Residents Ask Prince William Supervisors to Denounce KKK, Hate Messages

| July 11, 2018 | 0 Comments | News

Prince William resident Kenny Boydde asks supervisors to denounce the kind of racism born in a time of slavery.

At the Prince William Board of County Supervisors meeting, July 10, residents asked for their supervisors to speak out in no uncertain terms against hate and KKK propaganda that littered New Bristow Village in Bristow and along Route 29 in Gainesville, over the weekend.

On July 8, residents of New Bristow Village and Gainesville communities woke up to find racist and anti-semitic flyers within plastic sandwich bags weighed down with birdseed. Residents, speaking at citizen’s time, wanted to hear their supervisors clearly condemn such actions.

Since then, most supervisors have issued public statements regarding the incident, and Chairman Corey Stewart responded to Bristow Beat, Wednesday, offering condemnation of the KKK and other similar groups.

Wednesday, Chairman Corey Stewart responded to a call from Bristow Beat.

“Myself and the rest of the board have condemned the KKK repeatedly, and by the way, these flyers have showed up in the past and we’ve condemned them anytime they have,” said Stewart.

However, in the days after the incident, some residents wondered if the supervisors were not planning on issuing a rebuke of the words issued by the “Loyal White Knights” of the new KKK.

On Monday, the Prince William NAACP condemned Stewart, who is the Republican running for U.S. Senate, for not having released a statement.

“The rhetoric of elected officials on multiple levels of government continues to embolden those who would preach hate in our communities,” said Prince William NAACP President Rev. Cozy Bailey. “As the pre-eminent organization for advancing social justice for all people, the Prince William NAACP condemns the Klan’s activities, and we call upon our elected officials to do the same, in no uncertain terms.” 

Stewart has become nationally known for courting controversy during his run for senate and governor of Virginia. He has posed with the Confederate Flag and met with white nationalists like Jason Kessler who was instrumental in the Charlottesville Unite the Right in August of 2017.

Stewart denounced Kessler this year before his primary election.

This week, Rolling Stone Magazine named Stewart as one of the nations “Hateful 8″ as part of their “Meet the Biggest Bigots on the Ballot in 2018” article. 

Stewarts told Bristow Beat the magazine has “zero credibility” and is “obviously politically motivated.” He sited the magazine’s handling of rape accusations against male students at University of Virginia, which proved to be false.

Stewart, who was out of town for his son’s college orientation, had been active on social media, but made no comments regarding the  KKK flyers there, leaving constituents questioning his position on the flyers. 

One woman said she is a conservative who believes rationalism “in the face of radicalism.” She said Stewart could have used his TV appearances to condemn white supremacy but he instead acted as an “opportunist,” and blamed the left and the media. “You’ve gotten the negative attention [that you wanted] and it’s affecting people,” she said.

Maggie Hansford of New Bristow Village said “the KKK came to my house this week. I was hoping something would have happened earlier; my neighborhood has been distraught.” She noted “our chairman can’t stop talking about the Confederate Flag.”

The NAACP and residents also called upon Brentsville Supervisor Jeanine Lawson (R) to denounce the flyers that appeared in her district. Lawson released a statement on Facebook condemning the flyers, Tuesday before the board meeting.

This weekend, western Prince William County was targeted by hate mongers seeking to incite hatred and divide our community. I condemn these despicable acts in the strongest terms. I have been in constant contact with the Prince William County police and have been assured by the police and federal law enforcement that they will leave no stone unturned and will use all available tools to find those responsible. As this Board unanimously proclaimed on June 26, Prince William is a hate free and bigot free zone. There is no place for repulsive rhetoric like this in our county, commonwealth or country.

Since Tuesday’s meeting, Lawson has reached out to the New Bristow Village community late Tuesday afternoon, and they are in the process of scheduling a meeting. 

Lawson told said she was made aware of the flyers on Monday at 3 p.m. when the police released the information. Since then, she has been in contact with them.

She said she was not contacted by the media* or Brentsville constituents before that, as Maggie Hansford had said. 

Hansford told Bristow Beat she appreciates that supervisors are condemning the KKK, but the controversy could have been avoided had their supervisors responded more quickly.

Last weekend, my neighbors and I received hateful literature from the KKK. I quickly worked with others to organize speakers at the board of county supervisors meeting, both to ask for their condemnation of the KKK and to share our stories. I am grateful to the supervisors who have issued public statements rejecting hate and the KKK. I hope that if this occurs again, our supervisors will move faster to reach out to constituents and local media, immediately denounce hate, and work to move community dialogue forward.

Supervisors Pete Candland (Gainesville), Ruth Anderson (Occoquan) also issued statements denouncing the flyers.

*During Citizen’s Time, Hansford said Lawson’s office as contacted by media and referenced a Bristow Beat article. Bristow Beat did not contact Lawson’s office prior to the morning of July 11.

© 2018, Bristow Beat. All rights reserved.

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