ALEXANDRIA, Va. - Neighbors are responding after white supremacist flyers were posted around the Del Ray and Old Town areas of Alexandria.
One family created their own signs and posted them on telephone poles on their block. Their messages include “Come Together in Peace,” “A House Divided Cannot Stand” and “Laundry is the Only Thing That Should be Separated by Color.”
"I felt I had to stick up for people who were being mistreated," said Esme Damico-Lassman, who made the signs with her family.
"I feel like we're living in extraordinary times," said mother Dana Damico. "This is not normal. And where I might be less inclined to speak up, now I feel like [for my kids], I have to speak up."
The white supremacist flyers are believed to have been put up between Friday night and Saturday morning, police say. The name and website of a white supremacist group were included on some of them. There have been similar flyers posted at the University of Maryland and George Washington University earlier this year.
One flyer had hateful words about African Americans while another had a message saying, "Stop The Islamization of America." There was a flyer promoting fascism and a fourth that targeted Georgetown University professor Christine Fair who confronted white supremacist Richard Spencer at a gym in Alexandria. Spencer had his membership revoked by the gym after the incident.
"I heard about Professor Fair sticking up to Richard Spencer and it sounded like an awfully brave thing to do," said Desmond Damico-Lassman. "I wanted people to know that I felt that was the right thing. She did the right thing and I wanted to do the right thing too."
Jonathan Krall, who helped start a group called Grassroots Alexandria, has organized protests near Spencer's Alexandria office space. He said people need to recognize that white supremacy exists in our society and take action to combat it.
"You talk with your neighbors, you get organized, you make friends with minority communities that have organized," Krall said. "There are church groups, there are political groups that people can get involved in. And they can work together to reverse this problem."
Alexandria Mayor Allison Silberberg condemned the flyers by calling them “horrible” and saying they "do not reflect the values of our beloved community and nation." In a statement posted on her Facebook page, Silberberg wrote:
“The fliers found in Del Ray are horrible and reflect a new low in ignorance. The Alexandria Police Department has responded quickly and is investigating. At this point, we do not know who posted the fliers. As the City Council and I stated in our Statement on Inclusiveness last November, I would like to say in the strongest possible terms that we denounce hate speech, hate crimes, and discrimination in all forms. Alexandria is a city of kindness and compassion. We are a city that is inclusive, accepting, and embracing. Diversity is a core value here. We as a community are far stronger than a few fliers, and we will remain steadfast in our commitment to these values which we hold so dear. Shame on those who have posted these hateful fliers. I know Alexandrians far and wide share these values. All across our city, we see yard signs that speak to kindness and inclusiveness. As hate speech and acts against humanity shock all Americans around the nation, all of us have a role to play as we state unequivocally that such acts do not reflect the values of our beloved community and nation.”