By J.J. Despain
and Aaron Short
White people — it’s time to “awake” and “save” your “great race!”
That was the message of white supremacist fliers that were plastered all over car windows on Greenpoint Avenue near Leonard Street last Wednesday — a bit of free speech vandalism that has Greenpoint residents fearful of racists in their midst.
“It’s scary to think they’re here,” said Cynthia Ruiz. “That’s crazy and disgusting.”
The fliers’ message was aimed at recruiting new members to the New York chapter of the Creativity Movement, whose slogan calls for “the survival, expansion and advancement of the white race!”
“I really would like to think this type of crap isn’t going on in Greenpoint,” said Miss Heather, the blog’s anonymous tipster. “But where there’s smoke, there’s fire.”
Police are investigating the propaganda, and the incident has been referred to its hate crimes unit — but locals had already drawn the conclusion that a vile crime had been committed.
“It disturbs me that people are so open about their hatred,” said block resident Neil Driscoll. “You can get away with saying, ‘Let’s take back the neighborhood’ and all that crap. It’s a weird pride in the whole thing.”
But longtime Leonard Street resident Elizabeth Tezeschi said it’s nothing new. Tezeschi, who is white and was once married to a black man, has received unidentified letters every few years since 1991 that insult her and her family.
“I don’t understand how people would write this, it’s mind-boggling,” Tezeschi said. “Especially where we are, it’s so diverse.”
That diversity might be precisely what makes Greenpoint a target. The Creativity Movement, a neo-Nazi movement based in Illinois, includes a commandment “to relentlessly expand the white race and keep shrinking our enemies,” according to its website.
A representative of the movement’s New York chapter said his organization is an advocate for the white race to “control its own destiny” — though the group is non-violent.
“What is good for our people is the ultimate good,” said the spokesman, who identified himself as Brother Joseph Adams. “We recognize that the white race for centuries has produced all things beautiful and worthwhile in societies and civilizations when in contrast, the black race has never produced their own written language, never reinvented the wheel (they carry things on their heads) and they never domesticated an animal.”
The Southern Poverty Law Center, which keeps track of hate groups, said on its website that the Creativity Movement has “a reputation for … criminal violence [by] its members and verbal violence.”
Matthew Hale, who revived the national movement in 1993 after its founder overdosed on sleeping pills, is serving a prison sentence until 2037 at a maximum security facility in Florence, Colo. He was found guilty of plotting to murder a U.S. district court judge — who is married to a Jewish man — who had ruled against him in an earlier case.
For now, residents said, the best way to fight fire is with ire.
“You can’t prevent people who express and give out fliers,” said Corina Hernandez. “I just hope that nobody takes them seriously.”
Similarly, Rabbi Maurice Appelbaum, who leads the Greenpoint Shul on Noble Street, said he trusts his neighbors will do the right thing by ignoring the “alarming” fliers.
“It’s heartening to know that so many people in Greenpoint are supportive and open-minded, and do not have a white supremacist mentality,” Appelbaum said.