A KKK propaganda drop and a planned White Lives Matter rally rattle 2 O.C. communities
Ku Klux Klan propaganda discovered outside homes in Newport Beach and a flier announcing plans for a White Lives Matter rally in Huntington Beach have put local city officials on alert regarding potentially escalating white nationalist sentiment.
Residents living on one street in Newport Heights were surprised Sunday morning to find their lawns and driveways littered with apparent recruitment propaganda urging citizens to join the fight for the white race by learning more about the KKK.
Fliers with images of a white-robed Klansman and Confederate flags reading “Loyal White Knights Want You to Say No to Cultural Genocide” and promoting a Klan radio show were discovered by a group of homeowners living on San Bernardino Avenue early Sunday.
One neighbor, who asked not to be identified for fear of backlash, said she notified the Newport Beach Police Department after a surveillance camera at her home showed a pickup truck driving down her street at 2:24 a.m. Sunday, ostensibly delivering the materials.
“There was nothing when the pickup started to pass the house, but afterward the package was there,” she said of a small paper sealed inside a plastic bag and containing a small rock, possibly to aid delivery.
“There’s a lot of hate, and the hate is pretty horrible,” the woman continued, recounting how some neighbors professed having no problem with the content of the fliers. “Newport Beach needs help — Orange County needs help.”
Newport Beach police spokeswoman Heather Rangel on Tuesday confirmed at least one resident had reported the incident and said the department was actively investigating the matter. She was unable to clarify whether the incident constituted a hate crime, although no overt criminal acts seem to have been committed in the distribution of the papers.
Mayor Brad Avery said Tuesday that he and other city officials were “disappointed” to learn of hate-based activity in the community and were looking into it.
“Unfortunately, this is a common tactic used by some hate groups today,” Avery said in a statement. “We condemn the group’s ideology and assure our residents that the Newport Beach Police Department is actively investigating to determine the individual or group responsible for distributing these materials.”
As word of the Newport Beach discovery spread on social media, word began circulating about a White Lives Matter rally being tentatively planned for the afternoon of April 11 at the Huntington Beach Pier.
“We will be planning the WLM rally in Orange County in solidarity with Americans all over the nation on 4/11,” the notice read, encouraging participants to wear face masks for anonymity. “Send this channel to all patriots in SoCal who will stand against anti-White racism and violence.”
Huntington Beach Interim Police Chief Julian Harvey said the department learned Monday of a possible demonstration being planned for the pier and was gathering details on the event.
“[Deployment] always depends on the nature of the demonstration, the anticipated number of attendees and perhaps the stated intent,” he added. “Sometimes the stated intent is anarchy or violence, or both — we plan accordingly.”
Huntington Beach Mayor Kim Carr said the idea of a possible White Lives Matter rally being held at the pier was unacceptable.
“These protests are not indicative of our community,” she said. “We don’t stand for hate. We’re a welcoming community. We embrace everyone, and to have these continued rallies, this one in particular, is truly offensive. I’m all for the 1st Amendment, but I think too many people hide behind the 1st Amendment to promote hate speech.”
Chuck Tanner is a Seattle-based research director for the Institute for Research and Education on Human Rights, which examines racist, anti-Semitic and far-right social movements for the purpose of protecting human rights.
The institute learned last week about a series of White Lives Matter rallies being planned across the nation for the same time on April 11 and said some of the groups affiliated with the organization of the demonstrations have deep roots in extreme white radicalism.
“White Lives Matter runs the gamut, from people who know how to clean it up a bit better down to people who are touting Nazi symbols,” Tanner said, indicating that some radical groups have been appealing to mainstream audiences.
“They’re trying to extend beyond the structure of traditional organization and make broader appeals around this idea of white dispossession,” he added.
For Newport Heights resident Brian Darrow — a pastor at Newport Beach’s W Church of Jewish and Asian descent — the implication of the KKK fliers was particularly disturbing.
“This is horrible,” he said as he walked his dog in the neighborhood Tuesday afternoon.
Darrow added that despite society’s best intentions, highlighting a person’s race, even to signify accomplishment, will not help end racism.
“All we’re doing now is basing everything on race,” Darrow said. “If we can really get together and agree on all our intentions together, that we truly do want to eradicate racism, then we can hopefully get together and discuss how we can actually do that.”
The woman who called Newport Beach police about the fliers in her yard said the city should call on residents to pledge an oath that hate speech and activities will not be tolerated.
“If the people at the top won’t denounce [hate] and they won’t take action, it’s going to stay the way it is and the way it has been for decades,” she said.
Cardine, Turner and Szabo write for Times Community News.
The stories shaping California
Get up to speed with our Essential California newsletter, sent six days a week.
You may occasionally receive promotional content from the Los Angeles Times.