Dozens of flyers featuring messages from a group promoting white supremacy that turned up in downtown Shreveport Thursday night weren’t up for long after word spread on social media.
The flyers featured a website linked to Patriot Front, an organization the Southern Poverty Law Center lists as “a white nationalist hate group that broke off from Vanguard America in the aftermath of the deadly “Unite the Right” rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, of August 12, 2017.”
When Shreveport resident Chris Jay spotted the flyers with slogans such as, “Reclaim America” and a map of the U.S. titled, “Not Stolen, Conquered,” he took to Facebook about his plans to take them down and asked others to join him.
That post inspired documentary filmmaker and Heliopolis journalist Chris Lyon and a friend to take action. He says they took down over 30 posters and stickers between 11 p.m. and 4 a.m. Friday and turned the information over to police.
Describing the posters as “anti-immigrant sentiments, anti-indigenous sayings, and other white supremacy propaganda,” Lyon explained to KTAL why he took the initiative.
“This kind of thing is something cities all over America face,” Lyon said. “Being in the Deep South it’s something we have come to be familiar with, but every time it happens it makes my blood boil and reminds me just how far we have to go in the battle against hatred..”
Lyon says that many people helped identify where the pictures were taken and some got out to help remove them.
“Through Chris Jay’s post and the posts of others, we all get to see that the people of Shreveport care about the community and won’t stand for hate speech in our city.”
The flyers turned up just as thousands are about to converge in Shreveport for the first major Mardi Gras parade of the season.
The Krewe of Centaur will roll on Saturday afternoon. The floats will load in the downtown area where thousands, including tourists, will gather in the streets to celebrate.
Shreveport isn’t the only city where these flyers have turned up recently, nor where residents have made a point to tear them down.
A Patriot Front Twitter account features similar flyers put up in cities across the country, from San Louis Obispo, California to the University of South Florida in Tampa to Boston, Massachusets.