Update: People in Grant County are taking swift action to make sure the Aryan Nations stay away from their community. In the midst of a packed forum sponsored by the local newspaper, community members began organizing a lime green ribbon campaign. Tony Stewart and Norm Gissel, leaders of the Kootenai County Human Rights Task Force shared their successful strategies for dealing with the neo-Nazis. Read more in the Blue Mountain Eagle.
Grant County, OR: The Blue Mountain Eagle newspaper in John Day, Oregon, is sponsoring town hall forums this Friday, Feb. 26, to air community concerns about plans by the Aryan Nations to relocate its national headquarters to their small town.
When they heard that the hate group's leader was shopping around town recently, looking to buy property for a new compound, store owners and residents poured into the streets to proclaim that the white supremacist organization is not welcome in this community.
The Aryan Nations website states that the white race is the only one descended from Adam, and Jews and non-whites are the natural enemies of white people. The group seeks to create a separate state for the so-called "Aryan race," and has long eyed the Pacific Northwest as a possible location.
The town hall forums are scheduled at the Canyon City Community Hall from 9 to 11am and again from 6 to 8pm.
Attorney Norman Gissel and Tony Stewart of the Kootenai County Task Force on Human Relations of Coeur d'Alene, Idaho will speak about their personal experience with the hate group, long headquartered in Idaho. Both men were instrumental in the $6.2 million lawsuit that bankrupted the organization and its late founder, Richard Butler, in 2000. The group is now split between the remnants of its Idaho membership and a splinter group on the East coast.
Watch the meeting as it unfolds live on Ustream.
Has the Aryan Nations, or other hate groups, appeared in your community? How did people respond?
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