Racist flier disgusts Port Huron neighborhood
When Julie McIntyre discovered a flier distributed by a white-supremacist organization had landed in her lawn, she was appalled.
When she realized many of her neighbors had found similar fliers, rolled up, secured with rubber bands, and tossed into yards or driveways, she was shocked.
"My husband brought one in and I was totally disgusted," said McIntyre, 58, who lives on Old Squire Lane off Sanborn Avenue in Port Huron's north end. "I just don't get it."
She said she and her neighbors were aghast to find the black and white pamphlets, printed with giant swastikas and phrases such as "Missing: A future for white children" and "White Revolution! The only solution."
Each flier lists the Michigan e-mail address and phone number of the National Socialist Movement, a white-supremacist organization that advocates the establishment of a separate white nation.
It calls itself "America's Nazi Party."
Port Huron police Sgt. Diana Tramski said they received three reports of the fliers Friday morning. Fliers were found near Holland and Gratiot avenues, and on Crimson Court and Old Squire Lane.
Capt. Don Porrett said there also were fliers found Monday near Gratiot Avenue and Krafft Road.
Dan Hill, the movement's Michigan leader, said members of the organization's southeast Michigan unit circulated the fliers throughout Port Huron this week. Hill, who is from Jeddo and now lives in Warren, said the group also distributed fliers in St. Clair, and plans to continue scattering them throughout the county for the next month.
The southeast unit, which stretches from Midland to the southern state line, has about 100 members, he said.
Daniella Yu, McIntyre's neighbor, said she did not understand the group's message.
"I think it is weird. We all come to the United States for one reason, to work hard and have better lives," said Yu, a U.S. citizen born in Brazil.
Yu lives on Old Squire Lane about two miles from Port Huron Northern High School on Krafft Road.
Hill said they deliberately distributed the pamphlets in the north end of town, near the high school, because of a number of published reports of racial incidents at the school this year.
Just this month, there was a racial threat found scrawled on a school bathroom wall.
Hill said he hoped to offer young people an alternative "way to express themselves."
He said his group opposes racial slurs and violence.
"We are trying to promote segregation in a peaceful form," Hill said.
He insists his organization, which affiliates itself with the Klu Klux Klan, is not a hate group.
Harold Core, spokesman for the Michigan Department of Civil Rights referred to the organization as a hate group.
Groups such as the National Socialist Movement often aim to influence young people, he said.
"They target teenagers already coping with growing pains, and add a contest of hate to the normal teenage pressures."
Core said whenever there is an expression of hate in a community, residents and leaders have to stand against it.
"A community has to respond or risk the voice of hate speaking on the community's behalf."
Port Huron police are investigating, but cannot do a lot. Porrett said they did not know who was distributing them.
"You begin to run into some freedom of speech issues," Porrett said.
The fliers' messages are not threatening, he said.
Tramski said police are asking people to destroy the fliers.
Linda Sirowatka, 59, of Lakeport, who baby-sits at her daughter's house on Williamsburg Street in Port Huron, said she immediately threw away a pamphlet she found on her daughter's front lawn Thursday morning.
"That's hatred. You don't want hatred," she said. "There are definitely some things that are wrong with America, but this is not the way to go."
Contact Danielle Quisenberry at (810) 989-6274 or firstname.lastname@example.org.