Neo-Nazis march in Nashville after Black cultural event

Democratic State Rep. Justin Jones said the "racist, anti-immigrant rhetoric" of his Republican colleagues was contributing to the normalization of hate groups.

At least two dozen neo-Nazis marched through the streets after a Black cultural event in Nashville, Tennessee, on Saturday.

The Daily Beast reported that the neo-Nazis verbally attacked a man named Ruwan Karu, who followed and videotaped them, calling them cowards for disguising their identities behind masks while chanting and wielding enormous swastika flags.

“You don’t belong here. Go to your third-world country!” one of the extremists told Karu when he instructed them to “Show me your f—–g faces!” 

Neo Nazis march Nashville
Tennessee State Rep. Justin Jones was among the individuals who witnessed at least two dozen neo-Nazis marching through the streets of Nashville wielding swastikas on Feb. 17. (Photo by George Walker IV/AP, File)

The red-shirted white supremacists, seemingly affiliated with the fascist “Blood Tribe” group, used Black History Month as their chance to march past a section of downtown eateries and shops.

“Seeing Nazis rally in broad daylight on a lovely Saturday afternoon in downtown Nashville should make us all angry,” Karu told The Daily Beast. “Families enjoying chicken and BBQ were subject to hate our grandparents fought against.”

He added, “We need more people to let them know to their faces that they are, in fact, the minority.”

State Rep. Justin Jones also captured the scene, stating that it was alarming to leave a racial justice discussion session only to encounter neo-Nazis shouting disparaging remarks about immigrants just blocks from the state capitol and in the heart of Music City.

“Just left an event honoring a Black sorority and spoke of the need to unite against the rising tide of white supremacy, only to be confronted by Nazis marching through downtown Nashville,” Jones tweeted, according to The Daily Beast. “This is exactly what my Republican colleagues’ hate speech is fostering and inviting.”

Recommended Stories

Jones described the state of affairs as alarming and stated that his Republican colleagues’ “racist, anti-immigrant rhetoric” was contributing to the normalization of hate groups.

However, he said he didn’t want to run or hide from it because he believed that “we have to let people know that this is our community and that we’re not going to be intimidated.”

Last year, Jones and another Black member of the Tennessee House, Rep. Justin Pearson, garnered national attention after they were temporarily expelled for attending a gun control protest in the wake of a massacre at a private Christian elementary school. 

Although she did not experience the same discipline, a white legislator, Rep. Gloria Johnson, had joined them during the demonstration.

Jones stated he believes people should make a clear connection between the neo-Nazi march and the attacks on immigrants occurring in locations including statehouses.

He expressed his desire to prevent people from drawing the incorrect conclusion that the recent incident is disconnected from the “more subtle and sophisticated policies of racism.”

“These groups are being given a green light by people in suits,” Jones added, The Daily Beast reported. “There are people who don’t have a neo-Nazi flag, but who espouse the same ideology, through their rhetoric and through their policies.”

Never miss a beat: Get our daily stories straight to your inbox with theGrio’s newsletter.