Tom Schuba, Chicago Sun*Times, March 18, 2019
Stickers advertising a white nationalist hate group were found along the route of Sunday’s South Side Irish Parade, according to Ald. Matt O’Shea (19th).
On Monday morning, O’Shea learned through social media posts that stickers for the American Identity Movement had been found on up to 20 light posts on Western Avenue between 99th and 119th streets.
The American Identity Movement is a renamed version of Identity Evropa, an established white nationalist group that helped organize the Unite the Right rally in 2017 in Charlottesville, Va. Identity Evropa has been identified as a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center, which noted in a blog post earlier this month that the group had been rebranded as the American Identity Movement.
“The racist and anti-Semitic positions espoused by this organization do not reflect the values and character of our community,” O’Shea said in a letter emailed to constituents. “We must forcefully speak out against this hatred and counter it with our own message of unity.”
CPD spokesman Anthony Guglielmi said the department was now aware of the stickers but had not received any formal reports or opened an investigation. O’Shea said he would push for a criminal investigation.
The stickers mostly include the group’s name and website and are emblazoned with seemingly patriotic imagery, like bald eagles and stars and stripes. One of the stickers urges readers to “EMBRACE YOUR IDENTITY,” while another calls for “NATIONALISM NOT GLOBALISM.”
Similar propaganda popped up last year in the West Loop and the western suburbs. In February, Oak Park police ordered five men to take down an Identity Evropa banner they hung on an overpass facing Interstate 290, according to CBS 2. The banner featured skulls and warned, “Danger: Sanctuary City Ahead.”
“We live in a safe community. We call them out for being cowards and spreading hate,” said O’Shea, who is inviting residents to pick up a “Hate Has No Home in the 19th Ward” sign from his ward office at 10400 S. Western.
The strategy of packaging the hate group as a respectable political organization has not been lost on the American Identity Foundation’s current leader, Patrick Casey. During a podcast appearance last June, Casey said he is “totally in support of people getting involved in not only their local Republican Party chapter but also organizations like the College Young Republicans.”
Identity Evropa members have actively targeted college students in the Chicago area in the past. Over a two-week span in early 2017, multiple Identity Evropa posters were found scattered around the University of Chicago campus, according to DNA Info.