White nationalism stickers found in La Crosse neighborhood
LA CROSSE, Wis. (WKBT) — Signs for a white nationalist group are popping up around a La Crosse neighborhood. The stickers promoting the Patriot Front have some community members concerned.
The Patriot Front is one of the white nationalist groups that posts the most flyers around the nation, according to the Southern Poverty Law Center. The messages don’t seem like much until you look deeper at the group’s ideology.
Tyrell Luebker was on his way to work Tuesday when he spotted one on a light pole.
“I just happened to look at it, and it said, ‘Better Dead Than Red,'” said Luebker, who works at Recovery Room
He thought it was a reference to communism.
“At first, I just thought it was, you know, a joke,” Luebker said.
He found a second sticker across the street on another light pole. But when he sent it to a friend, she pointed out it was for white nationalists.
The Patriot Front broke off from the neo-Nazi group Vanguard America in the aftermath of the deadly Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, according to the Southern Poverty Law Center.
“For the fourth year in a row, hate groups in our country have increased, reaching a record high of 1,020 in 2018,” said Heidi Beirich, SPLC intelligence project director, in a video.
The hate group’s manifesto says anyone who is not of European descent cannot be American. They’re also known to chant “Blood and soil” during protests, a reference to Nazism.
“That’s not what this neighborhood is about. It’s not what La Crosse is about or Wisconsin in general,” Lubker said.
He said the neighborhood is very diverse– and there are people from a wide variety of backgrounds.
“We need to tell people about it, and we need to make sure that it’s known and that people like that aren’t allowed to do that in our community,” Luebker said.
After taking down the stickers, he posted photos to Facebook and the website Reddit. He hopes to bring the hate speech to light, but not in the way these groups want.
“Not by promoting it, but by having people have a conversation about it and against it,” Lubker said.
Lubker said staff have checked the Recovery Room’s security cameras to try to see who put them up. But so far, they haven’t had any luck.
The La Crosse Police Department said putting up the stickers would be considered vandalism.
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