Latino festival canceled after Mollie Tibbetts' killing

Latino festival canceled after Mollie Tibbetts' murder

PERRY, IA (WHOTV/CNN) - The undocumented status of Mollie Tibbetts' suspected killer is stirring up anti-immigration sentiment in some political circles.

In the wake of that, one Iowa organization decided to cancel its Latin celebration.

But that doesn't mean there won't be any rallies there this weekend.

"It was a very difficult decision," said Jon Wolseth, an organizer with Hispanics United for Perry.

HUP holds an annual festival that celebrates Latino heritage.

This year they decided to call it off.

"We felt that this was not the right time for a community celebration," Wolseth said.

Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement said the recent politicization surrounding the Mollie Tibbetts case has sparked an anti-immigration narrative.

But HUP was unable to say if the immigration backlash or safety concerns prompted its decision.

The Latino festival prompted one community member to take action.

TJ Maylum of Peace, Love and Unity, is organizing a rally.

"The rally will be held tomorrow from noon to one, which does coincide with the time HUP was going to have their Latino Fest," Maylum said. "The message of the rally is the title of the rally: Peace, Love and Unity. This is a tight knit community. Our neighbors are blended, and when we see some neighbors hurting, it really does hurt us all."

Organizers say the Peace, Love and Unity rally is going to happen, rain or shine.

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