Reject KKK’s local presence

It’s shocking to see, but it’s true: The Ku Klux Klan has an organized presence in Fulton County.

In recent months, local residents have spotted KKK fliers on doorsteps and yards and a Gloversville man was arrested in Fort Plain for passing out KKK fliers without a permit. Recently, several members of the group showed their faces in a meeting with a Leader-Herald reporter.

They spew the typical KKK white supremacist lines, blaming blacks and other minorities for whatever ails society. They circulate racist KKK propaganda, wear white hoods and promote “white power.” They claim to have about 200 local members and say they’re trying to recruit more.

During the meeting, one of the members of the group gave the Leader-Herald a packet containing a number of offensive fliers and cartoons. While the group claims they are not a hate group, one of the fliers depicted the Jewish population as being the true perpetrators of slavery by listing the names of the ships’ owners as proof.

Another is a cartoon of a black man holding a huge pot with things such as a welfare check, affirmative action and food stamps in it. It is full of offensive Jim Crow language.

And yet another encourages children to join the “Kool Kids Klub.”

The Leader-Herald is publishing this series of stories about the KKK’s presence — not to promote the group’s racist agenda, but to raise people’s awareness about how this organization is infiltrating our neighborhoods.

All people — even racists — have a right to free speech, but we squarely reject the KKK’s beliefs and efforts.

The KKK serves only to divide the communities it touches. Regardless of how local KKK members describe their mission, we all know their objective is to spread hatred in Gloversville, Johnstown and the rest of Fulton County.

Our area is made up of good people of all races and religion. We don’t judge each other by skin color, choice of faith or sexual orientation.

Local politicians and citizens should not ignore the KKK. Downplaying the group’s local presence or hoping it will go away quietly is a poorly calculated response.

The people of Fulton County should step up and denounce the KKK and its racist ways. Unite and declare white supremacists and white separatists are unwelcome here.