In recent years, many community members in Dallas, Fort Worth and elsewhere have made sure far-right groups didn't feel welcome.
For instance, white nationalist stickers and flyers were defaced around North Texas
, counter-protesters outnumbered neo-Nazis in Fort Worth last April, and in one case, townspeople basically ran them out of Centerville.
Now, the same neo-Nazi group that sparked uproar from community leaders in Longview last year claims to be holding a private “White Unity Conference” in Dallas in October, according to its website.
The Aryan Freedom Network, an openly neo-Nazi organization, says the Dallas event is scheduled to take place Oct. 22, although their website doesn’t specify where the supposed conference will take place. (The website does, however, include a laundry list of anti-Semitic, wildly racist and pro-Confederate material.)
In what’s possibly the least appealing marketing ploy in history, the group says the event will be “held for White Racialist(s) to enjoy a day of fun.”
The group says the event will include “educational lectures” and that white nationalist organizations can “pass out literature” and “sell their materials.”
Last year, the group was scheduled to hold similar “White Unity Conference” in Longview, around two hours east of Dallas. Locals quickly spoke out against the gathering, and the Longview City Council passed a resolution condemning the neo-Nazis
“We have to discourage it, and we have to be vocal,” Nona Snoddy, the only Black woman serving on the council, told the Longview News-Journal
at the time. “People in elected positions and all of our leaders — everyone with a voice — needs to speak up and speak against it.”
In 2021, Texas was home to at least 54 hate groups
, according to the Southern Poverty Law Center, an Alabama-based watchdog. Among those were Ku Klux Klan chapters, neo-Nazi outfits, white nationalist organizations and anti-immigrant groups.
Meanwhile, the Aryan Freedom Network is also reportedly planning a gathering in Hayden Lake, Idaho, the same community where the Aryan Nations
hate group maintained a compound for decades.
In 1998, Aryan Nations members chased down a woman and her son in their car and assaulted them. Thanks to a civil lawsuit spearheaded by the SPLC, Aryan Nations leader Richard Butler later had to relinquish the compound at a bankruptcy auction
. It was subsequently demolished.
That event is scheduled for March 12, and a Texas neo-Nazi calling himself Hank told the Couer d'Alene/Post Falls Press
that it wouldn’t include a march or a rally. “We don’t do stuff like that anymore,” he told the newspaper. “We just stay to ourselves.” ("Stay to ourselves" is a pretty misleading when it comes to groups actively promoting genocide.)
But civil rights groups have called on elected officials to stand against the group’s event in Idaho. The Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR) also urged law enforcement to beef up its presence at the site of the event.
“Because of the growing bigotry targeting minority communities nationwide, groups promoting white supremacy and racism can no longer be ignored
as a fringe minority of extremists,” Ibrahim Hooper, CAIR's national communications director, said in a press release.
Dallas was also home to the QAnon-linked “For God & Country Patriot Roundup”
last May, which was attended by prominent Texas Republicans like former state GOP chairman Allen West and U.S. Rep. Louie Gohmert. (Dallas residents circulated petitions calling on the city to step in and have the event canceled, and one event venue dropped the QAnon crowd.)
In April, a “White Lives Matter” rally took place in Fort Worth
, but only a handful of participants showed up. Better still, they were outnumbered by dozens of anti-racist and anti-fascist counter-protesters.
Last June, when another “White Lives Matter” rally showed up in Centerville
, a town halfway between Dallas and Houston, locals shouted down the masked neo-Nazis and urged them to leave town.
Still, the radical right remains a serious threat in the U.S. Last month, the Anti-Defamation League said far-right groups or individuals were linked to at least 26 "extremist-related murders" in 2021
. Over the last decade, the group added, far-right perpetrators "have been responsible for 75 percent of such murders."