LONGVIEW, Texas (KETK) — Longview City Council is set Thursday to consider a resolution denouncing bigotry after learning a white supremist group plans to hold a conference there.
According to postings from white-power.org of the Aryan Freedom Network, a White Unity Conference is set for Sept. 25.
“We will have many educational lectures, Aryan folk music and Racial Unity amongst different organizations and individuals from all across North America,” the posting said. “This is not an open event to the public but a private event for White Racialists to enjoy a day (of) fun and unity of like minded kindred.”
The resolution that the council will consider tells the organizers that the city condemns the use of the name Longview, Texas, in connection with hate groups.
Amanda Veasy is the founder of One Love Longview, an organization dedicated to promoting kindness and positivity. The group is planning to hold a Unity rally in response to the unconfirmed white supremacist conference that was announced on social media.
“Our people are about unity. We’re about peace. We’re going to do a united rally, and all the people in the community who do things differently will come together for this massive celebration,” she said.
Veasy also tried to remain positive about the controversial situation.
“It looks like something negative in our community, but it’s actually bringing us together,” she added.
Longview City Council’s proposed resolution reads as follows:
Whereas, the City Council of the City of Longview has become aware of a so-called ‘White Unity Conference” allegedly planned to be held on September, 25, 2021, by an organization calling itself the Aryan Freedom Network; and
Whereas, the exact location of said event is not clear at this time, but the online advertisement for said event and media reports about it indicate that will be held in Longview, Texas; and,
Whereas, based on the racially charged language contained in said advertisement, in the name of the group, and in the name of the event, it appears that the group is a hate group and that the event is a white supremist rally; and
Whereas the City Council and the citizens of Longview are proud of the diversity and this City and its residents; and,
Whereas the City Council and the residents of this City have worked hard to nurture and celebrate the diversity of this community; and
Whereas, the City Council and the residents of this City do not condone hate groups of any kind and reject and condemn bigotry in all its forms; and
Whereas, the City Council and residents of this city want the world to know that there is no room in the City of Longview for racism, hatred, or bigotry of any kind; and
Whereas the City Council finds the use of the name of Longview, Texas, in connection with hate groups or events sponsored by such groups is offensive and detrimental to the city;
Now therefore be it resolved by the City Council of the City of Longview, Texas:
Section 1: That the findings set forth in the preamble of this resolution are hereby in all things approved and adopted.
Section 2: The City of Longview does not condone hate groups and rejects and condemns bigotry of any kind.
Section 3: That the City Council disapproves and condemns the White Unity Conference allegedly planned to be held on September, 25, 2021, in or near the City of Longview by an organization calling itself Aryan Freedom Network and the City Council disapproves of and condemns any other events celebrating or promoting racism, hatred, or bigotry of any kind.
Section 4; The City of Longview disapproves of and condemns the use of the name Longview, Texas, in connection with hate groups or in connection with events or materials associated with such groups, including without limitation in promotional materials for the event described herein.
Section 5: The City of Longview hereby demands that the organizers of the event described herein remove all references to the City of Longview form any and all materials associated with the said event or with said group.
Section 6: That the meeting at which the resolution was approved was in all things conducted in strict compliance with the Texas Open Meetings Act.
Longview Mayor Andy Mack said the city doesn’t want the group to hold the event in Longview.
“We as a city are taking the appropriate actions with regard to this currently non-verifiable event,” Mack said. “We’re crafting a resolution to be considered at our July 15 City Council meeting, which would denounce the hatefulness represented by this group or any group wishing to promote hate.”
The group does not represent the values of the city, he said.
“While we recognize the importance of freedom of speech, we also recognize that we have a responsibility to protect our citizens from dangerous conduct. So, we will continue to monitor the situation and respond appropriately within the bounds of the law,” Mack said. “This group does not represent who we are as a community. We as a city council and myself as mayor denounce this attempt to promote hate and bigotry in our town. Now is the time for Longview to show we are a diverse community that loves each other, defends each other and protects each other.”
Northeast Texas Habitat for Humanity also released the following a statement condemning racism.
“In recent days, we’ve learned that white-power.org -the Aryan Freedom Network is circulating advertising that claims it plans to bring a white supremacy conference into the area. According to its website, this organization works to spread its racial message and show unity in “our great struggle for an all-White Aryan Homeland.” Now, they want East Texas to make it possible to advance this cause.
“We are one global humanity. When faced with blatant hate-mongering, our deeply held value of justice, decency, and one humanity demand that we not be silent. Northeast Texas Habitat denounces the website white-power.org, the Aryan Freedom Network, and any groups that share these beliefs as a promoter of racism in all its forms.
“We affirm our solidarity with our family of homeowners, partners, community, and our international network of Habitat for Humanity affiliates, to love all people and promote unity, justice, and equity.
“Let’s join our collective voices so that this group, and others like them, hear the message that the promotion of hate, and racism is not tolerated in this community.”