Wayzata faith and anti-racism groups protest white supremacy
Local anti-racist activists rallied against white supremacy on a highway overpass in Wayzata on Wednesday, hoping to counteract a group of masked white supremacists who spread hateful messages on a pedestrian bridge earlier this month.
“We’re outdoing the Nazis,” said Martha McNey, sounding triumphant at the small rally that drew perhaps two dozen people. She’s a member of Indivisible MN03, which is a progressive non-profit, and the Anti Racism Commitment Coalition. She was appalled by the recent blatant racism, saying the actions of the white supremacists are “not the Christian way.”
The counterprotest was inspired by the events of Sept. 16, when a group gathered on a bridge over U.S. Highway 12 carrying signs that spouted hate speech like “end white genocide,” and “diversity means anti-white” while occasionally giving a Nazi salute to passing cars.
Josiah Kibira was driving home down Highway 12 when he saw them. His tweet would later garner over 400,000 views.
“I definitely considered confronting them, (but) I just knew that if I took pictures, put it out there, it would hurt them more,” Kibira said.
Kibira’s tweet shows the masked people waving to onlookers and oncoming drivers, their hateful signs tacked to the metal grate surrounding the pedestrian bridge. The identity of the protestors is unclear, and Wayzata police did respond to the situation, despite some typical internet disinformation about federal involvement in a false flag operation.
Tyler Grosshuesch first heard about the white supremacists from his wife, who noticed the signs during her drive home. Grosshuesch is a member of the Twin Cities Democratic Socialists of America and began organizing a counterprotest with help from some of his DSA friends. The plan was to meet on the same pedestrian bridge, but this time to spread messages of love and inclusivity.
Grosshuesch invited the Unitarian Universalist Church of Minnetonka, and word spread from there. They held homemade signs reading, “honk if you value diversity”; “choose love”; and “fight racism.” They were rewarded with cacophonous honking from below.
Grosshuesch said the white supremacists do not represent the Wayzata community, which is why he found it important to represent Wayzata in a better light. “Many of us are white but still feel threatened by white supremacist actions in their area,” Grosshuesch said.
Kibira, who said he heard honks in support of the white supremacists when he was taking pictures a couple weeks ago, isn’t so sure.
“It makes sense to me that this happened in Wayzata. I think the Nazis felt safe there, and knew people would agree with them. People need to know that there is more than one person doing this,” Kibira said.
As the Reformer reported recently, eight hate groups are believed to be active in Minnesota.