Jeffco School Board Members Attend Meeting Co-Hosted By White Nationalist Hate Group?

UPDATE #3: We've just received word that the flyer from the Evergreen Tea Party shown below may have mistakenly listed the American Freedom Party as a sponsor of last Monday's meeting. There appears to be some confusion on this point, but it's possible that whoever made this flyer mistook the American Freedom Party for another conservative organization that goes by the acronym AFP: Americans for Prosperity.

This would be a fairly comedic error if true, and certainly not the fault of the parents alarmed by this flyer who sent it to us–but would also be, we think, objectively good news. We'll update once we can confirm this latest information.

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UPDATE #2: From a statement forwarded to us by Evergreen High School principal Ryan Alsup:

My goal for the evening was to brag about our school, and let the people know about the great education we currently provide. My address consisted of our data, the data that has made us one of the top ranked schools in the state and country. I am very proud of our students, and staff, and the relationship that we have developed with our immediate community. As a principal, I cannot discuss my own political affiliations, however, please know that I do not condone or support any anti-Semitic or racist views and organizations. It is my job to ensure that we provide a balanced education for all students. We work hard at Evergreen High School to ensure that our students understand the importance of inclusion, and have various student clubs and activities designed to celebrate diversity.

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UPDATE: A video of the meeting confirms the attendance of Jefferson County school board member John Newkirk and superintendent Doug McMinimee at last week's meeting co-hosted by the white nationalist American Freedom Party. Board members Ken Witt and Julie Williams reportedly did not attend due to the major winter storm that hit last Monday. We have also learned that the principal of D'Evelyn High School did not attend either, though we don't know if this was weather related.

The video doesn't lie, though–Newkirk and McMinimee at least have some explaining to do. 

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Fresh controversy brewing today in Jefferson County, as parents demand answers about a meeting held last week reportedly attended by conservative member of the school board John Newkirk, as well as the new superintendent Dan McMinimee. Here's the flyer that announced last Monday's meeting at Evergreen Memorial Park:

jeffcoeducationnight

As you can see, the "community organizations" sponsoring this event are in fact mostly partisan Republican and right wing "Tea Party" groups. But one among the co-sponsoring groups shown on this flyer, the American Freedom Party, stands out in particular. That's because the Southern Poverty Law Center lists the American Freedom Party in their index of white nationalist hate groups:

The American Freedom Party (formerly American Third Position) is a political party initially established by racist Southern California skinheads that aims to deport immigrants and return the United States to white rule. The group is now led by a coterie of prominent white nationalists, including corporate lawyer William D. Johnson, virulent anti-Semite Kevin MacDonald and white nationalist radio host James Edwards. David Duke’s former right-hand man, Jamie Kelso, helps with organizing. The party has big plans to run candidates nationwide.

In Their Own Words

“The American Third Position exists to represent the political interests of White Americans.”
– American Third Position website

“We want an America that is recognizable to us, one that we can feel comfortable in.”
– American Third Position website

“The initial basis of our own upstart organization is the racial nationalist movement. It has been in disarray for the last 20 years so there's not as large a base for us to draw on.”
– American Third Position Chairman William Johnson, Feb. 20, 2010, interview on James Edwards’ “The Political Cesspool”

Learning of this event, Jefferson County parents Tina Gurdikian and Kelly Johnson sent a letter this morning to the listed attendees demanding an explanation:

We find your participation in and even association with this group profoundly inappropriate and incredibly inconsiderate of the students and families you represent in this diverse school district.

Please explain:

1. Why you participated in this event.

2. Why you agreed to be associated with the American Freedom Party.

3. How your association with the American Freedom Party aligns with Jeffco Schools’ mission to “provide a quality education that prepares all children for a successful future.”

Bottom line: the fringe right wing affiliations of at least one member of the new Jefferson County Board of Education majority, Julie Williams, are a matter of record. It remains to be seen exactly how the American Freedom Party managed to become part of this event last Monday, which featured all three conservative majority board members and the new superintendent, but this could be the most unsettling evidence yet of their true base of support and intentions.

We'll update as this story develops, which we strongly suspect it will.

30 Community Comments, Facebook Comments

  1. Duke Cox says:

    …"wrapped in a flag…carrying a bible"…

  2. JeffcoBlue says:

    Holy shit. Really? This will not stand. Recall. RECALL. Where do I sign?

    • Progressicat says:

      At the bottom of the check, like always.  They'll need a whole lotta cash since I expect all three will need to be recalled to make it stick*.

      *If a member resigns prior to recall, the board chair appoints the replacement, who is recall-proof for six months, iirc.  If you only recall two, they name the third chair and resign, I expect.

  3. Conserv. Head Banger says:

    Recall?  Give it a rest for now. Personally, I'd like to have more info about the meeting; maybe the inquiring parents will scare something up. I've attended a couple meetings of the JeffCo Republicans Mens Club and have not found that group to be a fringe entity. Usually, there is a liberal "mole" or two in attendance at a meeting like this, which could yield further information. I also note that three high school principals were guest speakers.

    Given the record of the county party not doing a thorough vetting of Nate Marshall as the original candidate for HD 23 earlier this year, I suspect somebody was "asleep at the wheel again," so to speak. As a disclosure, I live in HD 23.   C.H.B.

    • Progressicat says:

      I think there is a legitimate concern about the ease with which such fringe groups (and their members) are getting access to Republican events (and elections).  It seems like there's an equivalent of the "able to fog a mirror" test currently in the GOP, in which folks who shout "Tax bad!" or "Keep your Kenyan socialist hands off my Medicare" are joyously accepted into the fold as brethren without a second look.

      It was a partisan event, and I despise the partisanship currently displayed in our nonpartisan races, but I expect this was more a failure on the sponsors' part than a desire of the board members to "Heil, Hitler" or somesuch.

    • JeffcoBlue says:

      There's a line. And for me, white nationalist hate groups are the line. Let's hear what they have to say for themselves.

      • Republican 36 says:

        JeffcoBlue you are correct – this is the line and it was crossed. There is no excuse for this. How in the world can the Republican Party or the Tea Party associate with people like the American Freedom Party unless they accept their white supremacist-nationalist beliefs. Every single one of the Republican and Tea Party groups who co-sponsored this event needs to immediately disassociate themselves from the AFP and apologize to the citizens of JeffCo. If they won't then we can assume they are at least comfortable with the views of the AFP. I thought the Republican Party claims that it has a "big tent." Perhaps not.

         

        • Duke Cox says:

          How in the world can the Republican Party or the Tea Party associate with people like the American Freedom Party? They DO accept their white supremacist beliefs.

          But not to worry…I am sure the Jeffco board are just recruiting members for their new Curriculum Review Board…

  4. FrankUnderwood says:

    Ahhh, yet another piece to the puzzle falls into place. Moddy, AC, Care to defend your colleagues?

  5. mamajama55 says:

    Whom do they imagine attends Jefferson County Schools? The whitest Jeffco schools have about 10% minority enrollment, and the typical Jeffco school has 20-30% Hispanic, Asian, and African American students.

    The district wide average for free-and-reduced-lunch qualifying kiddos  is 27%.

    How dare they invite and legitimize a group which would seek to limit the civil rights of 25% of the student body and teachers?

    Are they really trying to incite racial animosity in the district? 

    I'm stunned.

     

  6. Craig says:

    Frankly, you have missed the entire point.  The three Board members are politicians and they can attend any political event they want.  What's really disturbing is that not only the superintendent but several principals attended.  That is wrong.  That is the real problem.  We all knew the partisan make-up of the Board.  And this is to be expected from them, even the white supremicist thing.  But Principals and the Superintendent.  They all ought to be fired or if they were forced to go, then that falls again on the Board's head. 

    Unfortunately, recall would be stupid now, since we would just get the smaller turn-out again and lose.  We should have done it at the general election.

    As for whoever suggested above that they might resign?  LMAO.  That will never happen, they won't leave office until they are defeated or die.

  7. BlueCat says:

    Time to end the fiction that school board or any elections are non-partisan?

  8. Early Worm says:

    Here is a link to a video of the meeting.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GcCeKXNzFRY#t=25

    I have not watch it in its entirety, and don't think that I will.  But, Williams and Witt did not attend.  I am not sure how I feel about the super and the principals attending and speaking. The other speakers definitely had a political agenda, but I do not think  the super or the principals did.  The principals are being forced, under the banner of "choice," to market their schools.  This means it would be wrong for them to bypass any opportunity to promote their schools, in any community forum. If the white supremacist  group was in fact a co-sponsor, that is bad, but I am not ready to blame the principals for that.  

  9. notaskinnycook says:

    I'm not really surprised to learn that the new Jeffco School Board is trafficking with those sorts of people. The short version of the curriculum changes I've read about here point directly to a back-to-the-Fifties-when-America-was-great (and those people knew their place) attitude. They won their elections, so now they are free to remove their masks. Recalling them is very difficult and they know that.There will be another school Board election. It would help if you Jeffco Polsters help to keep the pictures of these events in the voters' line of sight until that election. 

  10. ZMulls says:

    Wow.  As an alum (from long ago) of Jeffco Public Schools, I knoew the District had sunk very low, indeed.  I just didn't realize that board members, the Superintendent, and now principals are actively associating themselves with white supremacists.  Sweet Googa-mooga, that is way, way over the line.  How depressing.

     

  11. DaftPunk says:

    Google American Freedom Party, and all the links come up dead.  What gives?

  12. flatiron says:

    the Koch Brothers' AFP is just about as noxious as the white surpremacist AFP.  neither one has the best interests of Jeffco kids at heart

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