Rural Oregon Responds to White Supremacy

“    …and here’s why they cannot penetrate with their hate in Grant County; I see that the wonderful forest men and women, and loggers, the farmers, the educators, the religious community, the business community, labor, Republicans, Democrats, Independents, what you’ve all done… is you’ve spoken as one voice and there is no way that hate can penetrate that kind of unity and you will win. “

– Tony Stewart, Professor of Political Science

 

On February 26th, 2010, the residents of Grant County, Oregon turned out in force to send a message to a white supremacist group, Stay out.

The people of Grant County came together, they united as one voice and they won. Hate is not welcome in Grant County.

 

Grant County, Oregon, is a small rural community  located in Eastern Oregon –

74% Republican | 17% Democrat

Population 7158 | 94.5% White

Median Household Income $38,046

16% in poverty

 

I was one of the 375 people that packed the hall that morning, approximately 100 more people were turned away at the door because of fire code restrictions, about 300 more watched a live stream on the internet.

Sitting next to a couple of local residents I asked them how they felt about the white supremacist group that was looking to relocate their headquarters in John Day…

 

 

Speakers Norman Gissel, Attorney (Coeur d’Alene) and Tony Stewart, Civil Rights Activist (Coeur d’Alene), offered encouragement and advice. The pair have battled neo-Nazi groups for 29 years and helped win a landmark judgment in 2000 against Idaho’s original Aryan Nations, leading to the group’s downfall.

 

Tony Stewart’s opening remarks…

 

Norman Gisell’s opening remarks…

 

Norman Gisell talks about the core beliefs of the Aryan Nation…

 

 

‘I refuse to accept the view that mankind is so tragically bound to the starless midnight of racism and war that the bright daybreak of peace and brotherhood can never become a reality… I believe that unarmed truth and unconditional love will have the final word.’

                              – Martin Luther King Jr.