AUSTIN, Texas — ATXKind invited the community to stand up against hate and rally for compassion and inclusivity over the weekend following a spike in incidents of anti-Semitism, hate speech and racism in Central Texas.
The Rally for Kindness is an opportunity for attendees "to heal, get inspired and take positive action," the organization said in a release.
The grassroots event, created with support from Shalom Austin and Anti-Defamation League Austin, featured a wide range of speakers from different communities and faiths.
"Seeing people of all faiths and perhaps of no faith saying, 'We reject this hate ... we want to be a community of kindness, welcoming to all, respectful of all religions,'" said U.S. Rep. Lloyd Doggett.
Most recently, police have been investigating racist and white supremacy stickers placed in local parks, including Highland neighborhood park. KVUE also received reports of similar stickers in Brentwood Park, but they had been scraped away by the time the KVUE team arrived.
Defacing public property is a misdemeanor in Austin.
The latest incident involving hateful stickers placed at city parks is just one of several incidents that have happened recently around the area.
Anderson High School was vandalized with graffiti in late October, a student spoke about the events in Sunday's rally.
"I arrived in school Friday morning, to notice that multiple senior parking spots, including my own, had been defaced with homophobic, racist and anti-Semitic graffiti," said Ford McCracken, a senior at Anderson HS.
The Austin ISD superintendent also called it "anti-Semitic, racist and homophobic." Students recently held an event where they painted picnic tables, parking spots and buildings with messages of unity to combat hate.
Following that incident at the school, a banner with anti-Semitic messaging was displayed multiple times over MoPac Expressway. City leaders condemned the messaging and the Austin City Council passed an anti-hate resolution last week in response to the incidents.
Then, on Oct. 31, a synagogue off Shoal Creek Boulevard was set on fire, causing $25,000 in damage. Authorities arrested a suspect in connection to the arson case on Nov. 10. An 18-year-old Texas State University student and Texas State Guard member was identified as the suspect.
The Rally for Kindness held by ATXKind was held at the Texas Capitol south steps on Sunday, Nov. 14, from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. ATXKind is a grassroots group of Jewish women formed in the wake of anti-Semitic incidents and hate speech.
PHOTOS: Rally for Kindness at Texas Capitol
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