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August 29, 2013

Georgia Police Chief Accepts Award From Racists At Anti-Immigrant Rally

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Michael Hill hands award to Police Chief Lewis Smith in Uvalda

A Georgia police chief accepted an award from racists and anti-immigrant extremists at an anti-immigrant protest.

Michael Hill, the president of the League of the South (LOS), an implicitly racist neo-Confederate group, gave Police Chief Lewis Smith, chief of police of Uvalda, a small town in Georgia, the LOS’s “Robert E. Lee Award.” Hill reportedly gave Smith the award because of the chief’s support of the rally and as “a small token of [their] appreciation.”

Hill, who has become increasingly radical, was one of a number of racist speakers at the rally. Other speakers at the event included leaders in LOS and Michael Cushman, who heads the Southern Nationalist Network (SNN). Attendees, who included white supremacists Brad Griffin (also known as Hunter Wallace) and Kyle Rogers of the Council of Conservative Citizens, were also protesting Uvalda Mayor Paul Bridges’ support of a lawsuit against Georgia’s harsh immigration laws. 

Despite the fact that the Southern Poverty Law Center informed Chief Smith of the protesters’ extremism, Smith not only participated in the event, he brought refreshments for the protesters.

In an effort to play down their extremism, participants at the protest did not openly display white supremacist symbols or even the Confederate flag. They held up a flag from the SNN, a Georgia secession flag, as well as an LOS banner. Most of the participants also followed a dress code of slacks and shirts, as requested in the event’s announcement on the LOS Facebook page.

Speakers at the event, however, expressed racist, anti-immigrant views. Cushman claimed that immigration was “an invasion of our country” and argued that it was “immoral” to replace “a unique people,” meaning Southern whites, with immigrants. Hill asserted that “demographics is destiny” and argued, “This is our land. We settled it. We built it. And we own it. It’s ours.”

In addition, participants held handmade signs that read, “Mayor Bridges wants to replace us,” and “It’s wrong to replace us.” After the rally in Uvalda, the participants continued their protest in nearby Vidalia.

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August 14, 2013

Georgia Police Chief To Join Extremists At Anti-Immigration Protest

Lewis Smith, the chief of police of Uvalda, a small town in the state of Georgia (population around 600), has announced his intention to join an anti-immigration protest organized by white supremacists and neo-Confederate groups. 

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Michael Cushman

Smith indicated he planned to attend the event, scheduled for August 24 in Uvalda, on the Facebook page of the League of the South (LOS). LOS is an implicitly racist group that seeks to create a South predicated on “Anglo-Celtic” cultural dominance.  The original Facebook posting (which has since been modified) stated that the organizers of the event were Hunter Wallace (whose real name is Brad Griffin), a white supremacist who runs “Occidental Dissent” and Michael Cushman, who runs “Southern Nationalist Network.” “Occidental Dissent” is a racist blog that focuses on the South and “Southern Nationalist Network” is a neo-Confederate blog that focuses on “Southern identity.”

Others announcing they would attend the event include Matthew Heimbach, a white supremacist leader with the Traditionalist Youth Network, and Kyle Rogers, a key player in the white supremacist Council of Conservative Citizens. Michael Hill, the president of the League of the South, will also attend the event, along with other LOS members. The protest will purportedly focus on the claim that “immigration is destroying our Southern Culture.”

Immigration has recently played a significant role in the politics of tiny Uvalda. The mayor, Paul Bridges, has been very vocal in his opposition to HB87, Georgia’s harsh anti-immigration law passed in 2011. Bridges joined a 2011 lawsuit challenging the law, filed by the American Civil Liberties Union and the Southern Poverty Law Center.

Since 2011, Bridges and Smith have been involved in a series of disputes. Some of the disagreements between the two seem to have stemmed from issues related to immigrants living in the town.

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