It wasn’t all hate at Stone Mountain Park in Georgia Saturday.
Yes, there were violent clashes between law enforcement and a scattering of the several hundred who turned out to counterprotest a so-called pro-white people’s rally at the suburban Atlanta park — a rally that drew about two dozen white supremacists.
Tear gas drifted through the air at times, someone set a makeshift barricade on fire, and a handful — mostly counterdemonstrators — were arrested.
A cluster of men — one made a point of saying he and the others were not part of any group — carried semi-automatic weapons and shotguns.
Tense moments grew more tense. Counterdemonstrators hurled foul language at two people wearing T-shirts bearing the Confederate flag, who had somehow found themselves weaving through the crowd.
Still, there was a lot of love, too, and none stronger and more clearly stated than from young people — teens and those in their early 20s.
Standing back from the percolating violence, they seemed to choose to see something positive in the chaos of the day.
“It’s good to see everyone coming together, said Ranlee Nawler, 18, a senior at Tucker High School, just east of Atlanta.
He was standing with classmates Joseph Mincy, Devonere Alexander and Chris Woods, all 17, all seniors and like Nawler, all college-bound; Morehouse, Florida A&M, Virginia Tech and Savannah State.
“It’s great,” Alexander said, “to see blacks and whites coming out to counterdemonstrate.”
Not far up the hill stood 21-year-old Palmer Rubin, with his friends Alex, 19, and Camille, 20, who asked to be identified by their first names only.
“The only way to combat racism is through unity,” said Camille, a student at nearby Kennesaw State University. “That’s why we are here.”
Past a huddle of Georgia State Patrol officers, was 23-year-old Lowell Fleming, a student at University of North Carolina, Charlotte.
A Unitarian Universalist committed to peace, Lowell said, “I can’t claim to be an anti-racist if I don’t come to things like this. We all have to do our part; we have to help other people.”
Not far away, in a patch of shade, was Zach Porter, 18, and his mom Sue.
Zach, a senior at nearby South Gwinnett High School who is also off to Morehouse College, said, “This is 2016 and this is still happening. It’s hard to believe.”
A stone’s throw away were Ginger Whaley, 15, and her big brother Julian, students at Chamblee High School, also in metro Atlanta.
They held posters displaying their own dim view of the Klan. “We Reject Racism,” read one poster. “KKKISS my A** YOU RACISTS,” read the other. Both teens grumbled about the strong police presence and how they wished the pro-white gathering could see how big the counterdemonstration was.
But like most of the younger set, they saw good in the day.
“This thing, this rally,” said Julian, “this brought a lot of people together.”