GEORGETOWN TOWNSHIP, Mich. (WOOD) — A teen organizing a Black Lives Matter protest in Jenison was met with hundreds of hateful comments on social media.
Max Seidel, 14, posted about the event scheduled for later this month in a community Facebook page Wednesday. Within hours, a heated debate had taken over the comment section.
“The people in the comments were kind of actually saying some really hateful things to people from my grade, which wasn’t so kind,” Max said.
Max and a few of his classmates organized the peaceful protest and march in an effort to educate the community about racial inequity and raise awareness and support for the Black Lives Matter movement.
Many of the more than 300 comments attacked Black Lives Matter, with one person calling it, “…the radical organization that has very evil intentions.”
Another comment stated, “…They are using these kids to support a cause that is backed by the far left…”
Quite a few of the comments had to do with Max’s age.
“…you wanna play in the big boy pen, you better have big boy pants on,” one person commented.
Max said he responded to several of the harsh comments in an effort to educate others, seeing their remarks as a reminder for why he planned the protest in the first place.
“That’s why we really need to do this because it had made it pretty obvious that a lot of people in the community are misinformed about what this is about,” Max said.
While the harsh comments got the biggest reaction, other people posted in defense of Max and the Black Lives Matter movement.
Several people commented in support of Max’s activism, while others called for kindness.
“You’re doing a great thing…” one comment stated.
When it comes to the more hurtful comments, Max said there’s really only one way to respond.
“We just had to kill them with kindness because we can’t fight fire with fire,” Max said. “So we really needed to show them that you need to be kind and that’s what this movement is about.”
A few hours after publishing the post, Max and his classmates helping to co-organize the event decided it was best to delete the post, though they are keeping their plan to have the protest.
“People wanted us to cancel this,” Max said. “They didn’t want it their community, but we are not going to cancel this because we need to make this change now.”
While the current Facebook event page states the protest and march will take place Saturday, July 25, Max said they may reschedule. The organizers plan to meet early next week to discuss the details and concerns and will share any updates on social media.