VICE: Andrew W.K. on Loving Your Enemy

Andrew W.K. on Loving Your Enemy | VICE

From grades nine through 11, I was fortunate enough to attend Community High School, a free-thinking smaller public alternative school to the two larger high schools in Ann Arbor, Michigan, where I lived from age four until 18. Ann Arbor was and still is a radical liberal town with a proud history of open-minded optimism. I was a 17 year old junior in 1996, and something happened that year that changed my life forever.

Our school was within walking distance of downtown Ann Arbor and city hall. As students, we were given permission to spend our lunch breaks and after school time in the midst of Ann Arbor’s small but stimulating street culture. It was a vibrant and dynamic mixture of University of Michigan graduate students, rogue musicians, sidewalk preachers, sketchy odd-ball drifters, and leftover psychedelic hippies from the city’s prime back in the 1960s.

One day, the town began nervously buzzing with news of an impending rally, staged by a chapter of the Ku Klux Klan. Hailing from elsewhere in the state, the hate group was planning to demonstrate at Ann Arbor’s city hall, with the intention of provoking the residents of this town in which they knew they would not be well-received.

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