City leaders respond to racist fliers posted in Del Ray, Old Town

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Photo Credit: Eric Wagner
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By James Cullum | jcullum@alextimes.com

Alexandria police are investigating incendiary fliers found posted on utility poles and car windshields Saturday morning in Del Ray and Old Town. City leaders responded swiftly to condemn the fliers, which contained threatening racist and anti-Semitic language.

Alexandria Mayor Allison Silberberg denounced the fliers and those who posted them, saying neither are representative of the city.

“The fliers are horrible and reflect a new low in ignorance,” she said. “The Alexandria Police Department has responded quickly and is investigating. At this point, we do not know who posted the fliers. As the city council and I stated in our Statement on Inclusiveness last November, I would like to say in the strongest possible terms that we denounce hate speech, hate crimes and discrimination in all forms.

“Alexandria is a city of kindness and compassion,” Silberberg continued. “We are a city that is inclusive, accepting and embracing. Diversity is a core value here. We as a community are far stronger than a few fliers, and we will remain steadfast in our commitment to these values, which we hold so dear. Shame on those who have posted these hateful fliers… Such acts do not reflect the values of our beloved community and nation.”

“The signs are obviously very disturbing, but the people who posted them underestimate our neighborhood and our city,” said Alexandria Vice Mayor Justin Wilson. “They will not divide us. We will not give them more attention than they deserve, and instead focus on what brings us together.”

Alexandria police have released no information on the culprits behind the signage, but one of the signs had a mugshot-like photo of C. Christine Fair, an associate professor at Georgetown University, who confronted alt-right leader Richard Spencer at the Sport and Health in Old Town at 209 Madison St., on May 17. Spencer, who denied his identity when confronted by the woman, was later kicked out of the gym while Fair was allowed to keep her membership.

See: Professor speaks out about confronting alt-right leader Richard Spencer at local gym

In Del Ray, the posters were found between Commonwealth and Mount Vernon Avenues and East Uhler and East Custis Avenues. It is not clear where the fliers were posted in Old Town. 

“It’s still a very initial investigation,” said Alexandria Police spokeswoman Crystal Nosal.  “Officers took down fliers that they saw and responded to complaints from residents and the investigation is ongoing.”

Reba Smith Winstead lives in Del Ray and shared the photos of the fliers throughout the community.

“This is not [what] Del Ray is,” she said. “Del Ray is very inclusive, and this type of racist aggression is not who we are.” 

Delegate Mark Levine (D-45), called the signage a “shocking wake up call.” 

“I have spoken at many protests against Richard Spencer and his disgusting neo-Nazi band of followers,” he said. “My only solace is that I believe they littered our city with this hate-filled trash as a reaction by them to their knowing how unwelcome in Alexandria they are. Hopefully they will soon have enough and leave.”

City Councilor John Chapman said that the city will be tested by the incidents.

“I hope community members will use this outrageous and disturbing incident to form tighter bonds with their neighbors, and hope Alexandria is an inclusive city that won’t be rattled by immature acts of hate,” he said.  

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