SOMERVILLE, NJ - They came from different walks of life, different cultures, from different sides of the political aisle and different houses of worship.
Some were immigrants, some black, some white, some were Asian and Latino.
Others were gay.
Men and women, young and old, different from one another but for one common bond - all were Americans.
Several hundred people attended Monday night's "Community for Unity Rally - a Call to Action" at the historic Somerset County Courthouse where they heard more than one dozen speakers decry racism, bigotry and hatred while underscoring the need for decency, respecting different cultures, different political persausions, different religions and differences of opinion.
The speakers were united in their urgency to stand up to those who feel and act otherwise.
Much of the dialogue echoed on the themes of tolerance and inclusion, peaceful dissent and civil justice espoused by the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. The rally celebrated the 54th anniversary of King's defining "I Have a Dream" speech in 1963 on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, DC.
"Today, I am neither Democrat nor Republican, Neither left nor right, nor center.
I am an American, Born to a legacy of truth and justice, Born to a legacy of freedom and equality.
Today, I am a Patriot, who will not yield this nation to hate.
Not to Neo-Nazis, Not to thugs self-styled as militia. Not to slogans or chants. Not to gestures or flags. Not to threats and not to violence.
Hate is hate, Ugly and brutal, and we will not yield.
Today I am a Christian, Muslim and Jew, Catholic, Buddhist, Hindu and Sikh, Atheist and agnostic.
I am Asian, Latino, Hispanic, African-American, White, Native American and multi-racial.
I am an immigrant, a child of the American Revolution, a veteran and a soldier. I work in the dark depth of the mines and the high towers of Wall Street, in the factories and the farms.
I am gay, lesbian, straight, bi, trans, Man, woman and gender-neutral. I am young, old, blind and deaf, Hearing and sighted, Disabled, Powerful and unafraid.
Truth is truth, That all are created equal, and we will not yield.
Today, I am an American, a citizen of the United States, A child of this great Democracy, A child of this wise republic, Dedicated to liberty, Dedicated to action.
We will not yield."