VDARE conference in Colorado Springs takes dark tone after Charlottesville
Author: Joey Bunch - August 14, 2017 - Updated: August 17, 2017
The “patriotic immigration reform” organization VDARE is stirring a backlash in Colorado over its ties to the violent rally that turned deadly in Charlottesville, Va., over the weekend. VDARE is scheduled to hold a three-day gathering at Cheyenne Mountain Resort in Colorado Springs next April.
El Paso County residents, including a Jewish family that lives near the resort and belongs to its country club, are urging the resort and public officials to cancel the conference.
The resort was working on a statement Monday, a spokeswoman told Colorado Politics. This story will be updated when it’s provided.
Peter Brimelow, the editor of VDARE.com, told Colorado Politics Monday that his organization was not involved at Charlottesville “in any way.” Brimelow is scheduled to speak at the Colorado Springs conference.
“We have a totalitarian left in this country,” he said. “They would shut down the president if they could, so they might try to shut us down next April, but they might also find something more interesting to do.”
VDARE suggested on its website Monday that James Alex Fields, the alleged driver of a car that plowed into counter-protesters, killing one, might have acted in self-defense after counter protesters swarmed his vehicle Saturday.
Former Colorado congressman Tom Tancredo, who ran for governor in 2010 and president in 2008 on a tough immigration reform platform, is scheduled as a speaker at the VDARE conference.
He told Colorado Politics Sunday that VDARE is being mischaracterized as a white nationalist organization, and he blamed the political left for sowing seeds of resentment among “victims groups.”
Jason Kessler, the Charlottesville resident who organized the rally in Charlottesville, is a contributing writer to VDARE’s website. Kessler had to flee from his own press conference Sunday because of protesters.
He did not immediately respond to messages from Colorado Politics Monday.
On June 19 he wrote on VDARE’s website about the growth of non-white populations in the U.S. and abroad.
“This is significant because whites will be the only ethnicity on Earth without a country of their own,” Kessler wrote on VDARE’s website. “Black people will still have the entire continent of Africa. Asians will still control the entire continent of Asia. Jews will have Israel. Even Native Americans will have Reservations. Whites alone slowly being dispossessed.”
The Southern Poverty Law Center in Alabama, which tracks alleged hate groups, says Kessler is a previous member of the Occupy Wall Street movement and a rumored one-time supporter of President Obama.
An online petition sprang up Monday morning calling called “Hate is Not Welcome in Colorado Springs.”
Colorado Springs lawyer Jeremy Loew lives near Cheyenne Mountain and belongs to the Country Club of Colorado at the resort.
He is Jewish and wears a Star of David, he said. Loew is asking the resort to break its contract to host VDARE.
“A hate organization doesn’t have any place in Colorado Springs, and it certainly doesn’t have any place at a family friendly resort like Cheyenne Mountain Resort and (among) a membership organization like the Country Club of Colorado,” Loew said.
“These people are advocating hate for blacks, Hispanics and Jews, all of whom are members of the Country Club.”
He said he is fearful for his family going to the swimming pool while the conference is going on, and he worries about inevitable protests and counter-protests in his neighborhood.
Loew said the resort should pay whatever it must to break the contract because, in his opinion, it did a poor job vetting VDARE before making the deal to bring them there.
Tancredo was also scheduled to speak at a VDARE gathering in March 31 to April 2 at Tanaya Lodge in Yosemite National Park, but the resort canceled the contract in January because of VDARE’s political activity.
“We were transparent with Tenaya from the beginning. VDARE.com, we informed them, was a politically-oriented site that leaned controversial,” VDARE’s Lydia Brimelow wrote about the Yosemite cancellation. “There would be protestors. We would have security concerns. They should look us up. We repeatedly mentioned that we selected them because of their position on government property and their responsibility thereby to honor freedom of speech and assembly.”
Jessica Sharp, an education consultant and mom in Black Forest, said she and other members of the left-leaning Colorado Action Network of Colorado Springs will attend the Colorado Springs City Council on Aug 22 to oppose this group’s presence in the city.
“I think having any white nationalist presence is a real risk for our community to take, and I don’t expect it to be peaceful,” she said. “I do expect there will be protests.”
She said her main motivation is her 10-year-old.
“I want my son to grow up in a better world than the one we saw last weekend,” Sharp said.
This story was updated to include the Southern Poverty Law Center’s information on Kessler.