Love Rally Serves As Repellent to “Hate Group”

A thousand people gathered in front of East High School for a "Love Rally" to celebrate the school, diversity and each other.

A thousand people gathered in front of East High School for a “Love Rally” to celebrate the school, diversity and each other.

“The mosquitoes are coming, the mosquitoes are coming…” might as well have been the rallying cry last week when word came that a high-profile bunch of zealots from Kansas – an organization classified as a “hate group” by many – was zeroing in on East High School for reasons that were never clear.

But thanks to quick, well-organized mobilization by the Des Moines Student Activism Network so much repellent was applied at East by students from all five DMPS high schools that the pesky haters never materialized. It was estimated that as many as a thousand people were on hand for a rally on the school’s front lawn.

Bluff called, the agitators came no closer than the state capitol, the golden pinnacle of which was visible a few blocks away across the freeway. It made for a fitting backdrop to a stirring demonstration of the freedoms of assembly and expression. The expected guests would have been hopelessly – no, hopeFULLY – outnumbered anyway by the throng gathered to welcome them.

The greater message of indiscriminate acceptance carried the day beneath a balmy blue January sky.

There were plenty of placards and chants like “L-U-V-D-S-M” rose and fell, unopposed.

“Yell if you’re from Hoover,” a bullhorn blared (big cheer).

“Yell if you’re from Lincoln, “(same response).

“Yell if you’re from Roosevelt,” (etc.)

“Yell if you’re from North,” (etc.)

“Yell if you’re from East,” (biggest cheer of all).

There was even a sympathetic contingent from West Des Moines Valley.

A friendly fleet of motorcycles revved past, loudly lending support to the teens’ creed of tolerance. And several parents were on hand to show solidarity with their students. (One proudly noted about the out-of-state protesters: “They picked the wrong school to mess with.”)

Love, the title sponsor of the hastily but thoughtfully organized rally and the repellent as thick in the air as OFF at a summer camp, overcame – again. Yes, the sun was shining and the day was warm but not a single mosquito was detected.

Exactly one week after a day off from school in honor of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. a conscientious group of up and coming youth pulled off an exercise in citizenship that served as a fitting tribute.

What is the Des Moines Student Activism Network?

“This is a group of engaged, informed Des Moines students that are committed to learning about injustice in the world and finding new ways to fight it through direct action, art, and information.” (from the group’s Facebook page which you can visit here:

Photos from the Love Rally at East High School

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