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Forum News Service, Published February 26 2013

Demonstrator praises school action against students in KKK garb

GRAND FORKS - Danny G. Holwerda Jr. stood at a street corner near Red River High School on Tuesday morning, holding a sign with the phrase “Racism will not stand.”

He wasn’t there to protest the school, he said, but to support the school’s admonishment of three students who wore Ku Klux Klan attire at a hockey game Friday.

“It was the Red River school that ultimately inspired me to use the sign, because that’s what the students and those teachers did,” he said. “They wouldn’t stand for it.”

School officials said the three students, who are freshmen, will be punished.

Holwerda, who is white and African-American, said he “felt something needed to be said” after he heard about the incident. He is also a lay pastor at Gospel Outreach Ministries in Grand Forks, but was demonstrating on his own behalf.

Holwerda said he did it in part to honor Martin Luther King Jr. during Black History Month and his mother, who was raised in Mobile, Ala., when the Klansmen held power. He said he listened to his mother’s stories about the Klan while growing up, so “it’s a very close-to-home thing.”