After flyers promoting regular demonstrations of “white strength” were posted in the Woodlawn section of the Bronx, local elected official were quick to condemn the racist message being promoted.
Bronx, NY – The rise in boldness of white supremacists has run into a brick wall of opposition in the Bronx. Assemblyman Jeffrey Dinowitz, Congressman Eliot Engel, Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr., and Councilmember Andrew Cohen were quick to denounce the attempted creation of a new hate group in Woodlawn, which had raised concern among local residents after several flyers were posted in northeastern Van Cortlandt Park at Healy Field, along Nursery Road, and at the Woodlawn Dog Run. The flyers were quickly taken down and it is unknown if other flyers were posted and also taken down before anyone noticed them. The flyer called for public displays along Katonah Avenue on pre-designated days in order to demonstrate “White Strength.”
Corresponding with the rise in popularity of Donald Trump since 2015 and his apparent unwillingness to condemn supporters who espouse racist views, there has been a startling increase in amateur hate groups in and around New York City. Prior to this flyer, which identifies their group as “White Excellence,” there was an incident over the summer at Fort Tryon Park involving a group called “Identity Europa.” Both groups have used similar language, calling on men of European heritage to defend their history and espousing xenophobic views which often accuse immigrants of trying to replace them. Perhaps most prominently, such groups were on display at a 2017 hate rally in Charlottesville, VA which resulted in the death of one counter-protester. President Trump at the time refused to denounce the hate groups involved, instead saying he thought “there is blame on both sides.”
The Woodlawn neighborhood has long been a respite for New Yorkers who are looking for a more secluded neighborhood, attracting a rich tapestry of residents. The neighborhood’s commercial activity is mostly centered around Katonah Avenue.
“Hatred has no place anywhere in our borough or our city. Given recent incidents motivated by hatred that have taken place across this nation it is important that we come together as elected officials and community leaders to denounce such revolting conduct in all its forms. I stand with Assemblyman Dinowitz and my colleagues in government to denounce this flyer and its message, and to urge our constituents to rip these flyers down when they see them. We will not tolerate hatred, racism or discrimination in The Bronx or anywhere else,” said Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr.
Assemblyman Jeffrey Dinowitz said: “I am disgusted at whoever created this flyer and there is no place for racism and bigotry in our community. This is not an issue of first amendment rights, no matter how much racists would like it to be, but rather is an attempt to intimidate other people. In my opinion, the person or people responsible have been ginned up by Donald Trump and his supporters who would rather see our country return to the days when only land-owning white males were allowed to vote. I believe that when a President calls himself a nationalist, it is a signal to racists, anti-Semites, Islamophobes, and other haters that he is with them. Hatred must always be condemned and I know that the good people of Woodlawn would be disgusted by these racist losers.”
Congressman Eliot Engel said: “This type of despicable behavior is becoming more and more prevalent in our society, and the Bronx is not immune. Anyone who doesn’t see a correlation between these acts of hate and the type of vile rhetoric we’re hearing at the very top of our government is kidding themselves. All of us must be united and clear in our condemnation of racism, anti-Semitism, and hatred of any kind. This vile, divisive garbage has no place in our community.”
“This is another vile display of hate occurring our community. It is clear that intolerance is on the rise across the country, but to see such a horrendous display of bigotry and intimidation in our loving Woodlawn community is absolutely appalling. The persons responsible for this disgusting act are in no way indicative of the values and sentiments shared by the members of our community. We must recognize the impact that this type of divisive rhetoric can have and collectively condemn such occurrences. I remain fully committed to fighting against all acts of hate in our district.” said New York City Council Member Andrew Cohen.