Residents decry ‘disturbing,’ ‘bizarre’ White supremacist propaganda posted in Bixby Knolls

Flyers bearing a White supremacist message were found on storefronts and buildings along a stretch of Atlantic Avenue in Bixby Knolls early Wednesday morning, sparking a police investigation and drawing condemnation from city leaders.

The flyers were posted some time overnight in the highly trafficked business corridor. They appeared to be hand written and bore a well-known White supremacist slogan called “the 14 Words,” which proclaims the need to secure a future for “White children.”

“I’m extremely disheartened that somebody used our community as a platform to spread hate,” said Councilman Al Austin, who represents the Bixby Knolls area.

Several of the messages were found taped to businesses on the east side of Atlantic Avenue between Claiborne Drive and Cartagena Street, according to Blair Cohn, executive director of the Bixby Knolls Business Improvement Association.

“It is disturbing, and we take it seriously,” Cohn said.

Chris Callopy said he found one flyer posted on a glass case in front of the Teachers Association of Long Beach offices where he’s the executive director.

After taking it down and calling police, Callopy said he reviewed the building’s security camera footage and saw a person hanging the flyer around 1:15 a.m., covering a Black Lives Matter poster inside the glass case facing East Claiborne Drive.

“It’s just so bizarre,” Callopy said. “I’ve been working here in Long Beach for 13 years and I’ve never seen something like that before.”

Police couldn’t immediately say how many flyers were found, just that there were “several.” Callopy said it appeared an officer collected a stack of them after he called them.

Whoever posted the flyers taped them up the morning after the Long Beach City Council approved a plan to hold up to 1,000 unaccompanied migrant children at the Downtown Convention Center while federal officials work to reunite them with family or sponsors in the U.S.

The Convention Center parking lot is also being used as a mass vaccination site, and this morning, officials adjusted some operations there—temporarily shutting down drive-thru lanes—but a spokeswoman said that wasn’t related to the migrant center, City Council vote or any security concerns.

“The vaccination site is operating with a smaller number of vaccine allocation and a smaller crew today, which is why the drive-thru option was temporarily removed,” spokeswoman Jennifer De Prez said. “It should resume as-normal tomorrow.”

It’s unclear if the flyers are connected to the City Council’s decision. Police said there’s no indication of a link so far. But fear of a White majority being displaced by migrants or other groups is a common theme in White supremacist rhetoric, according to Peter Levi, regional director of the Anti Defamation League, covering Long Beach and Orange County.

“We’ve seen a whole variety of incidents over these past few years directed at immigrants, at any marginalized group that might threaten a potential White majority,” Levi said.

Earlier this week, for instance, residents in nearby Huntington Beach also woke up to racist propaganda.

Police told the Los Angeles Times that flyers promoting the Ku Klux Klan and an upcoming “white lives matter” rally in Huntington Beach were found in the city’s downtown area on Easter morning.

Similar flyers were found in Newport Beach about a week earlier, according to the Times.

The 14 words used on the flyers posted in Bixby Knolls, “We must secure the existence of our people and a future for White children,” tie into a larger theory of White genocide or replacement theory—the false idea that there is a targeted effort by minorities and elites to topple the White majority in U.S. society—concepts that have been quoted by White supremacist terrorists in the Christchurch, Poway and El Paso shootings.

According to the Anti Defamation League, the slogan “reflects the primary White supremacist worldview in the late 20th and early 21st centuries: that unless immediate action is taken, the White race is doomed to extinction by an alleged “rising tide of color” purportedly controlled and manipulated by Jews.”

Hateful messages, such as racist graffiti, have also popped up before in Long Beach. Last year, Long Beach police took reports on 18 hate crimes with vandalism being the most frequently reported.

Between 2001 and 2019, there were 106 anti-Black hate crimes—about a third of the total—reported in Long Beach, according to California Department of Justice Data. Gay men were the next most frequently targeted group with 72 reported incidents.

Long Beach Post staffers Jeremiah Dobruck, Tim Grobaty and Sebastian Echeverry contributed to this report.

Editor’s note: This story was updated with more information from police.

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Alena Maschke writes about all things business and beyond for the Long Beach Business Journal/Long Beach Post. Born and raised in Germany, she first fell in love with California during an exchange year at UCLA. After receiving her master's degree in journalism from Columbia University in 2017, she returned to the Golden State with an appetite for great stories, pupusas and the occasional Michelada.
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