On July 15, residents of the Riverside woke to find racist fliers inside bags of white rice outside their homes and on the streets. Again.
The fliers, of which Folio Weekly Magazine has obtained four pictures, are credited to the Loyal White Knights of the Ku Klux Klan, otherwise known as KKK Knights. As of press time, FWM has received approximately a half dozen reports from individuals claiming they or their friends found the fliers. All say they found the fliers in Riverside.
The flier to the right was found in Riverside this morning. (Image altered to block out offensive language and the group's phone number.)
Two sources said that unknown individual(s) in a burgundy pickup truck with its windows blocked by towels to obscure view of the occupants distributed the fliers early in the morning.
Similar messages were distributed in various neighborhoods last March and November. In November, News4Jax reported meeting with a man identifying himself as a Grand Dragon Ken with the KKK; in a conversation in his Southside, Jacksonville home, Ken (who declined to give his last name) said the fliers were the beginning of a major statewide recruitment effort.
Other sources said they have received similar fliers with anti-LGBTQ messages in the past.
The north-central North Carolina phone number and website included on the flier matches that of the KKK Knights' phone number on the group's website. A voicemail FWM left at the number was not returned.
The voicemail greeting says the group is “the largest and most active white clan in the United States.” The greeting goes on to say, “Hey whites, for far too long these liberals have lied to you about what the Bible really says when they tell you that you’re supposed to love your neighbor,” and quotes two verses of Leviticus, 19:8 and 21:7, which it implies justifies separation of the races.
The KKK Knights’ website adamantly denies that is a hate group. Rather, it claims, “[W]e do hate some things that certain groups are doing to our race and our nation. We hate drugs, homosexuality, abortion and race-mixing, because these things go against God's law and they are destroying all white nations. But rather than focus on hate, we try to focus on the love of our race.”
The site goes on to say, “Our goal is to help restore America to a White Christian nation, founded on God's word. This does not mean that we want to see anything bad happen to the darker races … we simply want to live separate from them … As GOD intended.”
Those commenting on social media today were appalled, outraged and saddened. Some said that this batch of fliers was far more aggressive than previous instances. One of the fliers distributed this morning threatened black men with being "beaten with bats" if they were "caught 'making eyes' at a white girl," among other reprehensible, unprintable statements.
This comes as tensions over racial inequality, police violence against minorities, unjust enforcement of laws, economic inequality, etc., are increasing across the nation and in this community.
Scheduled later that day in Hemming Park, the Raise Your Voice – Rally for Justice and Equality in Florida saw people gather to rally for positive change.
According to the event's Facebook page, groups involved with the protest include: Jacksonville Progressive Coalition, the Justice League Coalition, Equality Florida, Florida New Majority, Baptist Ministers Conference, Veterans for Peace, Faith in Florida, and, perhaps notably, Nation of Islam.
The Southern Poverty Law Center has designated NOI as a hate organization for “[i]ts theology of innate black superiority over whites and the deeply racist, anti-Semitic and anti-gay rhetoric of its leaders.”
Asked if the NOI's involvement could detract from the message of spreading equality, rally organizer, Jacksonville Progressive Coalition, wrote via Facebook messenger, "Some of the groups we work with have different views than ours. When dealing with these backwards ideals, one must try to show others the correct way of thinking and work together. We don't want to turn these groups away, but rather show them the way."