News

Colorado Springs won’t support gathering by group with ties to Charlottesville rally organizer

Author: Conrad Swanson, The Gazette - August 15, 2017 - Updated: August 15, 2017

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In this frame from video, Jason Kessler, a blogger based in Charlottesville, Va., speaks to the media on Sunday, Aug. 13, 2017. Kessler, who organized the rally in Charlottesville on Saturday that sparked violent clashes between white supremacist groups and counter-protesters tried to hold a news conference, but a crowd booed him and forced him away from the lectern. (AP Photo)

The City of Colorado Springs won’t support, in any way, a three-day convention at the Cheyenne Mountain Resort planned by the white nationalist group VDARE.

One of the group’s contributing writers, Jason Kessler, organized a deadly rally Saturday in Charlottesville, Va.

Mayor John Suthers said the city can’t limit free speech, nor can it tell private businesses with whom to schedule conferences.

“That said, I would encourage local businesses to be attentive to the types of events they accept and the groups that they invite to our great city,” Suthers wrote in a statement.

Peter Brimelow, the editor of VDARE.com, declined to answer questions by phone Tuesday, insisting they be submitted in writing. He did not respond to emailed questions, however, about the group and the local conference it plans for April.

Brimelow did say he is not from the United States and came to the country in the 1970s.

A representative of the Cheyenne Mountain Resort & Club said the business is working on a statement about the conference. The resort promised a statement Monday also.

While details about VDARE’s upcoming conference are sparse, Suthers said the city must protect “all individuals regardless of race, religion, color, ancestry, national origin, physical or mental disability, or sexual orientation.”

“The City of Colorado Springs will not provide any support or resources to this event, and does not condone hate speech in any fashion,” he wrote.

A protest will be held in front of City Hall at 4 p.m. Sunday to express solidarity for those in Charlottesville who opposed the violent rally Saturday, announced Unite Colorado Springs on Facebook. It is one of many groups organizing the protest.

“We reject Nazism, white supremacy, homophobia, transphobia, racism, xenophobia, and bigotry in all its hideous forms,” the group’s Facebook page says.

Members of another group, The Empowerment Solidarity Network, will attend the City Council’s regular meeting Tuesday to voice opposition to VDARE’s planned local convention.

Additional information was not immediately available. This story will be updated.

Erin Prater

Erin Prater

Erin Prater is a producer for Colorado Politics. She is a multimedia journalist with 15 years of experience writing, editing and designing for newspapers, magazines, websites, publishing houses and businesses. Her previous positions include military reporter at The Gazette, general assignment reporter at The Huerfano County World, copy editor at David C. Cook publishing house and adjunct mass communication instructor at Pueblo Community College. Her bylines include The New York Times Upfront, The Argus Leader (Sioux Falls, S.D.), Military Spouse magazine and Omaha Magazine (Omaha, Neb.). Her syndicated bylines include The Denver Post, MSNBC.com, Military.com and wire services.


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