Huntington Beach residents were bombarded with Ku Klux Klan fliers outside of their homes on Easter Sunday. The fliers, wrapped in plastic bags, included phrases such as “White Lives Do Matter” and “Say no to cultural genocide” above the Klan’s emblem along with information about a “White Lives Matter” rally scheduled for April 11.
Many residents and city officials have condemned the KKK propaganda. Huntington Beach resident Devin George, who relocated from the South to escape racism, was alarmed, but not surprised, when the racist fliers ended up outside of his home.
“As an African American male, you know in this country, I have to move differently from a white American male,” George said in an interview with ABC7. “Even before this I had to watch how I move, so this is no different and it’s sad that I have to be that way in the community that I live in and this country in general.”
Huntington Beach Mayor Kim Carr released a statement after receiving an abundance of emails from residents expressing concern about the hate group propaganda.
“The KKK fliers are a cowardly attempt to drum up support for a hateful cause that is in contradiction to Huntington Beach’s values of integrity, respect and inclusivity,” Carr said in the statement. “We have zero tolerance for racism in our city and while we absolutely support the First Amendment, we stand strongly against hiding behind it to promote hate.”
Founder of Huntington Beach’s Black Lives Matter chapter Tory Johnson planned a counter-protest rally in collaboration with other Black Lives Matter chapters and the Coalition for Community Control over the Police against a White Lives Matter rally on April 11, according to his press release. The rally was one of several demonstrations across the country, organized via social media and the app Telegram according to the Anti-Defamation League.
Counter-protestors arrived at the Huntington Beach Pier around 11am, where the White Lives Matter rally was set to begin at 1pm. By 2:30pm, the crowd of opposing demonstrators grew to about 500 — approximately 200 of which were Black Lives Matter protestors.
The rally began peacefully, but quickly escalated resulting in several fights and verbal disputes. The Huntington Beach Police Department (HBPD) declared the assembly unlawful at 2:36pm, threatening arrest of protestors as tensions.
By the end of the day, approximately 12 arrests were made in connection to the rally according to the Los Angeles Times. Several demonstrators in the crowd were identified as armed, including one man taken into custody with a backpack that held a metal baton, knife, and two cans of pepper spray. Additional arrests were made for public intoxication, fighting, and possession of prohibited items.
Huntington Beach City officials at the April 5 city council meeting discussed the KKK propaganda and moved to denounce all hate crimes and white supremacy. The city is currently developing plans to honor diversity through a Diversity, Equity and Inclusion event at Central Park on April 18.
Autumn Martin is a City News Intern for the spring 2021 quarter. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.