Fallout continues from racist rally
Diane Pineiro-Zucker reports in the Daily Freeman that reaction continues from the rally of a dozen racists Feb. 11 in Woodstock. The group from "White Lives Matter New York" gathered for about an hour, when they became outnumbered by police and counter-protesters. The Rev. Cari Pattison said she wasn’t clear whether they left, “because they were asked to leave or because they were quickly being outnumbered … by ad hoc counter-protestors.” The racists were on the Village Green, owned by Pattison's Woodstock Reformed Church. The racists, who covered their faces, did not get permission from the church to use their property. Pattison says religious leaders in Woodstock held a prayer service and the church will post banners in the churchyard, “just to say that, ‘hate is not welcome here and love your neighbor, no exceptions.'” In addition to those “visual, token efforts,” Pattison said, “We’re really brainstorming and praying and talking together … and joining with anti-racist initiatives” in Ulster County. Meanwhile on Feb. 14, the Woodstock Town Board and Human Rights Commission condemned the White Lives Matter group's rally. “On Friday, February 11, 2022, a group of white supremacists stood on our Village Green to spew hateful, vile, and intolerant messages. … Hate has no home here and never will. Do not fear those who seek to spread hate. Let them be on notice that attempts at division will not succeed in our community as such messages ring hollow. In Woodstock, all who co-exist with love, compassion, acceptance, and understanding are welcome.” The New York chapter of the hate group "White Lives Matter" has been active in the area lately. They held a banner Jan. 14 in front of the gazebo in the park in Chatham. The group has been recently placing recruitment stickers on park benches, parking meters, utility poles, and road signs in Hudson and Stockport and have posted a video of a “meet-up” in North Greenbush. The Southern Poverty Law Center, which tracks hate groups nationally, says the White Lives Matter group first formed in Texas about seven years ago by leaders associated with neo-Nazi groups. Diane Pineiro-Zucker reports in the Daily Freeman.