How Ordinary Citizens of Northern Idaho Defeated the Aryan Nations By Tony Stewart and Norm Gissel, Kootenai County Task Force on Human Relations In the 1950’s a small group of religious leaders, fed up with Jim Crow racism, started the modern civil rights movement. They demanded that the promises of the Declaration of Independence and the 14th Amendment, declaring equal protection under the law to all citizens, finally be enforced. The vast majority of Americans agreed. What followed was a sea change in the cultural and political life of America. Millions of Americans were recognized for the first time as full members of our great country, and almost overnight, civil rights, formerly a fringe concern, became a mainstream one of most Americans. But as history has shown us, in a democracy, great cultural and political changes do not occur without a large array of opponents.
Press Conference Address from Tony Stewart, Kootenai County Task Force…Editor’s Note: Several weeks ago, Aryan Nations members left recruitment materials and racist pamphlets in neighborhoods in the Inland Northwest area of Washington and Idaho. In response, law enforcement, civic and community leaders from throughout the region held a press conference to speak out against racism and stand together against intolerance. Press Conference Address from Tony Stewart, Kootenai County Task Force on Human Relations “As we meet here today, our Inland Northwest communities are once again experiencing the distribution of unwanted, vile hate materials. In recent weeks, there have also been incidents of harassment and violence directed at citizens in both Spokane and Coeur d’Alene. Today’s gathering of the Inland Northwest city mayors and law enforcement officials sends a powerful united voice that we reject the hate and will aggressively prosecute hate crimes. A neo-Nazi, who recently relocated to the Inland Northwest, stated he would re-establish the Aryan Nations in the only part of the United States that would welcome and support the movement.