FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
OPPOSITION BUILDS AGAINST WHITE SUPREMACIST ‘AMERICAN RENAISSANCE CONFERENCE’ TO BE HELD NOVEMBER AT MONTGOMERY BELL STATE PARK, TN.
FORMER REP. STEVE KING, CONGRESSIONAL CANDIDATE LAURA LOOMER & ESTONIAN POLITICIAN WITH NEO-NAZI TIES SCHEDULED TO SPEAK
For almost a decade, the white supremacist American Renaissance Conference (AmRen) has been held every year at Montgomery Bell State Park in Burns, TN, 45 minutes from Nashville. Last week, they announced plans to hold the next one during the weekend of Nov. 18-20, 2022.
The American Renaissance Conference is associated with violent racist content and events throughout the U.S. For over twenty years, the worst fascists in the country have gathered there, including Richard Spencer, who promoted the deadly Charlottesville Unite the Right rally as something that would be “traumatic to the liberals of Charlottesville” at their 2017 conference, held just two weeks before that tragic event. Nick Fuentes, organizer of the white nationalist America First Political Action Conference, has also spoken at Amren. Members of the neo-fascist organization Patriot Front, itself a front for more violent and criminal organizations, were in attendance in 2021.
This year, scheduled speakers include former U.S. Congressman Steve King, who lost his seat under a cloud of controversy concerning his promotion of racist ideologies; anti-Muslim activist Laura Loomer, who is hoping to win her bid for her own congressional seat; and Ruuben Kaalep, a Member of Parliament from Estonia who has close ties with neo-Nazis in Europe and promotes Holocaust denial.
American Renaissance is an online publication edited by Jared Taylor, a former board member of the Council of Conservative Citizens, a white supremacist organization that believes that Black people are “a retrograde species of humanity” and who inspired Dylann Roof’s murder of nine Black parishioners at the historic Emanuel AME Church in Charleston, South Carolina. In the wake of that shooting, Taylor served as a spokesperson for the Council of Conservative Citizens.
Organizations and individuals have opposed this conference at the park year after year, and plan to do so again despite the opposition they have seen from the Tennessee State Government. The state has stifled protests using tactics such as “protest pens” and denying public access to the Inn, a publicly-owned facility. During the conference, access is denied not only to those opposing the conference but also to local residents who are simply there to enjoy the park. In 2021, the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation attempted to pass a rule prohibiting protests in State Parks – thus denying basic First Amendment rights. In November 2021, the protest pen was relegated to the back of the venue, as opposed to the front where protests were regularly held. Some of the conference attendees were
still allowed to approach protesters even though efforts were made to keep the two groups apart. One of those attendees was Graham Whitson of Patriot Front, who was arrested June 11 in Idaho along with thirty others from his organization as they attempted to incite a riot at a Pride event.
Jane Johnson of One People’s Project states, “It’s an outrage that the taxpayers of Tennessee must finance security for such a hateful event, much less host it in the first place. We are urging everyone to oppose this conference via their community outlets and organizations.”
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