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Concern over white nationalist fliers continues

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Following the posting of white nationalist fliers near Antioch College a month ago, some local residents fear the village could become a target for white supremacists. But there is limited evidence so far to suggest that Yellow Springs is seeing an uptick in such activity.

At least five white nationalist fliers were pasted to the front of stop signs near the college overnight between Aug. 27 and Aug. 28. Antioch College student Spencer Glazer discovered them on his morning jog, and posted photos of the fliers on Facebook. The college’s public security office sent email and text alerts to the campus community that day, and monitored the area for the next two weeks. Yellow Springs police removed the fliers later in the day, in one case replacing a stop sign.

The fliers contained images of classical Greek statues and stylized figures with messages including “Serve Your People,” “Our Future Belongs to Us” and “Protect the Family: Reject Degeneracy.” Information on the fliers links them to two separate white nationalist groups, Identity Evropa and American Vanguard. Similar fliers supporting Identity Evropa were found on the Ohio State University campus in February, as well as other campuses around the country.

No individuals or groups have claimed responsibility for posting the local fliers. A rumor that the fliers were connected to a self-described militia group, the West Ohio Minutemen, appears to be unfounded. Local police are continuing to investigate the incident, according to Chief Brian Carlson this week.

While the fliers near Antioch were the only such incident reported to police, some local residents say the posting of fliers went well beyond the area around the campus, encompassing parts of downtown Yellow Springs.

Villager Lindsay Burke said last week that she saw several fliers with white nationalist messages downtown on Aug. 28. She removed one flier, which was posted on the side of the Emporium building.

“The wheat paste was still wet,” she said.

Kurt Miyazaki, owner of the Emporium Café, said this week that one of his employees reported other such signs on Xenia Avenue that same day. And a week or two prior, Miyazaki said he was alerted to a flier posted on the back of the Emporium building in Kieth’s Alley. That flier included an image of a woman in German-style folk dress with the message “Equality is a false God,” along with the phrase “Alt-Right,” according to Miyazaki.

Anti-white supremacy fliers were found downtown the day after the Aug. 28 posting, and removed by police.

No other white nationalist fliers are known to have been posted in Yellow Springs over the past month, according to police and several local residents who spoke with the News. Antioch College’s public security coordinator, Roger Stoppa, confirmed this week that there have been no further incidents on campus.

The presence of people possibly linked to white nationalist activity has been noted by residents, however.

Police received a report on Sept. 23 that three men and one woman were handing out fliers for a “hate group” in Kieth’s Alley, but were unable to make contact with the individuals, according to Sergeant Joshuah Knapp.

Antioch student Glazer said that a group of people in Peach’s that same evening included individuals wearing the emblem of the Traditionalist Worker Party, a white nationalist group. Glazer was not present, but received multiple reports from friends.

Peach’s co-owner Christine Monroe-Beard confirmed the report. In an email last week, she said the manager on duty Sept. 23 called her regarding “right wingers” dining at the restaurant wearing Trump hats and shirts and a Traditionalist Worker Party shirt. The group was reportedly “calm, respectful” and ate dinner without incident, Monroe-Beard said.

“If this is the level of extremist behavior we get, we can deal with that,” she wrote.

To Glazer, however, the presence of individuals in Yellow Springs who appear to support white supremacist views is deeply worrisome. A local activist who identifies as Jewish, Glazer was one of three Antioch students who joined counter-protests in Charlottesville against the mid-August “Unite the Right” rally there. The Traditionalist Worker Party was among the groups at the rally, and some of its members “were trying to knock my head off because of my yarmulke,” according to Glazer.

“These are violent people,” he said.

While there have been no such confrontations locally, Glazer said he believes the community must be vigilant.

“When people say, ‘Let’s just ignore them, let’s stay inside,’ it doesn’t encourage a feeling of safety” for those who are targeted by white nationalist groups, Glazer said.

Burke agrees with that view. Villagers “have a responsibility to one another to be informed and to protect one another,” she said.

Recent discussion of these issues on Yellow Springs Open Discussion, a local Facebook group, has been heated at times, with some individuals stating their intention to counter any local appearances of white nationalist supporters with force. Chief Carlson said this week that local police monitor Open Discussion, and may follow up offline if rhetoric shades into threats.

In one recent instance, he received several calls from people upset about comments on Open Discussion perceived to be threatening. He contacted the individual making the comments, and the person ended up voluntarily taking them down.

“We try to tread lightly,” Carlson said.

He added that he has not discussed white nationalist activity with his law enforcement colleagues in the area, and therefore is not aware of any increase in such activity in Greene county.

Contacted this week about the fliers and related issues, John Gudgel, president of The 365 Project, which facilitates discussions regarding racial diversity in Yellow Springs, said the group has not yet discussed the matter.

“I was aware of this issue but unsure in this climate of daily drama whether or not it has resonated with people,” he wrote in an email.

To some villagers, the fliers and the subsequent sightings of apparent white nationalist supporters in town suggest that Yellow Springs is a target for these groups. But as yet, evidence for such targeting remains limited.

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