White supremacist graffiti was spotted in a Colorado Springs park and Neo-Nazi propaganda was found in a Westminster neighborhood over the weekend, the Anti-Defamation League said.
Sidewalks, signs and a brick wall were painted with anti-Jewish, anti-Black, and anti-LGBTQ slurs, as well as swastikas and the initials “KKK” in Roswell Park Saturday, agency officials said. In Westminster, neighbors reported receiving flyers that stated, “I’m dreaming of a White Christmas,” Sunday morning. The flyers in Westminster contained swastikas and contact information for a small neo-Nazi group based in Spokane, Washington, ADL officials said.
The incidents come as the distribution of white supremacist material steadily climbed over the past several years across the state and country, peaking in 2019. That year, the spread of white supremacist propaganda nearly doubled compared to the previous year — making it the highest year on record for white supremacist propaganda in the United States, data from the Anti-Defamation League show.
"We are deeply saddened by white supremacist activity reported along Colorado’s Front Range this weekend," Scott Levin, the ADL's mountain states regional director, said. "Whether it be appalling graffiti in Colorado Springs or flyers in Westminster, there is no place for such hate in our state. All people deserve to live in peace and safety, free from such acts of intimidation and harassment."
Colorado Springs Police Department is investigating the vandalism at the park.
The city experienced a surge of white supremacist propaganda in 2018 when stickers advertising a white supremacist group were stuck on lamp posts.
The Anti-Defamation League documented 61 cases of white supremacist propaganda in Colorado between 2019 and 2020, an exponential increase from three distributions in 2017, data show. During 2018, Colorado had 72 incidents and ranked third for the highest number of white supremacist distributions behind California and Texas.
"Our position is that people have first amendment rights, but what’s important is that the rest of us use our first amendment rights to speak out against hate," Levin said.
Levin attributes the rise in white supremacist activity to an atmosphere of division in the country and believes a key ingredient to remedy hate speech comes from politicians and leaders speaking out against hate groups.
"Our leaders need to speak out so white supremacists aren't emboldened to do more," Levin said.