 Facebook Likes, and the number of participants is growing.

A photo posted by NotmyOzarks (@notmyozarks) on
A photo posted by NotmyOzarks (@notmyozarks) on
A photo posted by NotmyOzarks (@notmyozarks) on
A photo posted by Kally Sue (@kali_su) on

Communities that were once living in isolation to come together to stand in solidarity. That makes me happy.

If you want to join them in their message of love, take a photo of your family and post it using the hashtag #RuralNotRacist and #NotMyOzarks. Or just follow them on Facebook. In the few days I've known about this group, they've gotten hundreds of new Likes.

It's beautiful to watch love surmount hate.

via Pexels

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