Wednesday, March 1, 2017

An Urgent Call to Rally Against Hate in McHenry County!

Late last week Carlos Acosta, the former long-time leader of the old Latino Coalition in McHenry County, Illinois, brought to the attention of the community to that a notorious anti-immigrant group called Main Street Patriots, an amalgam of old Tea Party types, Minutemen style anti-immigrant activists, the new alt-right a/k/a Fascists Light, and Trumpistas was planning so-called Spirit of American Rallies targeting immigrants and refugees all across the country.  The only Illinois rally was scheduled this Saturday, March 4, on the Square in Woodstock at Noon.
On their Facebook Events page local organizers claim, “We’ll be gathered to support our country and President Trump. This is an event to support one another; the community; our veterans; and our president. Instead of hate, we are bringing together peace.  Their claims to not promoting hate are belied by the identities of local leaders and the featured speaker, former far right Congressman and current radio raver Joe Wash (not to be confused with the Joe Walsh of The Eagles.)  Walsh you may remember is best known for his love, kindness, unicorn quotes including:
That the Mexican border should be “secured with moats and alligators.”
After shootings of Dallas police officers last summer, “This is now war. Watch out Obama. Watch out Black Lives Matter punks. Real America is coming after you.
And before the last election when everyone assumed that Trump would lose, “On November 8th, I’m voting for Trump. On November 9th, if Trump loses, I’m grabbing my musket. You in?”
Just as bad, and maybe worse, are the local actors involved.  Teresa Kopec is listed as host of the event.  He personal Facebook time lines reveals a cafeteria of right-wing lunacies, cheering for the most fascist Trump initiatives, and even allegations that former President George H.W. Bush ran a ring of pedophiliacs.  Can’t make this shit up, folks.   
Better know, or at least more notorious are Everet Everetson, the former leader of the anti-immigrant vigilante Minutemen Midwest and his wife Dianne who was a local Tea Party leader, former County Board Member and currently a Republican candidate for the McHenry County College Board of Trustees where she hopes to smash programs to aid immigrants and compel the College to cooperate with Homeland Security and ICE agents in snatching undocumented students, something almost all public Illinois colleges and universities have said they will refuse to do. 
Organizers promise other speakers who are sure to be just as hair raising as this lineup of mopes and miscreants.  
The right wing rally will center on the Woodstock Square Gazeebo.  Counter-rally participants will peacefullt march around the Square's perimeter and will hopefully far out number those the hear their message of hate.
In response, over the weekend members of the progressive community swung into action.  Ideas were tossed around and eventually a course of action was planned.  Folks are making sure that plenty of the popular Hate Has No Home Here placards will be available and Crystal Squires made up Hate Has No Home in Woodstock buttons.
So there is now a Hate Has No Home counter event which has been organized with the participation of Indivisible Illinois Congressional District 14, McHenry County Progressives, LULAC (League of United Latin American Citizens), the Tree of Life Unitarian Universalist Congregation Social Justice Team and others. Folks will gather around the Square beginning at 11:30 Saturday to be in place by the time the hate rally gets in gear.  The hope is to far outnumber those who attend that event and send them and the public an unmistakable message.

Hate Has No Home Facebook event page explains the plan.
This is a counter rally to the Spirit of America tea party rally happening on the square 12pm-3:00pm
We will focus on positive messages, primarily on the idea that Hate Has No Home in our community. If you plan on bringing a sign please ensure they are respectful and positive. No Anti-Trump signs. We want to spread love and peace, not animosity. Stick to signs that highlight your beliefs not signs that are against theirs.
Their rally is taking place in the park in the center of the square. We will be walking counter clockwise silently around the outer sidewalks of the square (note we have to walk, Woodstock has an ordinance that does not allow us to block the sidewalks but as long as we are walking we will be fine). We will not engage them or shout chants. When you first get to the Square go to the Old Courthouse on the north end of the square. Where handing where Hate Has No Home in Woodstock will be passed out.
Our goal is to peacefully show that these Tea Party people do not represent us. We need to show respect and peace. “When they go low, We go high” as Michelle Obama said.
Just a short month earlier on February 4 more than 200 folks gathered on just 36 hours notice to show support for the threatened and endangered LBGT community. 
Allies—let’s defend immigrants the way we turned out for that event in Crystal Lake! Let us all—Women; Gays, Lesbians, Transgender folk and those who love them; those of all religions united to standing up for refugees and against a Muslim ban; believers that Black Lives Matter; those whose educations and healthcare are threatened—come together again.  Their struggles are our struggle!  We will sink or swim together.
The counter rally is not the only response to the Spirit of American rallies. On Friday, the night before Tree of Life Social Justice Team will be putting ribbons in the trees to honor immigrants.  According to the Facebook events page for No Hate! No Hate!,
In unity and respect for immigrants rights we plan to create a display of solidarity in Woodstock Square. We are asking people to write down names, initials, or relationships of immigrants that are significant to them on ribbons. Please bring your ribbons to Woodstock Square and tie them to a bush or the Gazebo railing to create a display showing the importance of immigrants in our lives. We will prepare an explanation of the significance of the ribbons and leave that at the square as well. This will be a stealth event and we do not intend on gathering as a large group (since this could possibly draw unwanted attention). Our hope is to have our display up for the weekend and to be present during the Spirit of America rally on Saturday.
It’s time to show up, McHenry County!  See you at the counter event.  ¡Resistimos! Resist!

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