ALEXANDRIA, Va. — Racist flyers were found plastered on trees and utility poles and wedged on car windshields in the Del Ray neighborhood of Alexandria during Memorial Day weekend.
The flyers, bearing a web address of a white nationalist group, carried various racist messages aimed at African-Americans and immigrant groups, and called for fascism to replace democracy in the United States.
“It’s clear that the people who posted those flyers … are not from the Del Ray neighborhood,” said Eric Wagner, a Del Ray neighbor who discovered the hate-filled flyers while walking his dog Saturday morning. “If the neo-Nazis hope to bring their message in there and get some traction, I think they’re mistaken. And, in fact, it brought the community closer together.”
Residents took it upon themselves to take the flyers down, and Alexandria police say they are investigating who put them up.
Alexandria Mayor Allison Silberberg denounced the hate speech in the flyers, adding that Alexandria “is a city of kindness and compassion.”
“The fact that people come out and put these up in the middle of the night shows you that they know enough to be ashamed,” said Sue Mamber, an Alexandria resident. “Horrifying … to have such blatantly hateful messages.”
Crisi West, another Alexandria resident, described the incident as “horrific” and “repugnant,” incidents that the community cannot tolerate.
It’s not the first brush Alexandria has had recently with white nationalism. Richard Spencer, who heads a white nationalist think tank, has an office in Alexandria and was recently expelled from his gym when he was confronted by a fellow member who complained that he was a Neo Nazi.
A regular group of demonstrators turns out twice a month in Old Town to protest Spencer’s presence.
“There are elements in our society who support this white supremacist idea. It’s a fact; it’s there,” said Jonathan Krall, head of Grassroots Alexandria, which organizes the protests.
Neighbors also responded by plastering the neighborhood with messages of their own. Sidewalks scribbled in chalks and painted signs sent messages of love.
Silberberg said the community’s signs reflecting love and inclusiveness “really show you it’s not just a feeling from the top, from the elected. It’s really a feeling across the city.”
Fifteen-year-old high school student, Ewan, condemned the hate flyers in his neighborhood and turned out to protest outside Spencer’s office.
“Love and respect for all people and inclusiveness — those are very important to defend,” he said.