Tag: North Dakota United Against Hate

Nation, city, misleading public on refugee costs

Refugees cost taxpayers money, but the buck doesn’t stop there

By C.S. Hagen
FARGO – All fingers point to refugees being cost positive for cities, states, and the nation, and yet pressure from the Trump Administration on local city leaders to curb the influx of “huddled masses” persists.

In Washington D.C., Trump Administration officials are refusing to recognize a recent study performed by the Department of Health and Human Services, or H.H.S., that reported refugees brought in $63 billion more in government revenue over the past decade than they cost, according to the Washington Post and New York Times.

A different study, also ignored, came from Wilson Sheehan Lab for Economic Opportunities, or LEO, a research department at the University of Notre Dame. The March 2017 study stated refugee resettlement is cost-beneficial to the United States, especially with resettled children.

Over a 20-year period, refugees who entered the United States between 18 and 45 years of age, paid taxes in excess of support received by $21,200.

The White House defended its rejection of the study by saying H.H.S.’s conclusions were illegitimate and politically motivated, according to the New York Times. And yet right-wing media outlets, such as Breitbart, refuse to report on such numbers, reporting instead that taxpayers will spend $4.1 billion in 2017 to support 519,018 refugees resettled in the United States since 2009. Little to no mention is made of refugee benefits in the article.

In Fargo, a similar pattern has emerged. Despite the lack of hard, cold, statistical data, reports and testimonies from business leaders, entrepreneurs, police, human rights organizations, and new Americans echo national findings, saying refugees are beneficial for Fargo and the state.

“Unfortunately, the refugee and immigrant controversy is no longer about fact-finding,” Hukun Abdullahi, member of the Moorhead Human Rights Commission and North Dakota United Against Hate, said.

Originally from Somalia, Abdullahi has taken a stand against recent immigration issues and increasing hate crimes in Fargo. Washington D.C.’s anti-refugee agenda has spread like a virus, infecting local governments and encouraging bigots to target New Americans and trump up political agendas.

“This issue is more about Making America Great Again or in other words, Making America White again,” Abdullahi said. “Historically, immigrants and refugees have been blessed to obtain bipartisan support. Maybe that was because most immigrants and refugees were white and Christian at the time. They were able to blend in more easily and were perceived more ‘American’ per se. With growing numbers of immigrants who are no longer white or Christian, this has really made people think about what America has become, and thus want their country back.”

The country, the state, and even Fargo’s demographics have changed, and xenophobia lies at the root of such opposition, Abdullahi said.

“There is nothing wrong to that about having an opinion,” Abdullahi said. “What is wrong, however, is there are still groups of people who never want immigrants and refugees to be seen as equal to them.”

Within President Donald Trump’s first week of taking office, the refugee issue came under fierce debate when Trump signed an executive order stating “Secretary of State shall, within one year of the date of this order, provide a report on the estimated long-term costs of USRAP (United States Refugee Admissions Program) at the federal, state, and local levels.”

In Fargo, the fire was lit during a Fargo City Commissioners meeting on October 24, 2016, by Dave Piepkorn, who also serves as deputy mayor, when he attacked Lutheran Social Services of North Dakota, a nonprofit group responsible for handling refugees in the state.

Piepkorn wants to know the costs of refugees, an obscure price tag as few agencies distinguish refugees from other racial types. Piepkorn sees refugee resettlement as an unfunded mandate, and that the state should have the right to decide on the numbers of refugees it allows. He’s also stated that refugees are depressing wages locally, and receiving benefits other residents are not receiving.

Trump’s chief policy adviser, Stephen Miller, is using identical tactics form public opinion. Miller is concerned only with costs, not fiscal benefits, when determining the annual refugee cap, which he is attempting to slice by more than half, or less than 50,000 for the nation. On Wednesday, Trump’s Administration announced it capped the amount of refugees the nation would accept at 45,000 US, which means with 19,000 from Africa, 17,500 for the Near East and South Asia, 5,000 for East Asia, 2,000 for Europe and Central Asia, and 1,500 for Latin America and the Caribbean.

So far, Piepkorn has expressed similar if not identical considerations, despite the repeated attempts of city officials, Lutheran Social Services, and leaders from the Fargo Human Relations Commission, to discuss the issues.

Instead of agreeing to sit-downs with local leaders, Piepkorn has made his views known on right-wing radio stations such as AM 1100 The Flag Need to Know Morning Show, where Piepkorn took partial credit for influencing the former Trump special adviser Steve Bannon’s platform against immigrants.

Piepkorn has been repeatedly contacted for comment, but so far refuses to answer telephone calls or call back.

“Let’s have a conversation,” Barry Nelson, of the North Dakota Human Rights Coalition and the Fargo Human Relations Commission, said. “Dave Piepkorn has never reached out to any one of us who did this at his request. He’s never wanted to talk about it, and again he didn’t show up for the report.”

Although Piepkorn has led the charge against the displaced in Fargo, he failed to appear at one of the most important meetings pertaining to the issue.

“To me, it is a lack of leadership to not only deny the facts and figures that do not agree with that so-called leader’s ideology or opinions, but it is inhumane and immoral to target a group of residents and citizens to advance one’s agenda,” Nelson said.

To combat rising hate crimes, the Human Relations Commission passed a resolution originally proposed by the American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations, or AFL-CIO, establishing Fargo as a hate-free community. The resolution was passed on to the Fargo City Commission this week to be voted on next month, and was passed unanimously by the Moorhead City Commission on Monday.

“It puts the city on record as saying that these crimes keep occurring and allowing city leaders to make a statement that this city won’t tolerate hate crimes,” Nelson said.

Despite the national upheaval on immigration issues, those that are behind such political agendas and racist reforms are numerically inferior, Abdullahi said.

“Fortunately for us, this group of people is very small,” Abdullahi said. “The denial of facts from the US Government is an example how such a small group of people in influential positions could still disrupt lives of many and diminish the value of what immigrants and refugees are contributing in their new society.”

Some numbers Piepkorn has been searching for have been discovered, such as financial costs provided by the Fargo Police Department, nursing and interpreter costs from Cass County Public Health. Most agencies, however, do not track refugees.

Since January 2002, 3,677 refugees have been settled in Fargo, according to a Lutheran Social Services of North Dakota report. New Americans are employers, taxpayers, and field workers, choosing occupations few local citizens are willing to apply for.

Statistically, what is known at the local level is that refugees contributed $542.8 million to the city’s GDP in 2014, and have a spending power of $149.4 million, according to the Refugee Resettlement in Fargo report, a study commissioned to the Fargo Human Relations Commission to perform and released in April.

First-generation immigrants are cost-positive in North Dakota by approximately $3,250, and long-term benefits are incalculable, according to the study and the City of Fargo’s Community Development Department. First-generation households are cost-positive by $4,900, making North Dakota the second most cost-positive state in the nation.

Between 2011 and 2013, immigrants in North Dakota paid $133.9 million in taxes and spent $425.7 million, according to the Fargo Human Relations Commission’s first report, released in February 2017.

Nationally, since 2011, the U.S. Refugee Admission Program has received approximately 655,000 applications, with more than 75 percent of the applicants fleeing from Iraq, Myanmar, Syria, Somalia, the Democratic Republic of Congo, and Bhutan, according to the United States Government Accountability Office, or GAO.

In 2016, the United States admitted 85,000 refugees, the largest yearly number in more than 15 years, according to GAO.

“This is not cost overruns on a bridge or road construction. This is not a debate about whether or not to construct a city hall or a dam,” Nelson said. “This is putting a target squarely on the backs of men, women and children who ask only that they have a chance, just like most of our ancestors, to begin a new life in safety and security.

“This is putting human beings in harm’s way. Is that the moral leadership we want and expect in our community, in our country? I truly hope that the moral leadership and citizenry of our community will look at the true facts of refugee resettlement and see this kind of discounting and targeting for the basest and cruelest of human instincts that it is.”

Historically, the refugee debate is nothing new. In the 1840s, Americans turned their hatred on the Irish fleeing famine when potato blight struck. At that time, newspapers reported the Irish were disease-ridden, they threatened American jobs and welfare budgets, they practiced an alien religion, they were rapists and criminals — charges remarkably similar to accusations made in Fargo in 2016 by Valley News Live — and more recently by Commissioner Piepkorn — against the area’s refugees and new Americans.

In 1882, Congress passed the Chinese Exclusion Act, the first significant law restricting immigration into the United States. Chinese, at that time, were escaping persecution and civil wars, and because of their distinct culture, their Qing-styled queues, they became easily-identifiable targets for racial “purists,” who accused them of depriving jobs, unionizing the mining industry, and forcing the lowering of wages. The blatantly racist policy was not abandoned until 1943, when China became an ally with the United States against Japan.

The list goes on: French-speaking Catholic Acadians in 1755, Germans in 1848, Jewish refugees in 1848 and 1939, Vietnamese refugees in 1975, seven Middle Eastern countries in 2017.

Ironically, while Americans favored keeping the world’s downtrodden from its shores, one of the nation’s foremost and secret goals after World War II was to hunt for military and scientific booty, which sometimes came in the form of Nazi scientists, in covert actions such as the Joint Intelligence Objectives Agency’s “Operation Paperclip.”

Historically, crackdowns on refugees have led to little more than demonization, breeding division and fear. Since 1882, U.S. presidents have gone through cycles of banning or restricting ethnic groups, only to apologize years later for inflicting harm, according to professor Erika Lee, a historian at the University of Minnesota.

Lee helped start the website Immigration Syllabus, which shies away from political debate and focuses on immigration facts.

“When we close the gates, we look back on those periods with shame,” Lee said in the Star Tribune. “And I do feel that we are on the verge of repeating some of those past mistakes.”

“Refugees entering the U.S. as adults tend to have poor economic outcomes when they first enter, but they improve significantly over time,” the Wilson Sheehan Lab for Economic Opportunities report stated. “Use of Medicaid, welfare, and SNAP decrease over time, while employment and income increase.”

After 20 years in the United States, approximately 11 percent still rely on SNAP, or the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, also known as Food Stamps, and incomes increase exponentially.

Currently, the present cost of relocating a refugee is $14,384, and over time the refugee receives $86,863 in social insurance costs, but pays taxes of $122,422, which leaves a cost positive net payment by the refugee of $21,195, according to the Wilson Sheehan Lab for Economic Opportunities.

“By their tenth year in the U.S., refugees are cost-neutral,” the report stated.

The report also noted that refugees who enter the United States before turning 16 graduate college at similar or higher rates than their US-born peers. Two factors help explain poorer results for refugees 15 and older, the first being limited English, and the second that older child refugees are more likely to be unaccompanied by parents or an adult.

While opponents of refugee resettlement twist the narrative to say refugees take jobs away in Fargo, nothing could be further from the truth, James Gartin, president of the Greater Fargo-Moorhead Economic Development Corp., said.

A Regional Workforce Study reported Fargo had 6,500 unfilled jobs in 2005, a number that will grow to 30,000 by 2020.

“This inability to fill jobs has been a major contributor to the slowdown in our local economy, and the refugee resettlement program has an important part to play in addressing this workforce shortage,” Gartin said. “Cutting back on the refugee resettlement program will not benefit the Fargo-Moorhead economy. It will do the opposite.”

For those who feel refugees are prone to become criminals, think again, the Fargo Human Relations Commission reported in January 2017. Immigrants are 1.7 times less likely to become involved in crime than native-born people, according to information from the U.S. Census Bureau and reported on by the American Community Survey.

“Many are threatened by the mere fact that many of us own our homes, businesses, and drive new cars,” Abdullahi said. “It’s possible because we work hard, harder than many imagine. This haunts such people because they have always thought of us as less deserving. If it were up to them, they would not hesitate to throw us in cotton fields and strip away our rights.

“We are a minority and it will remain that way for a long period of time. I strongly believe one day, this negativity is going to go away once people start realizing we are a part of this community, just like they are. I urge former refugees and immigrants to be patient, but speak up when you see acts of racism and discrimination.

“There is nothing to be concerned about at this time, because we are legal residents and citizens and have rights, and rights to be united with our family members, as allowed by the U.S. Constitution.”

Is It Time For Hate Crime Legislation?

Activists and a handful of counter protesters gather in the rain to discuss hate crime legislation and support for victims

By C.S. Hagen
FARGO – Afternoon rain didn’t stop nearly 200 people from supporting an anti-hate rally Wednesday outside current City Hall. The event also attracted counter protesters, although they predominantly remained quiet.

Hukun Abdullahi and David Myers at the rally – photo by C.S. Hagen

Christians, Jews, Muslims, and activists spoke at the North Dakota United Against Hate rally in an attempt to garner support for hate crime victims and to begin the campaign of making hate-crime laws, which North Dakota does not currently have.

Groups such as the Democratic Socialists of America and Trans Lives Matter also showed up in support of the cause.

David Myers, a Jew, and founder of the Center for Interfaith Projects, a nonprofit organization, said much if not all hostility toward refugees is actually hostility targeting Muslims.

“I feel religiously called to welcome refugees and immigrants, including Muslims, indeed all the New Americans,” Myers said. “I am aware of the long history of prejudice against Jews. Jews have been and still are in many places of the world the ‘hated other.’ This enables me to put myself in the place of New Americans, who are Muslims.”

“The question is: how can we reduce hate directed at Muslims?”

Religious prejudice can be overcome through knowledge and personal relationships, Myers said.

“We cannot forget that a number of decades ago, the most hated religious groups in this country were Jews and Catholics,” Myers said. “This has dramatically changed.”

The two groups that people in the United States feel most positive about today are Jews and Catholics, he said.

“Do not hate the stranger in your heart, it will poison you, and make your life miserable,” Myers said.

The rally was interrupted halfway through one of the speeches, when Kevin Benko, of Fargo, shouted from a nearby parking lot.

“Hate speech is just a difference of opinion, you assholes,” Benko said.

Police officers approached him, while Pete Tefft, identified as a Nazi by Fargoan Luke Safely in February, came over to offer support.

“Muslims who are not assimilated are a problem,” Benko said. “They are under Sharia law, and if that conflicts with the Constitution, the Constitution gets thrown out.”

When asked if he disagreed with the state accepting more refugees, Benko said as long as they assimilated, he didn’t have a problem.

Kevin Benko talking to police – photo by C.S. Hagen

Tefft, who wore a red “Make America Great Again” Trump hat, said he had friends with him, but they were there primarily to watch his back. He didn’t admit to being a Nazi, or a Nazi sympathizer, but worries that by 2050 white people in America will be the minority.

“My contention is that most of what constitutes hate speech affects pro-white speech,” Tefft said. “Anti hate speech is synonymous with anti-white and anti-America.”

Since being identified as a Nazi, he has received death threats, and has been followed out of bars for his white supremacy beliefs.

Pete Tefft – photo by C.S. Hagen

“I’m a pro-white activist,” Tefft said. “Nazi is a racial pejorative, kinda like our N-word. If you want to be real, myself, a pro-white activist, maybe some National Socialists and other pro-white organizations, typically have been the only ones willing to stand forward to protect the freedoms of everyone on the right.”

So far, his beliefs and followers have had little more than an online presence. Two days before the rally, an advertisement appeared on Facebook entitled “Anti-white Speech Discussion,” organized by Hal Resnick, which was scheduled for the same time. 

Resnick is listed as the new unit leader for the Nazi party, or Nationalist Socialist Movement of North Dakota, according to the Nationalist Socialist Magazine, or NSM88. The numerals stand for the letter H, short for “Heil Hitler.”

Tefft was hoping for more people to attend the rally, he said. The North Dakota United Against Hate Facebook page had more than 700 people interested in going, and nearly 350 going to the event. Due to the rain, approximately 200 people showed, Fargo Police Cultural Liaison Officer Vince Kempf said.

Tefft plans to hold his own rally soon, he said. “I want to bring awareness to a lot of these issues and the only way to do it is out in the public square.”

One of his upcoming rally’s intentions is to show that mass immigration into North Dakota is an anti-white policy, he said.

“We’re expected to foot the bill and not ask any questions,” Tefft said.

Fargo City Commissioner Dave Piepkorn’s controversial proposal last fall into investigating the costs behind refugees in Fargo is not enough, Tefft said. He called Piepkorn an “economic fetishist,” concerned primarily with financial statistics and not with white civil rights and anti-white policies.

James Bergman and Pete Tefft at the North Dakota United Against Hate rally – photo by C.S. Hagen

The investigation has sparked numerous protests, including an attempt to force Pipekorn to step down.

An organizer of Wednesday’s event, Michelle Ridz, of the High Plains Fair Housing Center, told those gathered to join the fight against hate crime on Facebook, where future incidents can be reported, and a task force would soon be formed to deal with such acts.

More than 30 percent of hate crimes occur near the home, Ridz said.

“What is more unsettling is being targeted in your own home?” Ridz said.

Most hate crimes are not reported, but victims can find recourse through the Federal Fair Housing Act, she said.

Reverend Michelle Webber, pastor of the First Congregational UCC Church in Moorhead, said once she saw the rains coming, she thought about staying home.

Musa B Bajaber speaking at the North Dakota United Against Hate rally – photo by C.S. Hagen

“It sure would be nice to stay in my living room, but then I thought, people who experience hate speech and hate violence don’t get to choose when it’s convenient for them,” Webber said.

“Speaking against hate, wet from the rain, is a privilege.”

Fargo City Commissioner John Strand said growing up in the North Dakota countryside offered him a perspective Fargoan can practice to begin understanding each other.

“My suggestion to all of us in our community is that we wave at each other, we greet each other, we genuinely ask how are you doing today when we see other people,” Strand said. “We mean it, we just don’t do it for the sake of, but you act, and engage and you learn from each other.”

Many of the speakers referred to the Walmart parking lot incident where a white woman, Amber Hensley, yelled at three Muslim women, “we are going to kill you all.”

“A simple story of anger and hate that turned into forgiveness,” Musa B Bajaber said of the incident. “I am sure that Amber did get emails and messages from idiots who said they got her back, and I am sure that Sarah and Layela were asked to push further and never to budge. But all three disappointed those who wanted to see an escalation, and we should salute them for that.

“People of Fargo and Moorhead through the experience we have been through and the happy ending to it, we put a dent on the hateful rhetoric that is sweeping the United States,” Bajaber said.

“Hate crime is not just emotional and instilling fear in the community,” Barry Nelson of the North Dakota Human Rights Coalition said. “It also has dramatic economic impacts on the people who have been affected.” Two people in recent years who were the victims of hate crimes can no longer work, Nelson said, and need help.

Fargo City Commissioner John Strand speaking – photo by C.S. Hagen

Fargo Mayor Tim Mahoney, whose message was read by Strand, said the city and the state have no choice but to grow.

“The Fargo I know is a city that celebrates and promotes diversity, all while preserving and respecting our citizens’ safety and dignity,” Mahoney said. “We must commit ourselves to resist hate and violence in all forms. We need to agree that fellow citizens sometimes may need a hand up, and not a hand down. We also need to realize that someday, due to circumstances beyond our control, we could become refugees. It could happen to any one of us, and how would we want to be treated.”

“We need to support victims of hate crimes and send a strong message that this behavior has zero tolerance here.”

“Those of us who have been here so long we never talked about it [hate crimes],” Fowzia Adde, executive director of the Immigrant Development Center, said. “It’s better for us to talk about it now, or our community will not grow. We want to hold hands. We want our children to have a future, here.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hate Crime Law Discussion Sparks Fierce Debate

Call for disguised Nazis to counter anti-hate rally, verbal punches thrown in mainstream editorials  

By C.S. Hagen
FARGO – Moments before Makruun Hagar lost his nose, he tried to settle a domestic fight between a married couple, which began in the back of his taxi cab.

But when he intervened, he said he was called racial slurs, and then Dominque Martinez attacked — punching his head then biting off his nose, permanently disfiguring him.

A struggle with police later ensued, but not before Martinez’s wife was struck and bit as well, the West Fargo Police Department’s incident report stated.

Police reports indicate Hagar might have saved the woman’s life.

“She was pretty sure that if she had not had help that Dominque would have more than likely have killed her that night,” West Fargo Police Detective Greg Warren stated in the police report.

Makruun Hagar – photo by C.S. Hagen

The incident was labelled as an assault case, and Martinez was later found not criminally responsible in August 2015 by a Cass County judge, because he suffered from PTSD after duty with Marines in Afghanistan. He was remanded to the custody of the Veterans Affairs Medical Center for five years, according to court documents.

Nearly three years later, Hagar’s nose has healed, but a dark brown patch stands as a stark testimony to the assault. He keeps the bloodstained t-shirt he wore that day in November 2014 close, as a constant reminder of hate, and as a warning to his five young children.

“He brought a lot of problems for me and my family,” Hagar said. “Nobody can help, doctors can’t do anything anymore.”

In the winter months, he has difficulty breathing. He’s still on medication, but the long term effects aren’t just physical.

“Everyday, when I pick up people, sometimes people ask me about my religion, and then they ask if I’m a terrorist,” Hagar, who escaped the wars and famine in Somalia in 2005, said. “If someone bit my nose, and if I was white, the community would help.”

Days after a local white woman, Amber Elizabeth Hensley, threatened to kill all Muslims in a Walmart parking lot while being filmed, the incident was swept under the rug after apologies were made. But rising local civil rights leader, Hukun Abdullahi, founder of the Afro American Development Association, spoke before the Fargo City Commissioners meeting this week saying that city leaders were partly responsible for the recent uptick in hate-related crimes: five incidents so far in 2017.

(left to right) Rowda Soyan, Sarah and Laleyla Hassan prepare to speak about their encounter with racism at the local Walmart – photo by C.S. Hagen

“Time has come to address the elephant in the room,” Abdullahi said. “As much as me and my organization have tried to bolster confidence among refugees and immigrants and have focused on integration efforts and unity over the months, we have started realizing it has just been a one-way process. The state and the city asking for how much it cost to have refugees in the communities, while is a sensible question from the financial standpoint, it has negatively impacted our image in the community, and might also have increased the number of hostile incidents geared towards refugees.”

Hagar, like many new Americans who have settled in the Fargo area in recent years, is black skinned, and speaks with an accent. He is different from the predominantly white community North Dakota has fostered since its inception in 1889.

Some in Fargo, don’t like the change, and think inquiries into costs behind refugees, initiated by Fargo City Commissioner Dave Piepkorn, are warranted. A battle of words ensued.

“Abdullahi has branded perfectly legitimate inquiry into public policy as tantamount to inciting racially-motivated incidents,” Rob Port, The Forum editorialist of Say Anything Blog said. “That’s not something a person interested in comity and sound public policy does.”

When confronted about the editorial as race baiting by Kade Ferris, social media director for Unity-USA, Port denied the claim on  Facebook.

“No. Just not willing to let a rank opportunist sideline an important debate,” Port said.

“So you do this by being a rank opportunist yourself?” Ferris said.

“No more anti-white speech,” Fargoan Pete Tefft, wrote on his Facebook page. Tefft was identified by Fargo resident Luke Safely as a Nazi sympathizer in February after an incident with a lone pickup truck waving a Confederate flag cruised Broadway.

“We should fight rhetoric with rhetoric,” Tefft said in a Facebook post. “The ‘refugee’ resettlement program is anti-white policy. Multiculturalism to this degree will never work unless draconian laws are passed. Policies that hinder birth rate[s] of one group (the major ethnic group), and strengthen another is the definitely [definition] of genocide.”

On the Daily Stormer website, Tefft, who also goes by the name Chad Radkersburg, said Hensley did nothing wrong, and that he is planning on speaking out.

“Rally to support her is planned. Working on meeting organizer. She is no Chad, so she cucked and apologized.”

Mike McFeely, a radio personality and editorialist for The Forum, took the first shot on July 27 saying North Dakota Nice is more like North Dakota Nasty.

“The Band-Aid started to be peeled back a few years ago when some in the media began to target refugees and immigrants as a problem and, with Facebook and talk radio at our disposal, we began to hear some of the ugliness that previously hadn’t crawled out from under the rocks,” McFeely wrote. “More recently, a city commissioner and a county commissioner began to question the cost of refugees to the almighty taxpayer—hey, they were just innocently asking questions and most certainly not playing to a base of racists and xenophobes—and the warts were exposed some more.”

Nazis called to Fargo
For a few minutes early Monday morning, an advertisement appeared on Facebook entitled “Anti-white Speech Discussion,” organized by Hal Resnick, scheduled for August 2, at 5:29 p.m., at the Fargo Civic Center, which coincides with the North Dakota United Against Hate rally.

Resnick is listed as the new unit leader for the Nazi party, or Nationalist Socialist Movement of North Dakota, according to the Nationalist Socialist Magazine, or NSM88. The numerals stand for the letter H, short for “Heil Hitler.”

The advertisement was quickly taken down, but during the few minutes it was online, it attracted at least 12 people who identified with “white identity,” and “civil rights.”

A description for the event sponsored by the Flyovers, FEHU, and the National Socialist Movement of North Dakota, condemned anti-white speech, calling civil rights workers today as guilty participants in white genocide.

The Flyovers short-lived logo while advertising to counter rally August 2 rally against hate crime

“All attendees are encouraged to come incognito,” the description reported. “In the last few months it has become increasingly clear that any and all pro-diversity, pro-refugee, pro-hate speech laws is [are] implicitly anti white. Pro-diversity speech to many people means less white people.”

Pro-hate speech was linked to thought policing, for which there are laws called conspiracy laws, the description continued. “Passing policies that lower birth rates and negatively affect the majority ethnic group for the interests of another group is classified as genocide. Pro-white speech is not hate speech. Censoring pro-white speech is a civil and human rights violation.”

The organizations involved pinpointed the need to show support for recent victims, to ensure no one is singled out because of race, religion, but also called attention to the need to bring awareness for “white rights.” Organizers also called on state and federal agencies to investigate recent incidents of anti-white policies and crimes of conspiracy and for those found offending to be brought up on crimes against humanity and conspiracy to commit ethnic genocide.

“Attempts to silence us will be seen as admittance of guilt to our charges,” the description reported. “We call upon Fargo leaders to vow to uphold free speech laws to further discuss these issues and to denounce ‘hate speech law advocates’ as anti-American.”

In February, posters were stapled to telephone poles around the downtown area promoting white power, and were reportedly sponsored by “The Flyovers,” which depicted the communist hammer and sickle, the Jewish star, a syringe, and a marijuana leaf as rain falling on a family under an umbrella emblazoned with a symbol reminiscent of a swastika. Other posters were reportedly supported by VDare, Counter-Currents, American Renaissance, The Right Stuff, Redice.TV, and The Occidental Observer, all of whom are listed as nationalistic and racial purist hate organizations.

The Flyovers is a reference to the areas usually looked over by national politics, or the flyover states, and their support for Trump and predominantly white heritage, according to Unity-USA, a nonprofit hate watch organization.

City challenged on hate
“This has been a very trying week for the Fargo-Moorhead community, following the incident of Islamophobia which took place at the Fargo Walmart,” Ferris said. “The fact that there could be an amicable resolution to this sad event gives us hope. However, we cannot overlook the fact that this event is just a real-world manifestation of racist and prejudicial feelings that are bubbling beneath the surface here in this community.”

Ferris defended Abdullahi’s speech before the Fargo City Commissioners, saying current laws or lack thereof, the mainstream media, and certain city leaders have guided the tension to a boiling point.

“When local politicians publicly vilify entire groups, such as the growing immigrant population, to score cheap points in their upcoming election, or when local media personalities post leading and biased news stories to drum up ratings, it can only end in a case such as this,” Ferris said. “Just look at any story about immigrants on some of our local news outlets. Go to the comment section to get a sense of the real feelings of some of the people out there. The words of Amber Hensley are pretty much par for the course for many who haunt these stories for a chance to spew their own nativist and prejudiced bile.”

“In the past year, North Dakota has become the laughing stock of the global community, Andrea Denault, legislative coordinator with North Dakota Human Rights Coalition, said. “Our cartoonish militarized response to unarmed water protectors at Standing Rock, recent FBI statistics revealing we are second in the nation for hate crimes, and now viral videos recording xenophobic hate speech from a Fargo parking lot, there is no hiding. We have earned a reputation for ourselves.”

Fargo City Commissioner John Strand asked Abdullahi to speak before the city commissioners’ meeting, saying that it’s no secret that the diversity issue has been an important one for the city for the past year. Days before the Walmart incident occurred, the Human Relations Commission was discussing how the city would move forward when confronted with hate crimes and hate speech, Strand said.

“Who would have thought the next day that the community would be challenged with something of that nature that really put Fargo on the map in a way that is not very much what we would like to see,” Strand said.

“We’ve had an interesting week,” Mayor Tim Mahoney said. “We really need to look at hate crime legislation in our state.”

Barry Nelson, of the Human Relations Commission and of the North Dakota Human Rights Coalition, asked the question is there more hate crime in Fargo now, or are people reporting more? North Dakota ranks second in the nation for hate crime incidents, he said.

“Are we a community in a position to respond appropriately?” Nelson said before the city commissioners meeting. “Is the crime being charged out appropriately? Is our judicial system in a position to make sure that justice is being served? I do have some serious questions about all of these aspects. Is any level of hate crime and hate speech acceptable in our community?”

To combat hate crime, laws must be in place, Nelson said. North Dakota does not recognize hate crimes, citing that state legislation already protects victims of assault.

Nelson cited an example of hate crime, an assault on a refugee while moving into an apartment, in which one of the perpetrators was released from jail and fined $250.

Education and hate crime laws are the answers to combat hate crime, Nelson said.

Chair of the Human Relations Commission, Rachel Hoffman, and Nelson said the rally on Wednesday was meant to raise awareness about hate crime, help raise financial support for victims, such as Hagar, and to once again put hate crime legislation on the state’s agenda.

“The Walmart incident is an example of what is wrong with our community,” Abdullahi said. “Ethnic communities like ours are losing our battles to integrate communities and no help appears on the horizon. Fear, anger, superiority, religion, differences, hostile media- all these negatives have consumed people, and sadly, it is a shame that the city has basically stayed quiet.”

“If we are to move forward as a community we need to make sure to stand up whenever we hear or see discrimination of any sort,” Ferris said. “For a long time, North Dakota nice has been putting on a smile for the public and pretend to be welcoming, while holding tight-lipped deep feelings of passive-aggressiveness and prejudice for fear of insulting our neighbors and publicly humiliating ourselves.  However, since the last election cycle, such niceness has gone out the window. We need to reclaim nice. We need to make it mean something. It cannot just be words. It must be action, and it is the responsibility of everyone.”

Denault said that the year-long investigation into the costs of refugees is inappropriate.

“I don’t often like to talk about ‘just the numbers’ though because these are people who are more than just a unit of labor,” Denault said. “They are human beings fighting for their lives.”

“We live in an agricultural state,” Denault said. “Think of how many farmers are receiving farm subsidies. You don’t see anyone accosting them at Walmart and threatening to kill them. It would be preposterous. The same goes for these random acts of racism towards Natives and New Americans. The xenophobia, Islamophobia, homophobia, it all comes from fundamentally misguided notions about other groups of people, particularly the misinformation about how much these groups ‘cost’ us.”

“When you get to know a lot of the members of the New American community you’ll realize that they are not just refugees. Many of them are second and third generation North Dakotans, people whose parents, after obtaining legal U.S. citizenship, still decided to stay in North Dakota because they love it here. They’ve opened businesses, bought homes, they are paying taxes. They are literally contributing to the economy in the exact same way everyone else is. None of them deserve this type of treatment.”

The North Dakota United Against Hate rally is scheduled for Wednesday, August 2, at 5:30 p.m. by the Fargo Civic Center.

 

© 2017 C.S.News

Theme by Anders NorenUp ↑

close
Facebook Iconfacebook like buttonTwitter Icontwitter follow buttonVisit Our GoodReads