Wikipedia

Search results

Showing posts with label Southern Oregon. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Southern Oregon. Show all posts

31 January 2021

Medford bar proud of its racist sign UPDATED: Trophy Club issues 'non-apology,' plays victim card


This is the picture Ken Narasaki took as he drove by Medford's Trophy Club Bar & Grill. When he attempted to contact the owner, Narasaki was greeted with offensive remarks.

By Brad Smith

MEDFORD, Ore. -- On Monday, the Trophy Club took down its racist message and issued what some considered to be a "non-apology apology."

Then, the bar owners claimed they were victims of alleged death threats.

And, as of late Tuesday morning, the Trophy Club's Facebook page was taken down.

A few days ago, as he drove by the Trophy Club Bar & Grill, Ken Narasaki said he was "angered and shocked" by what he saw: The electronic sign proclaimed China Virus Hrs.

"It was very upsetting," he said. "Ever since the pandemic, Asian-Americans have been the brunt of racist attacks. It's ugly and wrong. What the hell is wrong with people?"

Narasaki said he nearly went inside the Trophy Club to speak with the owner.

"Then, I realized it could spiral out of control and there would be problems," he said. "So, I went home and figured a phone call would be best."

It wasn't.

When Narasaki called the Medford bar, located at 812 S. Central Ave., a female employee answered the phone. According to him, as he explained the situation and how "China Virus" was a racist slur, the employee hung up.

He called the bar again and, this time, a man answered.

"The guy used a terrible Asian accent and said, 'Hong Kong Chopstick Factory. Why don't you suck my fat white rod?'" Narasaki claimed. "It was very offensive but this guy thought he was funny."

The Rogue Free Press called the Trophy Club and after speaking with some female employees, spoke with a Brett Howard, after being initially blocked by an answering service. Howard said the sign wasn't racist and then launched into a series of personal attacks -- female employees could be heard giggling as he did so.

"Are you a moron," he said at one point. "Are you from around here? Are you even fucking married?"

Across social media, mainly Facebook and Yelp, the Trophy Club was slammed with complaints and negative reviews. Yelp finally locked down the bar's page until it could assess all of the negative postings.

Ambar Rodriguez, a reporter from CBS affiliate KTVL Channel 10, spoke with the other owner, Lori Fudge Howard, who issued this following statement:

"We are not and never have been racist, nor have our employees. The sign was not intended to be racist. It was to make light out of the situation we all have been going through for the past year. We apologize to whoever we offended. That was not our intention."

Narasaki called it a "non-apology."

"It's not an apology, I feel," he said. "I said that in my interview with the TV station. It's a 'non-apology apology.' No remorse, no honesty. None."

Rodriguez then reported the Howards took down the racist message due to alleged "death threats" they had received. Rodriguez said Lori Howard claimed that the bar had received telephonic threats. It's still uncertain if the Howards filed a report with the Medford Police Dept.

"So, they didn't take down the message because it was the right thing to do," one person opined on Facebook. "They took it down because of supposed death threats. They played the victim card."

This isn't the first case of anti Asian sentiment during the pandemic here in the Rogue Valley. Joe McPherson, who operates the Double R Pub in Rogue River, has made social media posts about "the Kung Flu" a number of times. Then again, given Rogue River's history of racism, no locals took issue with it. Recently, Grant Pass' Gold Miner Restaurant has advertised "China Virus" lunch specials for some time.

According to a September 2020 report issued by the Stop AAPI Hate Youth Campaign, a high school internship program at Stop AAPI Hate, a national center that collects reports of coronavirus discrimination against Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders, nearly 8 of 10 respondents expressed anger over the epidemic of hate against Asians as the pandemic went on. The data came from nearly 1,000 interviews of Asian American young adults conducted by a team of 87 Asian American high school students last summer.

According to NBC News, such cases were:
  • A 14-year-old student in Dallas was followed home by a group of high school boys who pretended to cough on him and shouted, "Ching chong! You have Chinese virus!"
  • A 17-year-old was told over social media that their "insides are full of 'fucking bats" and that they should kill themselves because they are a "dirty fucking dog eater."
  • An 18-year-old who was grocery shopping was called "chink" and told to go back where they came from.
It didn't help that Donald Trump kept using the term "China Virus" and emboldened his racist follows to do the same. According to Associated Press, there was a surge of racist social media memes that portrayed the Chinese as "bat eaters" responsible for spreading the virus and revived century-old tropes about Asian food being unclean and unhealthy.

Stop AAPI Hate reported last August that it had received more than 2,500 reports of hate and discrimination across the country since the group was founded in March, around the time the outbreak began to seriously worsen in the U.S. The group said it received data from 47 states, with 46 percent of the incidents taking place in California, followed by 14 percent in New York, AP also reported.

"I grew up in Washington state," Narasaki said. "I've dealt with racism before -- so, this isn't new to me. Being an actor in Seattle during the '70s and '80s, hell there was a lot of racism within the theater community. Now, there's this."

Narasaki has lived in Los Angeles the last several years but his girlfriend resides in the area. Since the pandemic, he's been spending a lot of time in southern Oregon.

"I love it here, I really do," he said. "And, I've met a many great, friendly and kind people. The scenery is something I've fallen in love with and I do feel at home here.

"But, the other day, I was reminded that there's still some ugliness in the world."

Narasaki shared his experience on social media and already the Trophy Club has been hit with negative comments on Yelp. Plus, there are early comments talking about previous examples of racism at the bar. The business' Facebook page has garnered negative reviews too.

In typical fashion, Trophy Club defenders have said there's no racism involved and everything has been blown out of proportion. Of course, many who are defending Howard and the Trophy Club are -- not surprisingly -- white. People have been quick to point out about the Spanish Flu pandemic, which broke out over a century ago. However, the "Spanish Flu" was a H1N1 virus that had genes of avian origin -- and it was first reported at an army base in Kansas. Fort Riley, to be exact, and it happened on March 11, 1918. It never originated in Spain.

But, let's be blunt: Given Brett Howard's interactions with the public and press about this, it's clear that he's fine with promoting a racist slur and sees no wrong with it. The reality is that Donald Trump didn't turn a large number of our follow Americans into rabid, hatemongering bullies and white nationalists.

He didn't.

Trump enabled them, emboldened them. For years, they lurked in the shadows and were afraid to announce and embrace their views. As president, Trump gave them the okay to be bigots and intolerant towards others.

What's happening now is going to be with the American people for a long time. No, it's not right. However, people can still take a stand against it.

Narasaki said he's received support from many after his initial post and many have said they will call the Trophy Club and complain.

"I hope people will take notice and take action," he said. "This isn't right. We're Americans and we should be better than this. You don't treat people like this. That's not who we are."

Here is Narasaki's post on Yelp:

Yelp took down my review of Trophy Club and their racist marquee because "it was not clear" that it was my "firsthand experience". Who the hell do you think took the photo of their marquee? And when a business writes a racist statement on their marquee, I think it's "firsthand experience" when you see it, which is sort of the point of a marquee.

Yelp also took down about a half-dozen other reviews complaining about that sign. Why? Yelp, are you in favor of protecting public racist sentiments?

I'm going to repost this because my experience does qualify as "first-hand experience":

I drove by this marquee on January 27, 2021, that crows "China Virus Hours".

A sign that proves that racism is alive and sick in Medford, Oregon.

This is not just "hurt feelings". I know from my own personal experience and from the experience of many of my Asian American friends, not to mention countless news articles, that Trump's (and others') use of the racist term "China Virus" led directly to hatred, open hostility, and violence against Asians and Asian Americans (racists never know the difference). People have been beaten, have had acid thrown in their faces, and have been spit on by people like this bar owner/manager.

Unless you're a white supremacist or think that maybe white supremacists might have a point, I suggest you not go here. Better yet, call (541) 772-4131 and tell them what you think of their sign.

Medfordians, do you want people to think that this is okay here?

ps: A quick check of their other Yelp reviews will show that this racist sign is no accident.

PPS: I called and tried to explain why "China Virus" was a racist term and the woman who answered simply hung up on me. When I called back, a guy answered in a mock Chinese accent: "Hong Kong Chopstick Factory. Why don't you suck my fat white rod?"




11 December 2020

Ex-Saltshaker: "It's a sick, twisted, hateful cult'


Former member describes his time with RV Saltshakers as 'Hellish'



Gabriel Macias was 15 years old when he joined the hate group RV Saltshakers. Years later, Macias regrets his time with the group.


By Brad Smith


JACKSON CO., Ore – Gabriel Macias has regrets about his time with the Southern Oregon hate group, the RV Saltshakers – and he hopes that others will avoid the mistakes he made.

“Don’t join them. Stay the hell away from them, that’s my advice,” he said. “Just stay away from them.”

Macias is a native Oregonian, growing up in Medford and the surrounding area. His father was a “habitual criminal” and Macias was a foster child for a number of years. He’d spent a long time with a foster family who were very conservative Christians. That upbringing left an impact on him and by the time he started living with his grandmother, he was “very religious.”

However, Macias said the absence of a father figure or any strong support system bothered him.

“I guess, in a way, that’s how I fell in with the Saltshakers,” he said.

In 2015, Macias saw the Saltshakers protesting and he decided to check it out.

“It was in the fall. That’s when it happened,” he said. “I was at the Ashland High School and one day, right across the street, I saw these people – they had signs, megaphones, they were chanting. I was curious, very curious. So, I went over to talk to them.”

That’s when Macias first met Jon Clement, the Saltshakers’ leader, and Mason Goodknight of the Community Outreach Evangelism or CORE, based out of Roseburg. Both men took an interest in him.

“They were very friendly, welcoming,” he said. “They asked me a lot questions, they started talking to me about God, Jesus, things like that. They seemed like they wanted to be my friends.”

And, Macias said, that is part of the trap.

“Many in the Saltshakers, especially Clement and senior members, are predatory,” he said. “I mean, they find your weaknesses and target them, that’s how they get your guard down and get you to join. They knew I didn’t have a strong support system, they knew my father wasn’t a part of my life. Clement and Goodknight, along with the others, acted like they were more than friends, like surrogate family members.”

Macias said he wasn’t the only one targeted that way.

“There were other kids they did the same thing too,” he said. “And adults who were targeted because they didn’t have much of family themselves. They were lonely and felt a need to be wanted, liked. Saltshakers filled that void for them.”

Clement, Goodknight and others in the Saltshakers/CORE group were “aggressive,” using megaphones to scream at people and provoking others to argue. Macias watched as women walked up to a Planned Parenthood clinic and “were swarmed by Saltshakers who yelled and screamed at them.” Saltshakers would also follow women down the street, waving signs and picture of aborted fetuses in their face.

“It was all very intense and very intrusive,” he said. “Looking back at it now, it was wrong and sickening. How can you treat people like that?”

Clement has been vocal about Saltshaker tactics over the years. In interviews, he admitted that intimidation was a “valuable tool.”

“It’s how we get our message across and let others know that we’ll never back down,” he said.

To the Saltshakers, what they perceive as “God’s law” overrules actual laws.

“Rules and regulations mean nothing to them,” Macias said. “They’ll push everything to the limit, just enough to get their message across. Now, when I was with them, they never talked about doing anything violent. It was just getting in people’s faces, yelling, screaming, harassing. Things like that.”

What bothered Macias the most was how Saltshakers “weaponized their kids.”

“Parents would bring their kids to these protests and it was very disturbing,” he said. “Kids would be holding these signs and pictures, saying things they didn’t understand – it was wrong. It bordered on child abuse; I feel. And, then they exposed other kids to those awful pictures and they felt it was the right thing to do.

“It was sickening.”

Macias said he went to an SOU Raiders game and passed out religious tracts. When the Saltshakers went to the 2016 Boatnik event in Grants Pass, he was there.

“I was like the dutiful soldier,” he said. “I went along and did my duty and received the praise and attention I felt I needed. Again, that void needed to be filled and the Saltshakers did just that.”

Meantime, Macias was also dealing with another secret: Being a closeted gay teen.

“Looking back at it, that was a big thing,” he said. “I was living this double life and we know how that will eventually tear people apart. I thought I could fill this void by being with the Saltshakers and it didn’t last long. I wasn’t being myself, I was not a nice person. I lashed out at my grandmother and others close to me. I didn’t like who I was.”

A year after being with the Saltshakers, Macias said he knew things had to change.

“It was time to come out, to come clean with myself and everyone else,” he said. “I had to do it before I imploded. So, I posted everything on Facebook. It felt good but there was a backlash from the Saltshakers.”

Some Saltshakers told Macias that he needed to repent or he would “burn in hell.”

“People I thought who were my friends said that I was a horrible sinner and some even called me ‘Judas,’” he said. “See, in their view, Jesus is all about hellfire, damnation and brimstone. A vengeful wrath of judgment and it just went against everything I believed in. There’s no love or mercy. It’s all about hellfire and damnation.”

Macias eventually relocated to Eugene and “basically started over.” He then ended up in southern California and found love. Now, he and his husband have been getting through 2020 like everyone else – and are happy, despite the social upheavals of a pandemic and a volatile election year.

“We visited family in Oregon earlier this year,” he said. “All in all, life’s good. We’re getting ready for the holidays and hoping for a better 2021. I think everyone is.”

Macias heard of people taking a stand against the Saltshakers and their allies. He decided it was time to speak out.

“What they’re doing is horrible and disgusting,” he said. “It did things to me and it’s traumatized me. I’m working it out and I hope other people will hear my story, leave the group and get help. Toxic hate and bigotry are the Saltshakers’ message. It has nothing to do with love. It has nothing to with Jesus or what he taught us. The Saltshakers aren’t Christians. They’re about hate. That’s what people need to know. But I also know that you can walk away, forgive yourself and put that hate behind you. That’s what I did. Others can do it as well.”


03 December 2020

Vigil held for Ellison, FBI now involved


 By Brad Smith

MEDFORD, Ore. – Over 200 people gathered at the Jackson County Courthouse for a Wednesday vigil for Aidan Ellison, a young Black man who was shot in Ashland on Nov. 23.

Southern Oregon Coalition for Racial Equity (SOEquity) the Rogue Action Center and other local racial/social groups helped put the vigil together. Kayla Wade, SOEquity’s founder, was among the speakers.

“We’re here because a white man thought that a young Black kid just expressing himself and listening to music and decompressing was unacceptable and needed to be dealt with,” she said. “We’re here because every person of color, every Black person in this community, has experienced something like that: Having a white person decide that how we’re living our lives is unacceptable and that we need to tone it down or need to be silenced. If we want to live in a world where we can exist with dignity, something has to change.”

As previously reported, on Nov. 23, Keegan allegedly shot and killed Ellison. The victim was reportedly in the Ashland's Stratford Inn parking lot and listening to music. Cops said that Keegan was not happy about the loud music and – armed with a concealed handgun – went outside to confront Ellison. An argument ensued and Ellison was shot. Keegan was taken into custody and charged with second-degree murder, first-degree manslaughter, unlawful possession of a firearm (Keegan didn't have a concealed weapon permit) and recklessly endangering another person. 

Court records added a few details to the incident. Keegan was reportedly awakened by loud music this happened at around 4 a.m. He told police that he got dressed, put the gun in his jacket pocket, and went to the front desk. An employee then went out to the parking lot and spoke with Ellison. As they were talked, Keegan went outside and then confronted the young man. That is how the argument started.

Keegan claimed that Ellison hit him in the face a number of times. However, the autopsy indicated that Ellison’s hands lacked bruising or marks consistent with a physical assault. And Keegan’s face wasn’t bruised or marked.

Keegan is still being held at the Jackson County and no bail has been set. His next court date is Feb. 22, 2021.

Ellison’s death sparked outrage throughout the Southern Oregon area and ire at some local media outlets. CBS affiliate KTVL 10 went into detail about Keegan’s alleged plight as someone displaced by September’s Almeda Fire while very little was said about the victim. Meantime, Ellison’s family, living in Klamath Falls, have been targeted by harassment from local white supremacists and even some law enforcement, Clarence Carr claimed.

“It’s been very hard for them and they’re getting by,” he said. “It’s a day by day thing. No one should have to go through this shit.”

A number of people from the BIPOC community spoke during the vigil, sharing their experiences with racism here in the Rogue Valley. As Carr noted, many came here hoping they could avoid it.

“But no matter what, it’s here and we need to do something about it.”

As some local media outlets published articles about the vigil on social media, racism did rear its ugly head from time to time. It got so bad that in one case, KTVL banned “Elijah Rebel Kruis” for promoting hate speech, they said. Kruis’ Facebook page is adorned with Confederate flags and far-right posts. Others, like William Meehan, Jr. and  Ronald King, blamed Ellison for playing “crap rap music” too loud and said the victim was being “disrespectful.” In short, they victim shamed.

It was reported that Keegan didn’t have a criminal record but a restraining order was filed by his ex-wife a number of years ago. She also alleged that both she and her son – whom Keegan had custody of – were victims of his emotional and physical abuse.

On Thursday, Chief Tighe O’Meara, Ashland Police Dept., issued the following press release:

 

In reference to the murder of Aidan Ellison, the Federal Bureau of Investigation is working with the Ashland Police Department to assess whether there are any potential violations of federal laws.

While, at this time, this has not been substantiated, under state or federal law, to have been a bias crime, it is important to examine all aspects of this case and determine whether a bias crime has been committed.

Anyone with information pertinent to this case is encouraged to contact the Ashland Police Department.

The Ashland Police Department is grateful for the FBI’s engagement on this case.

An anonymous source, a former law enforcement officer, said they were glad to see the FBI aiding with the investigation.

“According to Oregon law, a hate crime happens when somebody intentionally uses offensive physical contact, threatens physical injury or threatens to cause damage to the property of another person because of their actual or perceived race, color, religion, sexual orientation, gender identity or national origin,” they said. “Did that happen? Not that we know of, so far. We do have at least one witness and maybe some security camera footage – but if there is video footage, how good is the audio? What did the witness hear or see that would indicate this was racially motivated? Those factors have to be taken into consideration. As to how long it will take – it’s hard to say. They have a lot of work ahead of them.”

01 December 2020

UPDATE: Autopsy shuts down Keegan's self defense claims


Accused murderer Robert Keegan claims self-defense but evidence says otherwise. Photo courtesy of the Jackson Co. Sheriff's Office.

By Brad Smith

ASHLAND, Ore. – Accused murderer Robert Paul Keegan claimed that a 19-year-old Black man punched him in the face and that he acted in self-defense by shooting him.

According to an unsealed probable cause affidavit, Keegan told Ashland police officers after Aidan Ellison supposedly hit him, he took a few steps back, drew his 9mm semiauto pistol then “racked a round and shot (Ellison) in the chest.”

However, the medical examiner’s findings dispute Keegan’s claim.

Court records show that the autopsy found the victim had no injuries on his hands consistent with physical assault – and Keegan himself lacked visible signs of being punched in the face.

As previously reported, on Nov. 23, Keegan allegedly shot and killed Ellison. The victim was reportedly in the Ashland's Stratford Inn parking lot and listening to music. Cops said that Keegan was not happy about the loud music and – armed with a concealed handgun – went outside to confront Ellison. An argument ensued and Ellison was shot. Keegan was taken into custody and charged with second-degree murder, first-degree manslaughter, unlawful possession of a firearm (Keegan didn't have a concealed weapon permit) and recklessly endangering another person. 

Court records added a few details to the incident. Keegan was reportedly awakened by loud music this happened at around 4 a.m. He told police that he got dressed, put the gun in his jacket pocket, and went to the front desk. An employee then went out to the parking lot and spoke with Ellison. As they were talked, Keegan went outside and then confronted the young man. That is how the argument started.

Thirty minutes later, Ellison was dead.

Keegan appeared in court last Friday and pleaded not guilty to the four charges. As of press time, he’s still lodged at the Jackson County Jail and no bond has been posted. His next court appearance is scheduled for Feb. 22, 2021.

 Local media outlets reported that Keegan didn’t have a criminal record – however, in 2012, his then-wife Amy Jo Hoppins filed a restraining order against him when they lived in Coos County. Hoppins claimed that Keegan was both physically and emotionally abusive to her and their son. Fearing for her safety, Hoppins has gone into hiding and is attempting to regain custody of her son. She told The Rogue Free Press that she was still receiving threats from Keegan over the past year.

 A former law enforcement officer said they were “concerned” by Keegan’s account.

 “’Racked a round?’ That’s something you find in badly written private eye stories or other macho pulp crap novels,” they said. “It’s my opinion – my opinion, mind you – that Keegan was the aggressor here. He was looking for a confrontation. It sounds like the motel employee was doing their job and (Keegan) made things worse. Just another macho fuckup with a gun and a bad attitude.”

Local racial and social justice groups have already held vigils for Ellison and more are planned throughout the week.


 

27 August 2020

'You Are Enough' event goes forward despite racist Rogue River residents

SOEquity changed plans after threats from RR racists 


By Brad Smith


ROGUE RIVER, Ore. -- The location of Saturday's ‘You Are Enough’ event has been changed due to concerns over safety.


Southern Oregon Coalition for Racial Equality (SOEquity) vice-president Dominique Toyer said the Aug. 29 march and event was meant to promote racial justice and equity. The plan was to have participants meet at the Rogue River city hall offices on Broadway Street around 10 a.m. The plan was to have the march move through town and finish at Palmerton Park, she said.


“From the very beginning, it was planned to be peaceful and focusing on how racism affects children and young people of color in rural towns,” Toyer said. “After the march, we planned for a barbeque and an open mic available for anyone wanting to share their experiences. A family-friendly event shedding light on racism in smaller towns. The reality is that small, rural towns often have less diversity than bigger cities and racism is prevalent.”


Earlier this month, Toyer addressed the Rogue River city council about the issue of racism in their community.


Rogue River does have a problem. For example:

  • Joe McPherson is a business owner, The Double R Pub. Since the Covid-19 pandemic, McPherson has made a number of racial slurs such as “Kung Flu” or the “Asian Flu” on social media. He doubles down when confronted and others -- mainly Rogue River residents -- have defended him and repeated the very same slurs. Most echoed terms used by Trump.

  • During a 2016 9/11 ceremony held by VFW Post 4116, now deceased member Chuck Spark said that if anyone took a knee during the event, there would be “trouble.” Especially if they acted like that "Black SOB Colin Kaepernick." During a conversation with Mark Poling -- VFW member and city councilor -- Kaepernick’s name was mentioned. Another VFW member overheard the conversation and said, “Kaepernick -- where’s the goddamned KKK when you need them the most?” Poling said nothing and laughed.

  • *Diane Hawkins (name has been changed) said she was invited to have dinner with friends at the VFW. “This was when President Obama was in office. People were repeatedly saying the N-word, others talked about lynching (Obama) like they did to Blacks a long time ago and said a cross should be burned on the White House lawn. It was disgusting. I’ve never been back there. Filthy bigots.”

  • Michael Vieira, a Rogue River resident, made social media comments on how no one is allowed to criticize “the Zionist Jews” and people like Mel Gibson have to apologize or else never work again.

  • During a Rogue River planning commission meeting years ago, someone preparing a PowerPoint turned on her laptop and there was an image of her son on it, next to his bike. A Japanese motorcycle. One of the commissioners said, “Get rid of that goddamned Jap rice rocket.” Most laughed but no one rebuked the commissioner.

  • For many years, a Rogue River church used its ad space in the Rogue River Press to run anti-Islamic diatribes. The congregation members never complained about the adverts nor did the readers. They continued until the pastor died.

Rogue River has a serious problem.


Which became evident as news of “You Are Enough” hit local social media. Residents like Steve Elyes and Emil Merusi railed that there would be “burning and looting.” Merusi joked about hitting people with a pickup and “healthcare worker” Penny Tolman posted an “All Lives Splatter” picture. Brian Campbell threatened in posts about showing up with weapons and wanted others to join him.


“I’m making potato salad and marinade for the meat. This is a family friendly event, it’s not some armed invasion. This is very frustrating,” Toyer said during a Facebook video post. “What the hell is wrong with some people? This is something for everyone and it's peaceful. That's all it is.”

 

Toyer said the city was very helpful throughout the permitting process. However, when Toyer and others dropped off the paperwork, they learned that others had rented areas of the park needed for the event.

 

“We decided to give it a try, staying at Palmerton,” she said. “But, the threats were still posting all across Facebook. Everyone in my group was bringing food. These assholes were bringing guns and threatening us. But, lately, that’s been the case.”

 

Medford. Coos Bay. Cave Junction. Medford again. Peaceful protesters have been met with hostility from right-wing extremists, so-called “patriots.” “Patriots” who stand side by side, shoulder to shoulder, with violent neo-Nazis and Holocaust deniers such as Keith "Biome Michael" Erickson and Greg Marchese. It would seem that Southern Oregon's “patriots” are fine with neo-Nazis among their ranks.

 

That’s Trump's America. He said the right wing extremists in Charlottesville were very fine people -- even when one of them killed an innocent woman. Trump urged right wing extremists to “take back their states” after a number of governors initiated lockdown protocols when he failed to take action during the Covid-19 pandemic. He also used racist slurs regarding the virus -- something that local business owner Joe McPherson and other residents have done on social media.

 

And, they think it’s funny.

 

People in Rogue River are, well, brazenly racist and stupid about this event.

 

The local newspaper, The Rogue River Press, did an article on the event. An Amy Blair responded with this bizarre rant:


Ok I have a problem with your soequity article you say "she said that all of the people involved in the rally are from southern oregon, and none of will have a connection to either activities associated with Black Lives Matter in Portland or a rally in cave junction " if you visit their webpage they clearly tout themselves as Black Lives Matter.. it's on their homepage and they provide a white reading list... seems to me that this article makes it appear that this group has no ties to the BLM when clearly they do.


I'm just letting you know that your source provided you misleading information. Clearly on their page they are in support for the group. I'll be talking to our local police today to find out what their plans are as cities have been burned in the name if this group. I agree they are welcome to march or whatever because we are a welcoming community. But they shouldn't be providing misleading information regarding their affiliation. Smh.


As SOEquity prepares to move the event to another Rogue River location, Toyer said she’s not surprised nor disappointed.


“All those threats and other nasty comments we’ve received this past week -- it proved my point,” she said. “Rogue River has a serious racism problem and we’re continuing our work, opening dialogues with Southern Oregon communities. Educating. Forging an understanding between everyone. The racists in Rogue River haven’t stopped us. Not one bit.”


19 August 2020

POV: This Is What Rogue River Residents Should Do

One of the best anonymous comments regarding the initial Rogue River article.
This.
No threats. No yelling and screaming. No guns. To put it succinctly: No macho shit.
Just do this. Everyone learns from it and is a winner.

"The answer to the question in the title, is No. The community of Rogue River is not racist and should not be defined by the ignorance or bigotry of some members of the community.

"Why? For the same reason supporters of the Black Lives Matter organization should not all be labeled "Marxists". There certainly are Marxist people in that organization and some of the charter beliefs are Marxist philosophy.

"But the vast majority of people who support BLM want racial equality and trust in policing. They are not supporters of Marxist beliefs. And that is good, because Marxism has caused the deaths and incarceration of MILLIONS of human beings over the last 100 years.

"Rogue River, like most communities can benefit from more engagement and listening. Goodwill and understanding can be fostered if people get to know each other as human beings and not rivals.

"So go attend that BBQ and do not counter protest. Just engage and enjoy each others humanity."

18 August 2020

You Are Enough Rally Set For Rogue River Aug. 29

 Organizers hope to open a dialogue, understanding

By Brad Smith

ROGUE RIVER, Ore. -- A special rally is planned for Aug. 29, including a march, a BBQ and some entertainment -- an event aimed at raising awareness of racial dynamics in Rogue River.

“We call it 'You Are Enough,’” said event organizer Dominique Toyer. “It’s a peaceful, family friendly  event with the goals of opening a dialogue with the community and promoting an understanding. There are people in Rogue River who feel there's a problem with racism. They see it, they've experienced it. They want to talk about it, again, with the hopes of making the community aware of the problem.”

Toyer is part of the Southern Oregon Coalition for Racial Equity, located here in southern Oregon. She was active in the BLM rallies held in June and has participated in events held elsewhere in Oregon, most recently in Coos Bay. She appeared at a Rogue River city council workshop a few weeks ago and talked about racism in the community.

“I know it made some of the councilors uncomfortable. It’s not an easy thing to discuss nor to acknowledge,” she said. “But, if you ignore the problem -- it’s not going away. It’ll fester and get worse. No one wants to think that something bad happens in their town. But, unfortunately, it does happen and you need to face it, talk about it.”

Mayor Wayne Stuart and city administrator Mark Reagles both felt Toyer was “very brave” for coming to the meeting and discussing the issue. However, neither agreed that there was a problem.

“We’re a very diverse community, we don’t have a problem with racism here,” Stuart said, “I don't think it’s an issue.”

Rogue River isn’t that diverse -- not with nearly 94 percent of residents white and the rest made up of various other races. And, when looking at local social media posts, many residents feel that anyone associated with the BLM movement is a “Marxist” or “terrorist.” A number of current and former residents contacted the The Rogue Free Press and shared their experiences with racism in Rogue River. The local VFW and some businesses were noted as some of the biggest offenders.

In short, there’s a problem.

“The best way to address something like this is by opening a dialogue,” Toyer said. “That’s our goal. Dialogue. Awareness. Share an understanding. All of that leads to a better community.”

Toyer said at 10 a.m. Aug. 29, there would be a march through town followed by a barbeque at Palmerton Park. People will speak about their experiences being biracial and some entertainment is planned.”

“I hope people will come out and join us,” she said. “It’s going to be a good time.”

Toyer said brochures about the event will be distributed throughout Rogue River sometime this week or so. In the meantime, other events are planned throughout the Rogue Valley and beyond.

“I want a better world for my son,” she said. “I want a better world for all children. That’s why we do this.”

Saturday, Aug. 29, will be a defining moment for Rogue River. It will be interesting to see how some residents will react.

Toyer is a member of the Southern Oregon Coalition for Racial Equity. It's been corrected and The Rogue Free Press apologizes for the mistake.


17 August 2020

Biggs Faces Hate Crime Charges

By Brad Smith

MEDFORD, Ore. -- A man who thought he would violently disrupt the June Black Lives Matter rallies have gotten more than he bargained for.

During the June 1 BLM rally, Christopher Ryan Biggs, 38, White City, allegedly drove his truck into a crowd of BLM protesters -- which got him hit with a hate crime. Now, the Jackson County DA’s Office has filed additional charges against Biggs, particularly using his truck as a weapon.

Biggs already faces first-degree crime bias -- a felony charge -- as the DA’s Office alleges he purposely placed others in “fear of imminent serious physical injury” because of his “perception of the race, color, religion, national origin or sexual orientation” of the alleged victims, court records say.

According to the DA’s Office, it’s alleged that Biggs was “motivated by prejudice” as he sped up his black Dodge Ram pickup and drove into some BLM protesters. Deputy DA Michael Cohen filed the charges in Jackson County Circuit Court on Aug. 12.

According to an affidavit filed by the Medford Police Dept., at around 4:30 p.m. June 1, MPD officers reportedly saw Biggs’ Dodge pickup approach BLM protesters, who were located at East Main Street and North Central Avenue. The officers reported Biggs’ pickup was moving at a “high rate of speed” as it drove into the crowd. The officers also reported protesters screamed and the truck did hit one person, who sustained minor injuries.

According to court records, MPD officers reviewed a number of videos. They felt it wasn’t safe for Biggs to drive the way he did.

Biggs, on his part, has claimed he was downtown looking for his daughter after her vehicle was allegedly swarmed by protesters. He also alleged protesters struck his truck and tried to climb inside.

However, MPD officers found no video footage supporting Biggs’ claim. And, one MPD officer reportedly heard Biggs scream “Fucking queers” at protesters before the alleged incident. Biggs said someone in another truck shouted the slur but one MPD officer said they heard (Biggs) yell the slur.

On social media, supposedly staunch Blue Lives Matter supporters were angered by the MPD officers’ statements and were questioning “Back the Blue.”

Biggs’ next court appearance is set for Oct. 12. As of press time, Biggs has refused a court appointed public defender and said he would act as his own defense.

According to court records, in the past Biggs has been arrested for fourth-degree assault, harassment, some traffic offenses and procuring alcohol for a minor.


02 August 2020

Local Neo-Nazi Appears At Sweet Home Rally




By
Brad Smith

SWEET HOME, Ore. -- Infamous local neo-Nazi Keith Michael Erickson -- also known as "Biome Michael" -- took part in a so-called "Liberty Rally" on July 17.

Erickson told The New Era reporters -- Sweet Home's newspaper -- that he had learned of the rally via Telegram, a social media app that right wing extremists frequently use. He reached out to the event organizer, Jimy White. White and Erickson posed for a picture of them hold a Black Lives Matter banner. 

White posted it on his Twitter account.

According to The New Era article, Erickson said "'white America was better' and talked about wanting white people to only associate with other white people. While giving a speech on a bullhorn, Erickson said 'racism is anything the left doesn't agree with.'"

Erickson then reportedly shadowed a local journalist during the rally -- he allegedly asked about their ethnic heritage and if they the reporter were an FBI agent. During the rally, Erickson said those who wore masks were "subhuman."

On his social media accounts, Erickson describes himself as "White (Aryan) Male American National Socialist / Historical Revisionist." He is a Holocaust denier and a 9/11 conspiracy theorist. In December 2018, Erickson and Gregg Marchese, another white supremacist, were barred from entering Havurah Shir Hadash, an Ashland synagogue, where a packed audience turned out to hear a presentation about anti-Semitism in the U.S. and around the world. According to local media reports, Marchese recently posted on Facebook that the KKK was created to protect Southerners from "powerful Jews who had Lincoln killed (and) roaming gangs of recently freed slaves inflicting murder, rape and vandalism on whites."

In January 2019, Erickson and Marchese appeared at a Medford anti-hate crime event featuring Oregon's Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum.

“I don’t feel safe myself,” Erickson. “And, I’m confused why Jewish people don’t like me. I have nothing against them. I just follow the truth and know the real history of the Holocaust. I want to be safe,” he said. “If I want to say that white pride is good, I should feel safe doing that.”

Over the past year, Erickson started attending events held at the Williams Grange in Josephine County. It didn't go well.

The following is from social media posts about Erickson and the Williams Grange:


Self-described Neo-Nazi Continues To Be
Accommodated By The Williams Community

Biome Michael Erickson, a self-described Neo-Nazi continues to be accommodated by many segments of the Williams community. Biome, both in person and on social media, promotes an anti-Semitic and white-supremacist agenda. Biome’s racist posts, links, commentary, and public disruptions are not limited to anti-Semitism, but also include misogynist, anti-black, anti- immigrant, and anti-native content. We are not talking about subtle political ideas, he is openly working towards the proliferation of an American-styleThird Reich. He has a history in the Rogue Valley for promoting this agenda and has been virtually banned from most of Ashland because of his posting of anti-Semitic flyers, racist public declarations, and aggressive physical behavior backing these beliefs. He frequently makes appearances at the monthly Pancake Breakfast held at the Williams Grange. This past week (10/13/19), Biome was confronted and told to leave by some community members, but Grange Master Brian Barton refused to allow this eviction, and instead attempted to kick out those who tired to make Biome leave. The Grange has been asked multiple times by various people in the community, including some who volunteer and work at the breakfast, to not allow Biome to participate in the Pancake Breakfast, but the Grange continues to refuse this request. Therefore, some community members are calling for a boycott and pulling of support for The Williams Grange until Biome is told not to attend events held there, especially events that others attending feel uncomfortable with his presence due to his hate-filled racist platform and active promotion of these goals.

Biome’s activities include not only online organizing and promotion of his self-described American National Socialism, but he also publicly rallies with white-supremacists and has repeatedly disrupted gatherings at Synagogues and organized events focused on the Holocaust, Hate, and Racism. His Facebook has been slower recently, but it demonstrates a clear picture of the devolution of his attitudes over the past several years. Lately, he has been very active on Twitter. Just a quick search of recent tweets by Biome Michael Erickson (@biomemichael) reveal his active role in the proliferation of ethnic hatred and a fascist agenda. Some of the tweets on their own don’t have the full impact as they do in the context of the overall picture. 

The following are directly taken from his Twitter account:

Oct 5
Make Oregon White Again. MOWA. I have many, many video clips recently of black barbarism against whites while the Jew media pushes incessant anti-White narratives, ignoring the black assaults. The Goyim know. twitter.com/Nature_and_Rac…

Oct 3
An independent and benevolent autocrat, with well-deserved broad popular support, would tackle the pressing issues and those driving this world into a dystopian nightmare. May such a one rise from the masses to lead authentically. bitchute.com/video/

Oct 3
May the world come to learn the truth about Adolf Hitler and shed the mantle of lies promulgated by his enemies and the enemies all of good, beautiful and noble peoples. twitter.com/IPrevail4/stat…

Oct 3
Replying to @MoonRos @LutherBeckett
Do not equate National Socialist Germany with the Judeo-Masonic terror state of Israel. They are poles apart in ethic and worldview. History decrees you know the truth and that we stop using NS Germany as a whipping boy. bitchute.com/video/LBFuWMUZ…

Oct 2
Replying to @XiolaMoon
That would imply that they have the capacity for being rational, sentimental sentient beings instead of the demented sociopaths they are. The greatest mistake is believing that others operate similar to us.

Oct 2
Replying to @Know_More_News @ramzpaul
Very odd, @ramzpaul. Jews, bc of their elite supremacist religious, racial, national tendencies coupled with their subversion and terrorism against non-subservient non-Jews means Judaic political economy needs to be dismantled and Jews assimilated, at best.

Oct 2
Replying to @ramzpaul
Unfortunately and sadly, our current situation merits that the Jewish people are the only ethnicity who DO NOT DESERVE a national homeland (Israel being a base for global terroristic kleptocracy). Jews must assimilate and their malevolent quest for global supremacy must end.

Oct 2
Replying to @Henrik_Palmgren @redicetv @Know_More_News
We speculate why amazing content channels such as @redicetv, @Know_More_News are permitted by the kosher technocrats to carry on where smaller, yet still amazing channels get purged. I suspect they like the thrill of allowing some strategic dissent. Too easy if all are gassed.

Sep 15
Replying to @TalbertSwan @PolkSchoolsNews
All the unreported or underreported instances of black on white crimes, assaults, attacks, rapes, etc and you are frantic about an interracial kid school fight? More reason to have segregation brought back. 

Aug 27
Call for an Aryan Natural Aristocratic Military Coup to bring ZOG to heel and National Socialist Citizens Militias to protect communities from the bands of Deep State Mercenaries and Zombie Thugs! Reclaim Media, Finanace, Academia, Culture and Politics from the Jew Masons.

Aug 25
Replying to @gpbwesh @WESH
GODSPEED to the inevitable authentic National Socialist revival which, having seen through the lies and myths of the 20th century, will reclaim this planet from the International Jew Masons and allow for autonomous ethnostates for all!

Aug 25
Replying to @_whitneywebb @DoItForMaMa
Hitler never would have allowed the Jew terrorists to gain the type of foothold and leverage they did in postwar Palestine... though the aims of NSDAP and zionist factions dovetailed... Jews out of Europe!

Aug 25
Replying to @MatthewParrott @charliekirk11
Israel has no right to exist. Ethnostates for all except the exceptional Judaics which must either be banished to their Madagascar penal colony, so no one can bother them (and they cannot bother anyone else), or else the dreaded assimilation. 

Aug 19
CNN has me at 14:00 in this video from the protests in Portland this past Saturday. youtu.be/D7qKxerrntY 
(NOTE: This protest Biome refers to was an Alt.-Right white-supremacist rally)

Jun 15
Replying to @StefanMolyneux
My turn. Harriet Tubman. The Tubby Tubby Tub Toy... soon to come to your $20 bill. Boycott the Shekel!. In return for what... the transnational GloboHomo currency? Prepare for battle.

Dec 28
Replying to @DianeDenizen @RichieAllenShow
Everybody needs a genetic test and an armband declaring the results of the test indicating not only biological gender, but also dominant ethnic origination, so that we may be certain about who (or what we are dealing with) in day-to-day interactions.

——————————————————————————

So What Now?
There is no doubt that Biome Michael Erickson is a neo-Nazi activist. Not just a sick person alone in his head, Biome works to manifest these sick ideas and conspire with others to broaden their appeal. He envisions a populist movement, or at least a vanguardist push, to implement his ideas, and he continually works toward the goal of forming a new American National Socialist (neo-Nazi) movement and regime. So, as folks who do not wish to squash individuality and free thought, yet cannot let this racist intolerance and potential ethnically-driven violence go unchallenged, how to proceed from here? After a year of Biome’s ongoing activity in Williams (and much longer in the general region), it is up to each individual to act according to their own conscience and feelings, BUT, inactivity feels like complicity. At a minimum, many feel that Biome should not be allowed to participate in or attend community events, as he uses these events as recruitment pools for his twisted cause and creates triggering and traumatic situations for others. 

Again, some community members are calling for a boycott and pulling of support for The Williams Grange until Biome is told not to come to events held there, especially events that others attending feel uncomfortable with his presence due to his hate-filled racist platform and active promotion of these goals. While we should clearly embrace a broadly diverse range of perspectives, even some that challenge each of us and make us uncomfortable, BUT, those like Biome’s, those clearly derived from hate, twisted bias, misinformation, and prejudice, and those whose ultimate goal is racist violence, is unacceptable, especially in a community which prides itself on its loving, diverse, peaceful, and compassionate perspectives. Enough is enough. There is no room for Nazis in Williams. It should seem almost instinctual to tell a self-proclaimed and active neo-Nazi that they are not welcome in our community and at our events, but it often seems like many people spend more time coming up with reasons why we shouldn’t say or do something. That is a sad state of human relations, one which is a part of the general crisis we are all in. Please contact the Williams Grange (and other venues) and ask them to not allow those who promote ethnic, racist, sexist, or any other biased-based hate at their events. Pleas share this post.

Sources claim Erickson has had some resistance from those attending Grange events. Other than that, Ashland residents have taken a few steps at pushing back against Erickson. Some attending the Sweet Home rally weren't happy about Erickson's presence or White's racist views. Since early June, many across the Rogue Valley have been taking a stand against those like Erickson, Marchese and White -- joining others across the United States.

Once people like Erickson and his fellow extremists are exposed -- one can only hope others will push back against them as well.

Cancel Culture: It Happened to Me

Yes -- I was "canceled" . . . . By Brad Smith Ever since I wrote and published the article about Talent Elementary special educati...