On Feb. 11, white supremacists took to the streets of Woodstock, NY. They came clad in white skeleton masks, sunglasses and all black clothing, holding signs with slogans reading: “White Lives Matter,” and passing out flyers with white supremacy propaganda.
An Instagram post made Feb. 11 by the account @antiracist.catskills posted photos of the group’s flyer and photos of the members. The group, Anti-Racist Catskills, were able to reach almost 800 people with this post to bring awareness to the white supremacist demonstration.
Other signs held by members of the group read: “Wake up New Yorkers of Euro-descent.”
Their flyer read: “anti-White system and its foot soldiers are trying to imprison and attack anyone pro-White.” They also claimed that they are being sentenced to extinction by the Black Lives Matter movement.
The flyer also advised people affiliated with them to carry weapons. They state you should carry “preferably a sidearm” but that knives, mace or tasers work too. Some members of the group were seen wearing brass knuckles.
The signs also advertised planned upcoming demonstrations. This rally was not the first, and they plan for it to not be the last either.
This demonstration is one in a recent surge of white supremacist action. On Jan. 14, a “White Lives Matter’’ banner was posted in Chatham. Rensselaer also saw a smattering of white surpemacist propaganda posted in local parks in late 2021.
A group of white supremacists were also caught on video in North Greenbush posting propaganda, with the leader in this event wearing the same press badge as the leader of the Woodstock protest. The man was seen wearing a Rebel News press identification badge, signifying him as a part of the Canadian based right-wing news outlet.
The Woodstock demonstration was a public disruption, as the group of a dozen white supremacists used megaphones to project their voices. They rallied on property owned by the Woodstock Reformed Church on the Woodstock village green. To use this property, you need permission from not only the town, but also the church.
The hate group had permission from neither.
When Reverend Cari Pattinson was informed, she conferred with the church property committee, and they immediately called the police. The Woodstock Reformed Church did not allow this group to rally on their property.
Rev. Pattinson also made a sign and walked out as a counter protest. Her sign read: “Woodstock Reformed Church does not endorse this White Lives Matter protest. Black Lives Matter. God created all equal and beloved.”
The leaders in the community responded by denouncing this hate group and refusing to allow them to have a place in the Hudson Valley.
Pattinson was quoted by The Times Union saying “For me as a leader, it had the opposite effect of what they intended. It did not scare us — it propelled us to new action. While it makes us heavy hearted for our country and what we’re dealing with, I’m super encouraged by how many people from our church have already stepped up.”
Anti-Racist Catskills organized a response rally Saturday, Feb. 19. The rally was open to all. This response rally, unlike the original demonstration, was held on public property and was non-disruptive. They held signs reading: “Hate Has No Home Here” and “Stop White Supremacy.”
Anyone interested in joining future Anti-Racist Catskills rallies, can direct message their Instagram @antiracist.catskills account to see how to be involved.