#NotMyOzarks Campaign Takes a Stand Against the KKK

Grassroots campaign takes control of a region's reputation.

The KKK recently set up shop very publicly in the Ozarks region of Arkansas, proudly announcing that it had created a youth camp aimed at building “a mighty army” to “be a voice of racial redemption.

As one might imagine, this didn’t sit well with residents of the region who don’t share the bigoted values of the hate group. In fact, when Rachel Luster, a local librarian and community organizer caught wind of the news, she decided something needed to be done to express to the world that not everyone in her community preaches racial and religious hate.

“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,” she said.

She reached out to organizations in communities across the South, and through this collaboration, the “Not My Ozarks” campaign was born.

The social media-based movement includes two simple hashtags: #NotMyOzarks and #RuralNotRacist. The second hashtag allows folks outside of the immediate Ozarks region to challenge the assumption that just because a person lives in the South or in a rural community, they are behind the times when it comes to farimindedness and beliefs about equality.

Here is Rachel and her family setting the example that has now been replicated and shared over and over again over the past few weeks.

These 11 images show just how to respond when a hate group tries to set up shop near your home.The best kind of PR campaign a region could hope for is one that springs up from its own communities and residents wishing to make a positive difference and refusing to be defined by its darkest pieces or by hastily-made assumptions.

This is grassroots reputation management at its very best, no?