One Love Longview intends to transform hate into unity through a “Unite Rally” to bring the community together.
Amanda Veasy, co-founder of the community support organization, said the group wanted to offset the hatred and negativity that a potential white supremacy event would bring to Longview.
“The Unite Rally is going to be a really great expression of cultural diversity and a celebration of all the different, wonderful, beautiful things we have in Longview,” Veasy said. “As unfortunate as it is that Longview — for some reason — became a target destination to have a KKK rally, the really beautiful thing about this is that something that was designed to tear us apart and to create division is going to be transformed into something that is going to spark light and unite us.”
The Unite Rally is scheduled 2 to 7 p.m. Aug. 14 at Teague Park. Veasy has reserved the entire park, including both pavilions and the amphitheater, for the event.
Now, she’s seeking vendors and entertainers who represent a wide variety of cultures to participate in the event. She envisions food trucks that represent different cuisines such as soul food, Mexican food, Asian cuisine and vendors from a wide variety of backgrounds.
“This is an invitation for Black business owners, Asian business owners — all business owners — and for all of the different churches and any non-faith based entity to participate,” she said. “We want everyone represented.”
One Love Longview encourages vendors and entertainers from all lifestyles, cultures, backgrounds, political affiliations and religious beliefs to attend.
Gregg County Republicans and Democrats also are teaming up to have a non-partisan voter registration booth at the event. Michelle Gamboa, representing the Gregg County Republican Party and East Texas Young Republicans, and Kerri Esposito, representing the Democratic Women of East Texas, have each agreed to participate in the booth together, Veasy said.
“The fact that they have stepped up and said, ‘We’ll share a table. We’ll do this voter registration together.’ That’s a perfect representation of what we do here at One Love Longview and what we represent,” Veasy said.
One Love Longview was founded in 2020 at a time of when racial tension was high and there was political unrest amid the spark of Black Lives Matter protests. The organization’s mission has been to serve the whole community and bring people together. One Love Longview strives to be inclusive of all cultures within the community and has hosted other events, such as a recent Pride festival.
With the Unite Rally, Veasy’s goal is transform a white supremacy event that could have brought hate to the community into a time of “love and healing.”
“Right now, if this KKK rally that they were planning to have is going to do anything, it’s going to heal us. It gave us a common focus,” Veasy said. “It made us all realize that we do have something in common, and let’s start there. If we can bring that to the table and get everybody to sit, then we can talk about some things. Maybe you don’t have all the answers and maybe I don’t have all the answers, but maybe together we can figure this out and have a good answer.”
Anyone interested in participating either as a vendor or as an entertainer at the Unite Rally may call One Love Longview at (903) 932-3451 or register online at joinmistysevent.com. Vendors will not be assigned a space at Teague Park; rather space is on a first-come, first-served basis. The park has some spaces with electricity hookups.
There is no fee to have a booth; however, donations of any amount are encouraged. Donations can be made to One Love Longview via CashApp at $1LoveLongview, PayPal.me/1LoveWorld or www.onelovelongview.com.