Racist flyers littered a Houston neighborhood linked to national white supremacy recruitment

Literature found in various neighborhoods appear to be trying to entice people to join racist organizations

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Another Houston neighborhood is the scene of racist literature being distributed throughout the city. 

According to The Houston Chronicle, the flyers have been often found in bags weighted down with rocks as well as left on car windshields and windows. The flyers reportedly feature swastikas and other racist messaging including “white lives matter.” 

Houston Heights—also known as The Heights, is the latest neighborhood to be targeted. Previous incidents happened last February in two other communities, per the Chronicle.

“The Houston Police Department is aware of fliers with divisive messaging and propaganda distributed this weekend in various neighborhoods. We take this type of incident very seriously and are investigating the matter to the fullest extent,” a police spokesperson told the newspaper. 

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In its annual report, released Wednesday, March 9, 2022, the Southern Poverty Law Center said it identified 733 active hate groups in 2021, down from the 838 counted in 2020 and the 940 counted in 2019. (AP Photo/Steve Helber, File)

“This is a great neighborhood, and I’m upset these idiots decided to come here to try and spread their message,” said Pedro Ayarzagoitia, who found one of the bags and learned via the NextDoor app that others in the community had as well. 

The Anti-Defamation League Southwest’s regional director Mark Toubin said that their organization believes that the flyer distribution has been occurring on the third weekend of every month and is part of a larger effort to recruit white nationalists.

The Aryan Freedom Network is the name of the organization printed on the flyer found in The Heights this week, as well as in another area last month.

More mass flyer distributions have occurred in Texas than in any other state, according to the report, which says that there were more than 1,200 incidents recorded between 2018 and 2021. The state is the hub of Patriot Front—a white nationalist group that used the mass flyer distribution technique in 2019 and 2020. 

Lydia Bates, a senior research analyst for the SPLC said the technique is rooted in old white supremacist techniques. “They still call this tactic of spreading flyers a ‘night ride,’ and it serves the same purpose to intimidate and scare people, and spread their message and potentially recruit new members. The hatred and the violence is apparent in their words and their ideology.” 

“Night Riding” is a term used by the Ku Klux Klan to describe their acts of violence done under cover of darkness.

When asked about the KKK’s violent past, Goodloe Sutton, publisher of the Democrat-Reporter newspaper in Linden, Ala. told the Montgomery Advertiser, “A violent organization? Well, they didn’t kill but a few people,” Sutton said. “The Klan wasn’t violent until they needed to be.”

The Advertiser noted that Sutton and the Democrat-Reporter have a long history of racist reporting including republishing editorials from the 1930s and 40s which frequently feature racial slurs. 

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