TOWSON, Md. — Last week, five protesters bearing signs of hate drew the ire of hundreds of Towson University students, and the emotional scars are still fresh for many.
"It makes me so furious, like genuinely furious, because I'm a part of the LGBTQ Plus community,” said Mercia Gee, a junior, “My friends are. My family is. These are my family. These are my friends and it was very upsetting that these people were coming out and hurting my friends, my family, offending my community."
Almost a week later, students gathered on campus at Freedom Square holding signs promoting a different message---their message.
"I think students were hoping to have another opportunity to really show up and share their values and reclaim this campus as a space where they feel included, welcomed and heard," said Mahnoor Ahmed of the Center for Student Diversity.
It is a message meant to empower those who have become targets for hate.
"We will not be complicit when we witness discrimination and harassment against others, whether they be our Jewish brothers and sisters, our black brothers and sisters, our Asian brothers and sisters, our immigrant brothers and sisters, our refugee brothers and sisters or any other group that comes under attack by this fear mongering," said Zainab Chaudry of the Council on American-Islamic Relations.
On this day, the police would serve only as spectators, the potential for violence gone with the outside protesters who meant to inflame all in the name of free speech.
"They were definitely on, 'I hate you, because you're this', and it's something that I can't even control,” said Gee, “I can't control being a woman. I can't control being bisexual. So it's very insulting that they were just coming out here and telling me that I'm going to burn in hell fire because I'm gay."
Some rally goers today say they spotted pictures of the same agitators who hit their campus at a separate university in DC over the weekend, which suggests they are traveling from one school to another spreading their message of intolerance.