According to the police in Staunton, the Ku Klux Klan (KKK) distributed recruitment flyers on residents’ cars yesterday. Local resident Lydia Roberts posted the flyer left on her car to Facebook. The flyer was headed with “Black Lives Matter” followed by the text, “are killing white people and police officers in the name of justice for the killing of negro’s by policemen in the line of duty.” The flyer goes on to say “Join the Ku Klux Klan” and lists a bunch of reasons to do so, including, “We are the invisible empire, have been for 150 years. ” Her post, now shared over 274 times, highlights the deep concerns people in the community have over the public display of recruitment by the hate group in her town.
Roberts spoke with RVA Mag about finding the flyer on her car. “I was walking up the hill and noticed these flyers on every single one of them [cars] I was walking past.” According to Roberts, the flyers were folded in a way that showed the Black Lives Matter header, “was facing up. That is what you could read when you were walking past… they were folded like that on purpose so that people would read that first.” She estimated that at least 50 flyers were left on the cars where hers was parked.
Police in Staunton told the News Leader that the flyers were objectionable, but “would be treated as any other handbill.” According to the police spokesperson, this is a Class 4 misdemeanor. RVA Mag called the hotline number listed on the flyer and was directed to a voice message that stated, “We all hear the fairy tale of six-million Jews died by the hands of Nazis during World War 2, but what they do not tell you is why. Under Lenin’s orders killed 68 million white Christians during the Russian Revolution… the Jewish hatred for white Christians turned the streets of Europe blood red.” The message concluded with, “Save our land, join the Klan… If you are white and proud, join the crowd,” and directed listeners to go to a website that is currently not listed. This sort of Holocaust denial and anti-Semitism has been one of the foundations for the kinds of white identity politics that are endemic throughout hate groups such as the Ku Klux Klan, as well as more contemporary white nationalist, supremacist, and alt-right groups.
The KKK marched in Charlottesville this past summer over the planned removal of a statue glorifying Confederate General Robert E. Lee. This was followed by a storm of white nationalist activity throughout the Commonwealth, culminating in the terrorist attack at the Unite the Right rally on August 12 in Charlottesville. While the KKK’s numbers have dwindled in recent years, providing space for more modern hate groups, they are the oldest active terrorist group in the US, making their re-emergence into public life a very real threat.
“I work and am very active in my community and love this place, and this is scary. People don’t realize that this is still happening. That is the reason I posted it to Facebook,” said Roberts. She finished with, “Active racism still happens every day.”