Statement by: Ms. Alice Huffman, president National Association for the Advancement of Color People California State Conference
We are here today to share with the public a report prepared and released by the Institute for Research & Education on Human Rights, which details various associations between Tea Party organizations and acknowledged hate groups in the United States.
The report comes a few days after the NAACP board ratified a resolution calling on the Tea Party to repudiate racist elements within its ranks along with a resolution calling for civility in the political discourse. Those resolutions were part of nearly 80 others on jobs, education and climate change.
The national attention sparked by NAACP calls this summer for the Tea Party to repudiate racist elements within the group, inspired the Tea Party leadership to purge some outspoken racist elements including Tea Party Express chairman Mark Williams well known for racist rants and holding a “Uni-Tea” rally to express a commitment to diversity.
The new report details ongoing links between Tea Party organizations and various white supremacist groups, anti-immigrant organizations, “birthers” and independent militias.
“These groups and individuals are out there, and we ignore them at our own peril,” stated NAACP President and CEO Benjamin Todd Jealous. “They are speaking at Tea Party events, recruiting at rallies and in some cases remain in the Tea Party leadership itself. The danger is not that the majority of Tea Party members share their views, but that left unchecked, these extremists might indirectly influence the direction of the Tea Party and therefore the direction of our country: Moving it backward and not forward.”
The report analyzes each of the six most active Tea Party organizations. Drawing from Tea Party literature and websites, as well as original statistical analysis, the authors provide demographic information and specific instances of racist ties. It also offers interactive maps showing where Tea Party membership is located within the United States.
It outlines some well-known instances of intolerance and extremism, such as the racist and homophobic slurs yelled at members of the Congressional Black Caucus and Representative Barney Frank in March 2010 and the sometimes threatening tactics used to protest health care reform but also documents lesser known ties and incidents.
The TeaParty.org faction is led by the executive director of the Minuteman Project, a nativist organization that has in the past been associated with the murder of migrant Mexican workers as part of its vigilante “border operations.” Roan Garcia-Quintana, “advisor and media spokesman” for the 2010 Tax Day Tea Party and member of ResistNet, also serves on the National Board of Directors of the Council of Conservative Citizens (CofCC), the direct lineal descendent of the Council of White Citizens. In Texas, Wood County Tea Party leader Karen Pack was once listed as an “official supporter” of Thom Robb’s Knights of the Ku Klux Klan, a modern-day white supremacist organization.”
In addition to the report, the NAACP has been running Tea Party Tracker, a website that monitors instances of racism and other forms of extremism within the Tea Party movement. You can visit it at www.teapartytracker.org.
Founded in 1909, the NAACP is the nation’s oldest and largest civil rights organization. Its members throughout the United States and the world are the premier advocates for civil rights in their communities, conducting voter mobilization and monitoring equal opportunity in the public and private sectors.