Why not try real solutions?
Spokane could just decide to love its community more. Everyone wants less crime, but leaning on police to do all the work just creates more prisoners. We need to actually invest in our community; in each other.
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.
Key Info from Video of Northwest Grassroots July 11 Meeting
The 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.”
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.
The Spokesman Review: Spokane GOP chairwoman defends alt-right provocateur James Allsup at tea party meeting
The Spokesman Review: Shawn Vestal: Spokane GOP again in awkward embrace of white nationalist James Allsup