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I-1000/R88 opponents are linked to racist hate group

Backers of I-1000 call upon opponents to denounce their affiliation with Proud Boys hate group, national Trump-affiliated anti-rights organization, and end use of racially charged language


The following is from Washington Fairness:

SEATTLE (Oct. 14, 2019) — Supporters of Initiative 1000 on Monday demanded that the R-88 campaign — which is opposed to restoring affirmative action protections for women, veterans and people of color — denounce their affiliation with the Proud Boys, a nationalist hate group defined as a Designated Hate Group by the Southern Poverty Law Center. I-1000 supporters also called for opponents to stop equating I-1000 to racist “Jim Crow” laws.

Screenshot of Proud Boys member Zachary Staggs (left) discussing the “security services” he helped provide for the R88 campaign to repeal Initiative 1000.

The ties between I-1000 opponents and the Proud Boys were made public in a recent video, featuring Seattle-based Proud Boy and alt-right provocateur Zachary Staggs, where he boasts of his connection with the campaign to repeal I-1000, saying he provided private security for their petition signature turn-in this past July. The video intersperses promoting riot gear sponsorships with footage of Proud Boys members outside the Secretary of State’s Office in Olympia, and later with I-1000 opponents at a press conference. It is unknown how much Proud Boys or their members were compensated for this service, as opponents of I-1000 have failed to disclose payment or in-kind support from the nationalist organization.

Screenshot of Proud Boys member Zachary Staggs (in van) and associates providing security for the R88 petition delivery in July.

“Opponents of Initiative 1000 are showing their true colors through reaching out and hiring known white nationalists to assist with their campaign,” said Michelle Merriweather, President and CEO of the Urban League of Metropolitan Seattle. “Seattle’s Proud Boys are affiliates of a national terror organization sewing hatred and violence from here and Portland to Charlottesville — intimidating immigrants, women, people of color, and anyone else who disagrees with their agenda of hate and exclusion.”

Last week, I-1000 opponents also revealed they are working with Asian American Coalition for Education (AACE), a conservative organization supporting the Trump administration’s efforts to roll back equal access protections for many underrepresented communities on college campuses. AACE initiated the failed challenge to Harvard’s race-conscious admissions program, an affirmative action policy which was recently upheld by a federal judge.

“We are seeing now that opposition to I-1000 is indeed part of an extremist national agenda to deny equitable access to jobs, contracts and higher education to qualified but underrepresented populations, as well as women, veterans, and other marginalized communities,” said Martha Choe, a former Director of CTED (now State Department of Commerce) and Seattle City Councilmember. “Washington voters need to reject the cynical right-wing attacks on our efforts to restore fairness and opportunity by approving I-1000.”

I-1000 supporters have decried the racially charged language used by Referendum 88 sponsor Kan Qiu in a recent Seattle Times podcast. In the interview, Qiu said there was “no difference” between I-1000 and “Jim Crow” laws, which were discriminatory laws passed in the post-reconstruction South that enforced racial segregation.

Affirmative action laws and policies were implemented to help right the wrongs that decades of Jim Crow laws inflicted on our nation.

“My grandparents left Louisiana for Washington state to escape Jim Crow laws and provide a chance for their kids — and grandkids — to succeed,” said April Sims, co-chair of the Washington Fairness Campaign and Secretary Treasurer of the Washington State Labor Council, AFL-CIO. “Now, states like Idaho, Louisiana and Alabama are among the 42 states that have laws like I-1000 in place to help address historic inequities. For opponents of I-1000 to invoke Jim Crow is not only misleading, but deeply insulting to everyone who fought — some with their lives — to overturn institutional racism and exclusion.”

With four weeks until Election Day, and ballots being mailed to voters this week, supporters of I-1000 are continuing to expand their inclusive coalition of civil rights and community organizations, unions and businesses, tribes and civic leaders committed to restoring government outreach and recruitment in hiring, contracting and higher education.

“We are proud of our strong, positive campaign supported by a broad and deep coalition of business that includes Microsoft, Alaska Airlines, labor, tribes, civil rights and community organizations,” said Sims. “Every day, more Washingtonians are recognizing that the common sense provisions of I-1000 will help level the playing field for women, veterans, small business, and people of color. We believe voters believe in fairness and opportunity and will reject hatred and division by voting to approve I-1000 on November 5.”

ALSO at The Stand:

National veterans’ group backs I-1000 to expand opportunity (Oct. 8)
WA Fairness explains why voters should approve I-1000 / R88 (Sept. 13)

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