Several hundred people gathered in Krutch Park for a kindness rally in response to planned demonstrations at a Confederate monument in Fort Sanders on Saturday.
"When we learned people were coming that were going to be planting the seeds of hate and violence, we just decided to provide our citizens with a place to come where they could say to the world that that's just not who we are, that we stand for other, better things," Jerry Askew, president of the Alliance for Better Nonprofits, said.
The rally was organized by the Arts & Culture Alliance of Greater Knoxville, the Alliance for Better Nonprfits and the Compassion Coalition.
Askew said leaders from those organizations chose to gather in Krutch Park to create a more family friendly atmosphere and avoid risk that confrontation would turn violent.
"Even those we disagree with, the people over at the Fort who came, many from out of town, we have to disagree with them in love," Askew said.
Four speakers addressed the crowd with live music before and afterwards.
City councilman and former mayor Daniel Brown says attended the gathering because he didn't want to be near 'the gathering at the monument.
"I think it's good to let the community know that we have people of good spirit who would take the time on their Saturday afternoon and say to everyone that we do not want people who are mean spirited, bigoted and about hatred," Brown said. "We've come a long way in this city and this nation in terms of race relations... we still have a long ways to go, but we're getting there."