Some Huntington Beach residents were dismayed to find flyers promoting the Ku Klux Klan near their homes Easter morning, Sunday, April 4, about a week before “white lives matter” demonstrations promoted on social media were scheduled to take place around the country.
A resident spotted numerous copies of KKK propaganda on the south end of 19th street, and notified authorities at about 7 a.m., Huntington Beach Lt. Julio Mendez said. The flyers appeared to feature a drawing of a robed and hooded figure standing in front of a burning cross beneath the words “White lives do matter,” in social media posts shared Sunday.
Shaun Wallace was walking his dog down 18th street when he came across a neighbor who appeared upset while holding one of the fliers at about 7:30 a.m. The two of them collected at least 14 that were left in the area, then dumped them in the garbage.
“It’s really disheartening to see openly racist material in our neighborhood,” Wallace said. “Most everyone who lives in this area that I’ve shown this to feels the same way.”
However, Wallace said there are people who hold bigoted views in his community, and other Huntington Beach residents he has communicated with online have defended the propaganda, which asserts that some “White people” are afraid to “stand up for their heritage because they are afraid of being called a racist.” He disagrees with them, but is glad that conversations regarding bigotry, diversity and inclusivity are happening in his community.
“We should own this as a community, not push this issue away,” Wallace said.
The leaflets were placed in plastic sandwich bags that were weighted down with a stone. Similar materials dropped off near residences in Newport Beach last week and Villa Park last October were packaged exactly like the papers found in Huntington Beach. Those all made reference to the same Ku Klux Klan organization.
It was not immediately clear if the three incidents were related. Newport Beach Councilman Will O’Neill said in an Instagram story that the man responsible for leaving flyers in that city was identified as an LA County resident who was not charged with any crime. He called the propaganda “hateful,” but also “protected speech.”
The flyers in Huntington Beach were left one week before “white lives matter” rallies promoted on social media were purportedly scheduled to take place in multiple locations across the country. The city’s police have been aware of those plans, Mendez said.
The department is taking steps to ensure the community remains safe in the event any demonstrations happen in Huntington Beach, Mendez said. That may include an increased police presence near popular gathering areas next week.
Some residents said they would protest against any “white lives matter” rallies that might take place in Huntington Beach, Wallace said.
Source: Orange County Register