A group called the Midwestern Alliance has distributed posters at public locations in Columbus in support of its goal to establish a white ethnic state in Midwestern states.
The posters, which say the group is looking for young Midwestern patriots, were spotted Monday morning by a city employee and removed from four ColumBUS shelters around the city and a utility pole at Third and Franklin streets, city officials said.
A call to action is included on the Midwestern Alliance website: “As the number of nonwhites in our country increases, the time for whites to stand up for our people is now more than ever. If we fail to do so, our race will become extinct and our civilization will be swept into the dustbin of history.”
A man who identified himself as Sam Hyde, who said he handles the alliance’s website articles and the organization’s training, said in an email to The Republic that the alliance has 2,070 members, although he declined to identify the location of its headquarters.
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Hyde said posters were distributed in Columbus “because we have a large presence in and around that city, and seek to spread our message to like-minded Midwestern whites who are as of yet unaware of the movement.”
He said the regional poster campaign began late in the summer with distribution in Missouri and Illinois.
“Whites in the Midwest and across the U.S. as a whole are waking up to the fact that they are being demographically replaced,” Hyde said.
Mayor Jim Lienhoop said that he is disappointed with this week’s development, the second time in about a month that a white supremacy group has distributed information in Columbus.
“We’ve already gone on record (against hate and racism),” Lienhoop said. “And you have to wonder at some point if we all are being taken advantage of.”
Yet, the mayor was careful to reiterate a message of Columbus’ spirit of equality, fairness and inclusion.
“There is no place in the city of Columbus, or society at large, for racist ideology espoused by the group represented on this flyer, or any other white supremacist group. Their views are in direct opposition to the values we live by of equality, justice and fair play,” he said.
“Our city continues to welcome everyone and is proud to be home to persons of all faiths, races, ancestry and backgrounds, some from different nations, who bring with them a rich culture and diversity that benefits us all.”
The local signs appeared a little more than a month after a white nationalist group, the Traditionalist Worker Party, conducted a practice march in downtown Columbus.
Lt. Matt Harris, spokesman for the Columbus Police Department, said shift supervisors have told patrol officers to be on the alert for any other flyers or posters. He also said the department has been in touch with all other area law enforcement agencies about the matter and an investigation is underway.
“We want people to know that we take these matters very seriously,” Matt Harris said.
The Rev. Mike Harris of the African American Pastors Alliance called arrival of the posters disturbing.
“Why would people ever even feel comfortable passing out this kind of stuff?”
Asked to answer his own question, Pastor Harris paused.
“Let’s not forget our history in Columbus,” he said, referring to the Ku Klux Klan marching down Washington Street in April 1977.
“Generally, we have moved past that stuff, and become a city more welcoming and supportive of people who are different. So, I don’t have an answer. But we as a community will have to rise up against crazy stuff like that.”
Brittany King, an organizer of the Black Lives Matter of Columbus, said she would like to say that she is surprised to hear of the posters.
“But I am not,” King said. “We know that these people and that racism has existed for years.”
King said she is uncertain of the best action to take in the aftermath of this latest development.
“But I do think there should be some sort of response so that these people know that this city will not tolerate or allow such a group to mobilize here,” King said.
Aida Ramirez, director of the Columbus Human Rights Commission, said her agency regularly deals with ethnic and racial complaints as any city does. But she has regularly said that Columbus is open to and embraces diversity.
A mix of local groups that includes Black Lives Matter, the Bartholomew County Area Chapter of the NAACP, Columbus Area Multi-Ethnic Organization, Showing Up for Racial Justice, Bartholomew Indivisible and other organizations has been meeting recently to strategize about responding to situations with hatred groups and white supremacy organizations.
The organization’s mission statement
“We seek to create a country for whites in the Midwestern region of the USA. A country where we know who we are and proud of it without being called ‘racist’ ‘xenophobic’ ‘bigots’ or any other trigger-word insults. A country where our children can grow up in safe white communities and go to white schools with good quality education. A country where we can grow to our maximum potential without non-whites holding us down. We believe that the Midwest is the best place in the USA to create a home for white people.”
–From the website of the Midwestern Alliance at https://midwestalliance.squarespace.com/