The Kansas City Council said Thursday it could not stand by silently while a neo-Nazi group plans to hold a national rally in Kansas City on Nov. 9.
The council instead voted unanimously for a resolution expressing opposition to what it denounced as the racist and anti-Semitic views of the National Socialist Movement.
“We have to make it very clear we are morally outraged by this,” said Councilman John Sharp, adding that several human rights groups have identified the NSM as one of the largest neo-Nazi groups in the United States.
Sharp said the group held its national convention in Kansas City in 2005 and there wasn’t much of a unified, organized opposition to that gathering. But he said remaining silent against such a provocative, hateful group would just leave the impression that Kansas Citians don’t oppose those views.
Sharp said the group specifically chose Nov. 9 for its rally in front of the Jackson County Courthouse because that is the 75th anniversary of Kristallnacht, in which thousands of Jews were hauled off to concentration camps and anti-Jewish riots and murders occurred throughout Nazi Germany and parts of Austria.
The resolution urges all residents to “express their moral outrage and morally confront the NSM’s hateful rhetoric through their words and actions” but not to physically confront the group.
Buddy Rumble, regional coordinator for the NSM, said Thursday he was not aware of the council resolution. He argued that the organization is not hateful or racist and said the event is planned as a peaceful rally against immigration reform that would allow people in this country illegally to become citizens.
The organization wanted to hold its national rally in the Midwest, and Kansas City was a good central location, Rumble said, adding that Kansas City has never had the rally before.
The organization holds two annual rallies, Rumble said. One is on or around Nov. 9, which Rumble said commemorates the anniversary of when some Nazis were killed in Germany in 1923. He said the group also holds an annual rally on or around April 20, which is Adolf Hitler’s birthday.