As almost everyone in Columbia has heard by now, a neo-Nazi hate group that calls itself the National Socialist Movement (NSM) is coming to town this Saturday, March 10. They have a permit to march on streets adjacent to the MU campus between noon and 5 p.m. Peaceworks is joining with other progressive groups as well as city officials in encouraging all to oppose these hate-mongers, but also not to play into their hands by confronting them. Working with others in the community we are participating in the following (note some of this is tentative or in the process of being finalized):
1) Declaring Saturday "Tolerance Day" in Columbia. A news conference will be held Thursday at 8:30 a.m. at the Boone County Courthouse attended by a broad cross-section of our community leadership. They will issue a declaration that hatred is not welcome in our town and will encourage all in our community to reject the vile racism, homophobia and bigotry of the NSM. They also will encourage Columbia citizens not to play into the hands of the NSM by attending their march and confronting them. Rather, they will encourage the citizens to attend a Diversity Celebration to be held in Douglass Park during the time the Nazis will be marching (see below).
2) Help raise money to support diversity and oppose bigotry. The Columbia Acceptance Project has set up a website (click here) where community members can make pledges to contribute a set amount for each minute the NSM marches. The funds will go to benefit groups including:
Centro Latino, the "Blind" Boone Community Center, the Columbia Trust J.W. Blind Boone Home, the Center Project, the NAACP and the Southern Poverty Law Center.
3) Distributing signs for posting in store and office windows throughout downtown declaring "No Hate in Our Town." This effort has been endorsed by the Downtown Columbia Associations. Peaceworks is coordinating printing and distributing these signs. The signs should be printed by Wednesday mid-morning, and we are looking for volunteers to help distribute these on Wednesday and Thursday. If you can help with this, please give us a call ASAP at the Peace Nook (573-875-0539).
4) Diversity Celebration at Douglass Park: the aforementioned gathering will take place from noon to 5 on Saturday. There will be music, booths, activities free food and much more for people of all ages and all backgrounds. Coming together we can make a strong statement of our solidarity and our shared opposition to hate-mongers like the NSM