Who they are
Jason Kessler, the organizer of the rally, wrote that the purpose of the event was to protest the “civil rights abuse” in Charlottesville and called it a “white civil rights” rally.
- Flashback: The rally will be held exactly one year after a driver mowed into a crowd of people protesting the white nationalist rally in Charlottesville, killing Heather Heyer.
Details: Kessler organized the rally, but he didn’t do it without help. Other organizers and prominent members include:
- Richard Spencer and the National Policy Institute, “an independent organization dedicated to the heritage, identity, and future of people of European descent in the United States and around the world.”
- Matthew Heimbach, founder of the Youth for Western Culture and the White Student Union at Towson University.
- Mike “Enoch” Peinovich, an alt-right, anti-Semitic blogger and podcaster.
- Tim “Baked Alaska” Gionet, a social media troll who toured with the incendiary, alt-right leader Milo Yiannopoulos last year.
- Nathan Domingo, the founder of White Supremacist group Identity Evropa.
- David Duke, former Ku Klux Klan Grand Wizard.
As white nationalist groups have become louder and more present in America, so has the opposition fighting for equality. Many of them fall under the banner of Antifa — short for anti-fascist — and some are known to be violent themselves.
- Showing up for Racial Justice, a group claiming “none of us can be free until we end white supremacy.”
- Anti-Racist Action, founded in 1988, is an anti-racist, anti-sexist, anti-homophobic, anti-discrimination group, which wants “a free classless society.”
- Rednick Revolt, a group opposing white supremacy while not claiming to be liberal.
What’s going on
Organizers and other white supremacists have become emboldened in the last year despite the outrage over Charlottesville.
- At least eight white nationalists are openly running for office, NBC News reported, including Arthur Jones, a former member of the American Nazi party.
- Spencer has held other white nationalist rallies including one just eight weeks after the Charlottesville tragedy in the same space.
- Two white nationalist political parties hosted a national conference in Tennessee earlier this month.
Opposition groups have clashed with the white nationalist groups since Charlottesville. Some of these protests have morphed into riots, leading to arrests and injuries.
- At Michigan State, where Spencer was scheduled to speak, 12 people were arrested in March after a clash between protestors and white nationalists.
- Another Spencer speech at the University of Florida in October led police to declare a state of emergency on campus.
- A protestor attempted to interrupt a “White Lives Matter” rally in Tennessee last October but was arrested by police officers.