Occupy Kansas City group evicts anti-Semites, racists
The Kansas City Star
The unfortunate thing about an openly democratic organization inviting anyone to join the movement is sometimes the worst elements try to muscle their way in.
The Occupy Kansas City organizers caught on early, and this morning held a news conference to denounce anti-Semitics and racists who tried to say they were part of the group. The issue surfaced with the distribution of material produced by a group calling itself the “Occupy Kansas City Journal.”
Kansas City Councilman John Sharp received a mailing last month with a return address of Liberty Memorial 64108, which is where the Occupy KC group had set up camp. The large envelope, which had Ron Paul strickers all over it, contained “assertions usually reserved to the Aryan Nations and Ku Klux Klan,” a news release handed out at the press conference stated.
Michael Enriquez, an activist with Occupy Kansas City, said after the news conference at St. Marks Hope and Peace Luthern Church, 3800 Troost Ave., that the movement promoted unity and inclusion — never racism and anti-Semitism.
Enriquez and Jeremy Al-Haj, also with Occupy KC, said it was perhaps the first action since the Occupy movement began last year nationwide to police its ranks of divisive elements. The tea party movement had a similar problem but did not take action until the NAACP at its national convention in Kansas City called on the tea party to oust racist groups and individuals from its organization.
The tea party rails against big government. The Occupy movement has campaigned against foreclosures, voter suppression and wealth inequality.
Enriquez and Al-Haj with Occupy KC were joined at the news conference by Anita Russell, president of the Kansas City branch of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People; Marvin Szneler, executive director of the Kansas City Jewish Community Relations Bureau/American Jewish Committee; and Leonard Zeskind, president of the Institute for Research & Education on Human Rights.
Enriquez said: “We will not tolerate this. This is a poison that has to be checked.”