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Press Release: JULY 31, 2018

Spokane County Republican Leaders Host White Nationalist James Allsup

Spokane, WA -- An online video (archived here) shows key GOP leaders in Spokane County hosting hate group organizer James Allsup at a July event. Allsup is a prominent member of the white nationalist group Identity Evropa and participated in the deadly August 2017 Charlottesville, VA hate rally.

In June, Spokane County GOP Chairwoman Cecily Wright denied any affiliation with Allsup and stated that his “past statements, affiliations and actions are deeply out-of-step with the values of the Republican Party, as well as the values of the Spokane County GOP and our members.” However, the July 11th video shows Wright hosting -- and praising -- Allsup at a Northwest Grassroots gathering of conservative activists. City of Spokane Valley Mayor Rod Higgins and Spokane County Treasurer Rob Chase also participated in the event, as documented in this longer video (archived here).

“We cannot take for granted the integrity of our public officials when they denounce white nationalism in the press, while privately endorsing their leaders and values. We can’t reasonably assume public officials will uphold our rights when they applaud those who would harm us,” said Pastor Walter Kendricks, spokesman and co-founder of Spokane Community Against Racism.

“Our Spokane region has a strong track record of standing up against white nationalism. Together, we’ve defeated the Aryan Nations; we’ve defeated anti-immigrant, anti-gay, and anti-trans policies; and we’re committed to standing shoulder-to-shoulder with targeted communities to defeat this harmful ideology any time it tries to gain a foothold.” said Liz Moore, director of the Peace and Justice Action League of Spokane.

Local organizations are holding a rally to unite the Spokane community against white nationalism on Thursday at 5:30pm in front of the Spokane County Courthouse. The rally will call on the GOP in Spokane County and Washington State to reject white nationalism and ensure that its supporters do not hold positions within the party.

Organizations uniting to respond include the Spokane Community Against Racism, Peace and Justice Action League of Spokane, the City of Spokane Human Rights Commission, Spokane NOW, Families Against Bigotry, Fuse Washington, Western States Center, and others.

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Background on Allsup

  • James Allsup is a prominent member of Identity Evropa, a white nationalist organization which co-organized and participated in August 2017’s deadly march in Charlottesville, Virginia, which resulted in the death of 32-year-old Heather Heyer. He has also shared a platform with neo-Nazi Richard Spencer and spoken on the neo-Nazi Daily Stormer’s “Daily Shoah” podcast. (“Shoah” is another word for the Holocaust.)

  • Allsup has held several leadership roles within Republican Party institutions, including serving as statewide chair of the Washington Federation of College Republicans. In June Allsup was elected a Precinct Committee Officer in the Republican Party in Whitman County. James Allsup and Identity Evropa broadly are pushing an “entryist” strategy: Allsup plans for Identity Evropa to take over the Republican Party in “five to ten years,” according to a June 3, 2018 Identity Evropa podcast. Among his closest political allies, Allsup is open about his use of Republican Party structures to further his white nationalist agenda, saying, “Now of course I am not the GOP shill here. I am not going to tell you that knocking doors for Republican congressmen is going to save the West or save, you know, [laughs] ‘European Americans.’ [...] But it is a means to an end. This political involvement is a means to our political ends.”

  • Over Memorial Day weekend 2018 in Spokane, Allsup joined several Identity Evropa members for activities including targeting a local refugee relief charity (World Relief) with fliers to protest them.

Key info from video of Northwest Grassroots July 11 meeting

  • he video of Ms. Wright introducing Allsup can be found here (archived here in case of deletion). There is a second video of the entire evening (describing the events in Charlottesville as a misunderstood “pro-America rally”) which can be found here (archived here) in which City of Spokane Valley Mayor Rod Higgins spoke.

  • In a July 3 news story in The Inlander, Cecily Wright denounced Allsup and disavowed him, saying, “I’d like to go punch [James Allsup] in the nose myself.” This stands in contrast to the sympathetic introduction Wright gave Allsup on July 11th.

  • In her warm introduction of the white nationalist organizer, Wright displayed a powerpoint slide with a cartoon noose and a list of terms including “white supremacist” and “racist” and referred to use of these terms as “label lynching.” She then played a video of Allsup’s introduction of Donald Trump at a rally and said, “And did you hear anybody in the video that you disagree with? No? Okay.” Throughout the meeting, Allsup’s statements and Wright’s praise of him were met with support.

  • In his comments to the group Allsup stressed his connections to young people and urged Republicans to be unapologetic: “When the left uses labels like ‘white nationalist,’ remember they’re trying to tell their story...The left controls the media...Don’t trust the media, because they are going to lie to you.”

  • The first commenter from the audience, self-identified as “John” said, “I had a chance to sit down with James...Action is what the Republican Party needs so strongly. How’d you like to have a couple of hundred people like James here in Spokane? [loud applause] We’re going to make things happen...We’re going to make stuff happen, and this is the start of it.”

Local background

  • Spokane County has a long history of successfully countering hate groups, from the Aryan Nations in the 1990s to a successful court challenge to Prop 1, an anti-immigrant initiative backed by hate group funding defeated by a broad coalition just last year.

The opposition to the anti-immigrant initiative included business leaders who stated: “A welcoming and inclusive Spokane is in everyone’s best interests and we will strive to keep it that way. Strong lodging, tourism, business, entertainment and sports industries benefit the entire region. Key to our success in all of these areas is our ability to attract a diverse group of people who know they are welcome in our community.” Statement from Spokane Public Facilities District, Visit Spokane, Spokane Hotel-Motel Association, Spokane Sports Commission, Greater Spokane Incorporated, January 2016, http://pjals.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/09/GSI-Position-Statement.pdf

 

MORE ON THIS IN THE NEWS

 
 
 

An Open Letter to the Spokane Regional Law and Justice Council,

In April 2016, Spokane County was awarded a $1.75 Million MacArthur Foundation Safety and Justice Challenge Grant. The grant application was spearheaded by the Spokane Regional Law and Justice Council (SRLJC). Prior to receiving the grant, members of the Spokane community were invited, recruited actually, to participate in community forums and meetings where we heard about the SRLJC‘s proposed commitment to reducing the county’s jail population and the over-representation of people of color, and their desire to have community members actively engaged with them in the process.

The diverse group of community members that participated in the lead up to the grant application was enthusiastically supportive of the SRLJC’s efforts. In fact, it was this high level of engagement by the Spokane community, initially prized by the SRLJC and recognized in their grant application, that was touted by the MacArthur Foundation as one of the factors behind its decision to award the highly competitive grant to Spokane.

However, in the two years that have passed since Spokane received the MacArthur Foundation grant, the enthusiasm from many of the community members who were initially engaged with the SRLJC has been replaced with frustration, dissatisfaction and disappointment.

One of the primary frustrations has been the community’s perception that there is a lack of transparency and accountability from the SRLJC regarding its work in general, and the MacArthur Foundation grant in particular, and that the community’s desire to be collaborative partners in the jail reform process has been met with resistance, deflection, avoidance, and at times with what has appeared to be outright hostility.

Among other things, community members have been repeatedly making the same two requests of the SRLJC. To no avail.

1) Disaggregated data

The MacArthur Foundation grant application stated the following:

“Embracing a data driven approach, we will continue collection of race/ethnicity data across all decision points, and will expand beyond current collection points as well. Using Phase I baseline data, we will collect and provide data on a quarterly basis to the following committees for review, feedback and solutions: RED subcommittee; Spokane Regional Law and Justice Council (SRLJC); Smart Justice Spokane*, Spokane Alliance*, and the local NAACP. Training will be provided to departments at major data entry points (e.g. law enforcement, jail booking) to ensure proper race/ethnicity data is collected.”

We are not aware that this has taken place and as a result we are asking again for data across all decision points, that is disaggregated (by race, ethnicity, gender, and age), and we are specifically asking for disaggregated data from all judges in the city of Spokane and the County, from the year 2000-Present regarding the following: Crimes, Judgments, Assigned Amount of Legal Financial Obligations (LFO’s), Set Bail and Length of Sentence.

2) Grant Spending Breakdown (Budget)

In the interest of transparency and accountability, members of the community have repeatedly asked for a record of how the $1.75 Million MacArthur Foundation grant funds have been spent to date. How does that spending compare to the grant application and how has that spending impacted Spokane’s jail population?

We, the undersigned, are publicly making these same requests again and we encourage others in the community to do the same. Our intention is not to be combative or adversarial, but as was stated in the SRLJC MacArthur Foundation grant application, “continuing to work with our active community groups should allow us to make significant progress in reducing racial/ethnic disparities.” However, successfully working with the Spokane community is not a given. It requires mutual respect, meaningful participation, transparency and accountability. We are requesting all four.

For more information about the MacArthur Foundation Safety and Justice Challenge Grant and the Spokane Regional Law and Justice Council, including dates and times of monthly meetings, visit: https://www.spokanecounty.org/872/Spokane-Regional-Law-Justice-Council.

Sincerely, 

Kurtis Robinson
President
Spokane, NAACP

Autumn Reed    
Spokane Area NOW
National Organization for Women

Liz Moore
Executive Director  
Peace and Justice Action League (PJALS)

Terri Anderson
Interim Executive Director
Tenants Union of Washington

Sandra Williams
Commissioner (Eastern Washington)
Washington State Commission on African American Affairs

Annemarie Frohnhoefer
Chair, Political Action Committee
Spokane Community Against Racism (SCAR)

Rev. Walter Kendricks
Pastor, Morning Star Missionary Baptist Church
President, Spokane Minsters’ Fellowship

Layne Pavey
Director
I Did The Time

Cam Zorozua
Attorney
Center for Justice

Ron Toston, Devon Wilson
Executive Committee
Smart Justice Spokane

Larry Valdez, Vang Xiong
Coalition of Color

 

Our Mission is to identify and address racial disparities through a variety of community efforts, which include education, advocacy, research, community engagement, impacting policy, and challenging existing organizations and structures.

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