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Whether or not the Wagon Train hired The Proud Boys as security, I would like to ask the people of Placerville and the great El Dorado County community what I think is a rather serious question. Do we sincerely want to invite and encourage The Proud Boys to actively participate in community activities?
Perhaps it seems like a benign organization but it is not. In 2018 the FBI categorized it as an extremist group with connections to white supremacy groups. The founder and leader of the Proud Boys, Gavin McInnes, is well known for his extremely racists and right-wing views and his violent tendencies. The Proud Boys’ rhetoric is very disturbing. It is racist, homophobic, anti-Semitic and misogynistic. They helped plan and actively participated in the Jan. 6 attack on The Capitol. They have also been involved in violent demonstrations across the U.S. and have been known for attacking people on the streets of New York. They also act as a recruitment and training group for even more extreme racist organizations.
I hope the people of our community realize how much of our economy depends on tourism, including Apple Hill, the numerous wineries, the recreational areas of Eldorado National Forest, Main Street’s shops and restaurants and South Lake Tahoe. For our tourism industry to do well we need people from the greater community to feel welcome. Having The Proud Boys present does just the opposite. Many people, including people of color, members of the LGTBQ community, people of conscience and people afraid of violence taking place at such events, may just decide to stay home or go somewhere else to spend their money.
More importantly, we live in a state that is one of the most racially and ethnically diverse places in the world. Increasing numbers of people of color, members of the LGTBQ community and people with differing views will continue to move here and be a vital part of our community and I believe we will be better for it. To deny that fact is to deny reality. The sooner we learn to live together the better off we will be. Racism, discrimination and The Proud Boys must have no place here and I would hope that The Proud Boys’ presence in our community will be strongly discouraged.
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