Minority activist organizations in Denton speak out against white supremacy

Minority activist organizations in Denton speak out against white supremacy

Minority activist organizations in Denton speak out against white supremacy
July 31
21:34 2019

A coalition of minority-led activist organizations denounced hate crimes in a Wednesday press release and called on law enforcement and locally elected officials to take action in the wake of multiple reports of white supremacist activity in the area involving intimidation and violence at local businesses.

Over the weekend, Rubber Gloves Rehearsal Studio customers reported seeing protesters outside chanting “Reclaim America,” and there was an assault at Harvest House where the general manager said he was punched in the face and called an anti-Semitic slur after telling a group of people with swastika tattoos to leave, according to the Denton Record-Chronicle.

The press release came via the ICE Out coalition of the University of North Texas in collaboration with Movimiento Cosecha Denton, Stonewall Democrats of Denton County, OUTreach Denton, Disability Inclusion Society and Mueve.

Listed among the calls to actions were that the Denton Police Department conduct investigations into organized white supremacist activity, that the city council adopt a formal resolution denouncing white supremacy and that allies work alongside minority communities and organizations.

“Allies must educate themselves on what these organizations do on the daily and support their efforts in protecting our communities,” the press release stated.

In the wake of Pride Month proclamations, disability rights marches and a memorial project for the victims of lynching, white supremacist activity is rooted in the historical oppression of marginalized communities and in opposition to events that celebrate their culture, the press release stated.

“Starting in the Spring and Summer of 2017, flyers appeared at the University of North Texas, TWU, and the City of Denton, encouraging “all citizens of the United States of America to report ‘illegal aliens’ as a ‘civic duty.’ It is no coincidence that the tragic events in Charlottesville began on a college campus that same year and coincided with the city’s vote to remove a confederate statue,” the press release said.

Denton resident Nathaniel Johnson, who attended a Tuesday rally against white supremacy at the Courthouse on the Square, implored residents to come together with African-American, LGBTQ and other minority communities to help draft legislation that could fight back against hate crimes.

Having a societal system of accountability in place for people who engage in hate-crime oriented behavior is critical, Johnson said.

“Until they come to realize or fear some type of repercussions for what they do, they’re going to continue to do it,” Johnson said in an interview after the event.

“The city needs to do better, and the only way they can do that is to come together with the city council, the police department and make some changes,” he said.

While the city council hasn’t taken an official stance, all residents can bring any concerns they have to city officials, said City of Denton spokesperson Ryan Adams in an interview.

“We’re absolutely willing to engage with residents if they have concerns about their city,” Adams said.

“We’re public servants, so we are here to help, assist and serve the public,” he said. “That’s what we live for, that’s we do on a daily basis. It’s probably the most basic role that we have as city staff members and city officials.”

Featured Image: Disability rights advocates organized a rally for increased civil rights protections and to commemorate the 29th anniversary of the signing of the Americans with Disabilities Act at the Denton County Courthouse on the Square July 28, 2019 on the same weekend when local white supremacist activity was reported. Disability rights organizer Val Vera emphasized the need at the rally for minorities from the community to be the lead on advocating for equality. (NT Daily Photo by Jelani Gibson).

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Jelani Gibson

Jelani Gibson

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