White Nationalists Plan to Rally at Texas A&M on September 11: Your Texas Roundup
Plus: Cruz condemns white nationalists, protesters march against the border wall in South Texas, and an African-American church in Waco gets hit with Nazi vandalism.
QUOTE OF THE DAY
“Most kids go back to school that day? Can it be done on the weekend?”
—A Dallas mom on Facebook requesting that the Perot Museum move its solar eclipse viewing party, according to the Houston Chronicle. August 21’s solar eclipse cannot be rescheduled.
“Tomorrow Texas A&M”
A Texas-based white nationalist announced on Saturday that he plans to hold a rally at Texas A&M on September 11, according to the Texas Tribune. “TODAY CHARLOTTESVILLE TOMORROW TEXAS A&M,” Preston Wiginton said in a press release, referencing the violent clash in Virginia over the weekend in which dozens of protesters were injured and three were killed. White nationalist leader Richard Spencer, a native of Dallas who prompted protests when he spoke at A&M last December, confirmed on Sunday that he will be attending the event. Wiginton bills the A&M event as a “White Lives Matter Rally,” but the 51-year-old former shipping pallet manufacturer has consistently espoused Nazi-held views such as anti-semitism, openly associating with skinhead groups, white nationalists, and KKK leader David Duke, according to the Southern Poverty Law Center. For example, in fall 2005, Wiginton attended Hammerfest, a neo-Nazi gathering in Georgia, where he “won” the festival’s “Strongest Skinhead” award. Wiginton was also responsible for Spencer’s last speaking engagement at A&M, which was held indoors, separating attendees and counter protestors. The September rally will be held at an outdoor fountain. There’s already a protest movement set to counter Wiginton’s rally. “We hoped that December was the last time we would have to protest them,” Adam Key, a doctoral student at A&M and the organizer of the counter protest, told the Tribune. “Aggies started fighting Nazis in World War II. We have no plans to stop any time soon.”
MEANWHILE, IN TEXAS
Senator Ted Cruz issued a statement condemning the violence in Charlottesville, Virginia, over the weekend after a man described as a Nazi sympathizer drove into a crowd of protesters, killing one person and injuring dozens more. A graduate of Bellaire High School in Houston was among those injured in the attack. “It’s tragic and heartbreaking to see hatred and racism once again mar our great Nation with bloodshed,” Cruz said in a statement released Saturday night, according to the Dallas Morning News. “The First Amendment protects the rights of all Americans to speak their minds peaceably, but violence, brutality, and murder have no place in a civilized society. The Nazis, the KKK, and white supremacists are repulsive and evil, and all of us have a moral obligation to speak out against the lies, bigotry, anti-Semitism, and hatred that they propagate. Having watched the horrifying video of the car deliberately crashing into a crowd of protesters, I urge the Department of Justice to immediately investigate and prosecute this grotesque act of domestic terrorism.”
Hundreds of activists marched to protest the construction of President Donald Trump’s proposed border wall in South Texas on Saturday, according to the Texas Tribune. The protesters gathered at Our Lady of Guadalupe Church in Mission and walked four miles to La Lomita Chapel, about 300 yards from the Rio Grande. The latest plan for the wall prompted concerns that La Lomita Chapel will be stuck between the wall and the river. Marchers from different backgrounds participated, as the proposed wall has inflamed private property owners who may lose their land to the wall, conservationists who are concerned about several wildlife refuges in the path of construction, and immigration advocates. The mix of characters resulted in an interesting scene: people walked, used golf carts, and rode bikes during the march, blasting rock music as church bells rang out. Our Lady of Guadalupe’s longtime priest, Father Roy Snipes, led the protesters from the driver’s seat of his baby blue, four-door 1984 Ford Escort with a nearly five-foot statue of the Lady of Guadalupe sitting on top, “accompanied by at least a few of his dogs,” according to the McAllen Monitor.
A primarily African-American church in Waco was defaced with Nazi graffiti, the word “Satan,” and the name of President Donald Trump last week, the Waco Herald-Tribune reported on Friday. The vandalism was discovered on Tuesday morning at the thirty-member Willow Grove Baptist Church in McLennan County. A swastika, surrounded by a six-point star and circle, was drawn in ketchup and mustard at the church’s fellowship hall, which is where churchgoers hold Bible studies, Sunday classes, and community events. The total cost of damages is about $3,000. The historic church is nearly 200 years old, and was established by former slaves, A.J Crawford and Buck Manning. Pastor Kenneth McNeil—who is also a U.S. Army veteran—reacted with compassion toward the perpetrators. “Offer them love and forgiveness,” McNeil told the Tribune, echoing how he thought Crawford and Manning would respond to the vandals. “As I read some of their records, I think they would offer forgiveness.”
WHAT WE’RE READING
Some links are paywalled or subscription-only.
An Exxon plant putting toxins into an African-American community in Beaumont The Intercept
Inside a Texas doomsday prepper’s shelter KTRK
Texas has the most federal judge vacancies, so Trump could reshape the state’s federal judiciary Houston Chronicle
Someone vandalized the sign for Robert E. Lee Road in South Austin Austin American-Statesman
Rural children in East Texas don’t have access to free summer meal programs Longview News-Journal