Boise becomes third city in Pacific Northwest to denounce white nationalism

Posted at 2:40 PM, Sep 24, 2019
and last updated 2019-09-24 21:02:52-04

BOISE, Idaho — Boise Mayor David Bieter outlined a resolution to denounce white nationalism to the City Council Tuesday -- a resolution which Council members unanimously passed. By doing so, city officials are committing themselves to doing more to promote inclusion and diversity in Boise, while also discouraging hateful rhetoric or actions.

The resolution was spearheaded by United Vision of Idaho, billing itself as a "progressive, multi-issue organization dedicated to uniting Idahoans across the state and placing Idaho at the center of a national movement for systemic change."

Only two revisions were made to the original ordinance before it was passed. Councilmember Scot Ludwig said he does not believe it is the city's role to make comments on national politics about President Trump. So the Council removed the direct reference about the President, and replaced the term with "national leadership."

"I thought they did a really good job. We had a good discussion, and we were able for everybody to agree -- it's always stronger when we have unanimous agreement behind it. It was an important resolution and I think a really important day," said Bieter.

Idaho has a complicated history with with white nationalists. At one point, Idaho was the hub for Aryan Nations, a Christian Identity/white nationalist group operating out of the northern part of the state.

Bieter added, "If you're a refugee, if you're an immigrant, if you're from California -- everybody's welcome here. And that's just so important, I think, to the future in that we build a community that really looks after each other. Boise Kind is our effort to ensure that that continues. And this is just so much in line with that."

At the noon meeting, the Boise City Council chambers were packed with supporters of the ordinance who, according to the Facebook event invite, convened to send a message that white supremacy and white nationalism will not be tolerated.

"This ordinance is just the third to be passed in the Pacific Northwest -- long a haven for white nationalist groups. And this kind of organizing -- the kind that propels a working class movement -- is exactly what it will take to create, finally, a functioning multi-racial democracy here in the United States of America," said George Goehl, People's Action director.

The ordinance vote was followed by a standing ovation by the majority of those attending the Council meeting.