Counter-billboard campaign created in response to "Make America White Again"
There are some Polk and Bradley county residents who want to change the conversation after seeing the "Make America White Again" billboard signs. They are joining together to promote love and tolerance in a campaign of their own.
Polk and Bradley county residents want to change the conversation. They are joining together to promote love and tolerance in response to a controversial billboard.
Local Congressional candidate Rick Tyler paid for the billboards to promote his idea to "Make America White Again."
Others in the community said they want to bury Tyler's words with a different message on billboards of their own.
The controversial billboards have been removed Tyler said he never gave the billboard companies permission to do so.
On Thursday, the "Drive Out Hate" campaign was created.
"To fund billboards, to fund media, to fund outreach that's inclusive, to promote a positive message and that's the message of love," said Josiah Vacheresse.
Josiah Vacheresse is not running for a political office but he is raising money to create a counter-billboard campaign.
"The perception that we could all be grouped into such hateful ideology, it's scary," he said.
Vacheresse would like to see new billboards that promote love and tolerance. He's calling it the "Drive Out Hate campaign," inspired by a Dr. Martin Luther King Jr quote.
But Rick Tyler said he's not finished.
"My vinyl is missing in action right now, I haven't been contacted, I don't know where it is whether it's been stolen or not but we're looking into that, I filed a police report," Tyler said.
Tyler said the billboard owners caved to fear and took them down. He promises to put two more up for every one that comes down.
"If I could I'd have hundreds of these billboards up all over the 3rd District," Tyler said.
That's a statement many people in the area are not happy to hear.
"And I know there's a lot of people in Polk County that do not agree with this message of segregation," said Blake Rymer.
Polk County is a big spot for visitors coming to enjoy the Ocoee River.
"And people coming to that river are going to pass by racist billboards?" Rymer said, "I just can't believe it and I'm so glad they took this one down."
Rymer and Vacheresse hope soon there will be a different message up in its place.
"And what I want to do is to show the world, show nationally, show everyone in Polk County, in Bradley County and Ocoee Region in TN we love one another," Vacheresse said.
Tyler said he hopes to have his campaign signs back up by sometime next week.
To learn more about the 'Drive out Hate' campaign, click here.