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I grew up in the Coeur d'Alene/Hayden area of North Idaho, where the Aryan Nations were previously headquartered under the leadership of the now dead Richard Butler. The presence of this group in the community created huge tensions in the eighties and began to dwindle in the late nineties. They poisoned wells, burned effigies and otherwise terrorized members of the community that they 'hated'. Their compound was a scary place to be near as one never knew who was watching or had a rifle sighted on you. Tensions finally came to a head when the group was persecuted for attacking a mother and son who's car backfired along the road boardering the compound. In the end, the compound was lost, the group split up and the compound now is a Peace Park.
Our community fought back as best we could. When the Aryans insisted in their right to hold a parade down our main street, we held our own counter parade to raise money for Human Rights.
I wish I hadn't had to grow up with such hate around and associated with my home. I think I'm stronger because, growing up in a mostly homogenous place, I may not have had the opportunities to learn about equality in the face of hate.
Way to go Grant County!
-Brandi in Portland.
posted 3 years, 2 months ago
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