BLOOMINGTON, Ill. (WMBD) — Sunday morning, Bloomington residents near Vale and Oakland found sandwich bags stuffed with KKK propaganda inside, which Mayor Tari Renner called a “horrible movement backward” for the city.
We certainly have to recognize that these don’t reflect the values of the City of Bloomington. Bloomington is the home of the national movement, ‘Not in Our Town.’ We embrace the American ideal of a melting pot. We welcome people of all races, ethnic backgrounds, religions, and that’s who we are. That’s what we’re about, and we embrace the process of making America a more perfect union, and we’re not moving backward. This would be a horrible movement backward. We’re not going to do that.Tari Renner, Mayor | City of Bloomington
Mayor Renner said it’s disappointing to see this take place in the community and condemned the hate actions like this can incite.
“Distributing flyers isn’t illegal, but if you act on that, or if you attempt to scare people or hurt them or murder them, these are felonies and we will prosecute you,” Renner said.
Renner said he wants the community to know this not an indication of Bloomington and that hate has no place in the city.
“This kind of information does not reflect our community,” Renner said. “We do not believe these values. We need to stress again the better part of humanity, not the worst part of human-beings.”
Founder of the Bloomington-Normal chapter of the Not in Our Town movement, Mike Matejka said after incidents like this it’s important for everyone to come together and remove hate from the community.
“It’s always sad when you see the Ku Klux Klan try to use this time period of racial tension and people trying to come to mutual understanding to inflame hatred,” Matejka said.
Matejka said the KKK thrives on fear and urges people to take this negative situation and turn it into a positve.
“This is a great time to recycle,” Matejka said. “Take those flyers throw them in the trash.”
He also said now is a time for compassion and understanding in the United States, not hatred and division.
“People now need the calm time to listen to each other, learn from each other and to understand what racism has done to our country,” Matejka said. “It’s definitely not a time for division, it is a time for unity and healing.
Bloomington’s mayor encourages any community members who find leaflets to call the police department and report where it was found at 309-820-8888.
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