CHICAGO — Posters for a white supremacist group have been put up in Hyde Park.
The posters advertise the neo-Nazi group Identity Evropa and appear to have been put up Saturday, said resident Cassie Creswell. Neighbors removed the posters and shared warnings of them on a Facebook group, which is where Creswell learned of them.
“It’s really sickening and disturbing, and I think some people’s inclination is to be like, ‘Let’s ignore it and pretend like it didn’t happen,'” Creswell said. “Unfortunately, we do need to react to it and to say this is not something that’s acceptable in our community.”
One poster was found at 55th and Woodlawn, two were near 56th and Lake Park and another poster — which did not have the Identity Evropa label — was found on Hyde Park Boulevard, Creswell said.
Alex Wing, of Hyde Park, was out with his daughter at noon Saturday when he found the two posters near 56th and Lake Park. He recognized the posters immediately, took a photo of one and took them down.
“I didn’t want them in the neighborhood. I know who they are and I don’t want people to see it,” Wing said. “I was angry and annoyed. I had heard about it previously, but I hadn’t seen it. … I was sort of surprised and angry that I was that close up to it.”
Identity Evropa has been designated a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center. The Anti-Defamation League calls it a “white supremacist group” that has spread propaganda by putting up posters and banners and distributing fliers.
The group has put up posters around the city — including in Logan Square, at Lollapalooza and outside the Cook County Courthouse — in recent months, but they’re typically removed quickly by residents. Posters were also put up at the University of Chicago campus in February of 2017.
Some of the posters put up in the past are used to cover hidden razor blades, which can harm people who try to remove them, Wing said. He posted a photo of the poster on Facebook to alert his neighbors to “keep their heads up” and be aware of what’s happening so they can be safe.
The posters are “kind of low-level stuff,” but they can embolden white nationalists and help them determine if a neighborhood will push back against the group, Creswell said. That “gives rise to things like hate crimes,” Creswell said.
“This is a very diverse neighborhood, there’s lots of people of color, and I just hate to see something like [a hate crime] happen,” Creswell said. “It can definitely happen here.”
Residents can push back against groups like Identity Evropa by “speaking out,” Creswell said.
“I think writing letters to the editor, hanging your own posters around the neighborhood …,” Creswell said. “I think to do those sort of visible community events to say, ‘This is not going to happen in our community.'”