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PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — In 2013, no one expects to see a man dressed in a Ku Klux Klan robe mid-morning in Center City, Philadelphia.
“I think that’s nonsense,” said one woman on the street.
“He needs to be committed to the jail system,” said another onlooker.
The man, who stood on the corner of 13th and Filbert on Tuesday, is not out to lynch or kill black people. In fact, he is black.
Thirty-five-year-old Sixx King says he’s using the offensive symbol to highlight a serious problem: black on black crime.
“We’re bringing awareness to the black hypocrisy, complacency and apathy in the African-American community,” said King.
According to the FBI, in 2011 more than 7,000 black people were killed. King’s sign reads that the KKK killed 3,446 blacks in 86 years, while black on black murders surpass that number every six months.
“All my anger for my ancestors who went through that terror of a Ku Klux Klan hood and what that symbolizes to me, evoked anger,” said Philadelphia Councilman Curtis Jones Jr. “I was angry!”
Councilman Jones took a picture of what he witnessed and posted it on Facebook. Hundreds have shared the image, and the comments were mixed.
“You have to sit back and digest his message,” said Jones. “Sit back and understand the mother who was carrying the picture of her child. It’s not a statistic. It’s a human being with a name who will be missed.”
“He was an exceptional football athlete,” said Javes Phelps-Washington. “He was in his second year in college. He was a good kid.”READ MORE: Sixers Fall To Brooklyn Nets In Home Opener As Ben Simmons Saga Continues
Phelps-Washington rallied with King. Her son, Christopher, was among the 324 murdered in Philadelphia in 2011. Police say 85% of those killed that year were black.
Phelps-Washington is part of a documentary King recently produced about black on black crime.
King told me he didn’t intend to offend anyone. When asked if he thinks standing on the corner in a KKK outfit will really make a difference, King said, “I don’t think it will stop someone from killing. But hopefully, it would make that person think.”
“I don’t agree with that symbolization,” said Jones. “But you can’t ignore the message, so I support what he did.”
For more information on how you can get involved and be a part of the solution, check out one of these organizations: