White Nationalist Propaganda Found Along South Side Irish Parade Route

Alderman asks community to speak up against hatred

Bernie Tafoya
March 19, 2019 - 10:17 am
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CHICAGO (WBBM NEWSRADIO) -- A Southwest Side alderman said his community needs to speak up against hatred after posters for a white nationalist group were found along the route of Sunday's South Side Irish Parade.

And throughout the day on Tuesday, resisdents did just that.

Ald. Matt O'Shea (19th Ward) said 15-20 posters for the group were found along Western Avenue between 99th and 117th streets. 

The posters were for a group called American Identity Movement. Social media posts displayed them on light poles and utility boxes.

Ald. O’Shea calls the posting of, what he calls, the propaganda materials "despicable" and calls people in the group "cowards."

"I think these type of organizations come to a community like ours and spread fear and spread hate and they won’t be successful," he said.

One sticker had a white woman in American flag garb with the words "Embrace Your Identity."  Another had a white woman standing on top of a globe of the Earth, holding an American flag and a sword with the words "Defend America."

White Nationalist poster found in the 19th Ward
WBBM Newsradio/Bernie Tafoya

"To me, this is an orchestrated effort by this cowardly organization to spread their hate through our community at an event that is so positive," O'Shea said.

He said this year's South Side Irish Parade was one of the best in the last dozen years. Police said there had been no arrests. O'Shea also points out that the Grand Marshal for the parade was Honor Flight Chicago and the honoree for the parade was the locally started organization, Choose Kind.

Ald. O’Shea has posters of his own he’d like residents to pick up and put in their windows. They say: "Hate Has No Home in the 19th Ward." He believes a lot of residents will request the poster.

Hate Has No Home in the 19th Ward signs
WBBM Newsradio/Bernie Tafoya

"I’m guessing today…we’re going to see an influx of 19th Ward residents doing what we always do. We stand together and we speak out about this kind of hate," he said.

David Perry picked up a couple of the posters. He pointed to last year’s congressional election results when more than 24 percent of 19th Ward voters cast ballots for avoid neo-Nazi Arthur Jones. A larger percentage of people from the Mt. Greenwood neighborhood voted for Jones.

“Beverly’s an integrated neighborhood. We don’t like racial nonsense or anti-Semitism in our neighborhood," Perry said. 

Businesswoman and resident Jamenda McCoy picked up two Hate Has No Home in the 19th Ward posters
WBBM Newsradio/Bernie Tafoya

Businesswoman and resident Jamenda McCoy picked up two of the posters. One was for her women’s clothing boutique, the other for her home. She said it was not normal for white nationalists to be so outward in the area by putting up their own posters.

McCoy commended Ald. O’Shea for taking the lead in opposition to the white supremacist group.  

“I think it has to be him. He has to be the voice of the neighborhood and we all have to speak out about it and let people know this is not okay,” she said.

Sister Pat Mahoney, a retired Catholic nun, said Beverly is “not a neighborhood that hates.” She said it’s a neighborhood that’s been “trying to come together and to work with diversity and inclusion.”

Of the white nationalists, Sister Mahoney said, “I think they’re just a bunch of cowards that have to run around and hide and hang posters rather than trying to change themselves. They’re not going to change us.”

Even though the alderman believes the posters were "little noticed" since no one had called his office or the 22nd Police District, he said it must be called out. 

He said Streets and Sanitation crews removed the stickers on Monday and he has asked the Chicago Police and the city's Commission on Human Relations to investigate.