A South Carolina city councilman voiced support for white nationalist organizers during an alt-right rally on Saturday aimed at taking back the city.
A group of “patriots” and Proud Boys members under the guise of speaking out against new tax restrictions and COVID-19 closures staged a march to the steps of the Customs House in Charleston, where they called for the resignation of Mayor John Tecklenburg.
The rise of alt-right rallies remains a central focus of caution and concern in the wake of the Charlottesville, Virginia rally where clashes between white supremacists and anti-white supremacy demonstrators turned deadly. Most recently, a MAGA march in Washington D.C., prior to the Thanksgiving weekend that erupted in violence.
In a video from The Overton Report, two rally participants spoke with city councilman Harry Griffin, 25, who praised the efforts.
“I consider you and Randall friends you know why? Because you’re good people man. You’re good people and you care about people,” Griffin said referring to the video’s participants.
This is sitting city councilman Harry Griffin heard giving enthusiastic praise to the organizers of Saturday’s alt-right rally in #Charleston. Calling them “good people” and “friends”. These men invited the Proud Boys to Downtown Charleston to “take back” the City. pic.twitter.com/ubrb2XY8Pb
— Denmark Vesey Co-Conspirator (@mikagadsden) December 7, 2020
Calls for Griffin to step down over his endorsement on The Overton Report immediately followed. Mika Gadsden, a Charleston-based radio host, organizer and activist shared the clip to Twitter and took aim at local news outlets that too often leave important facets of the conversation regarding racism and the city’s dark past uncovered.
In a post-Roof massacre #charleston, this city continues to demonstrate that its leaders are cowards who choose to turn a blind eye to hate and white supremacy in REAL TIME. If 1 drop of innocent blood is shed, it will be because this city’s leaders INACTION!
— Denmark Vesey Co-Conspirator (@mikagadsden) December 6, 2020
“I look forward to the @postandcourier’s forthcoming investigative piece about how a sitting member of @CityCharleson council was a key participant in a white supremacist rally with the Proud Boys. Harry Griffin should resign IMMEDIATELY after what he spearheaded yesterday!” Gadsden tweeted.
Gadsden continued, pointing out that the need to uncover and dismantle racist ideologies is imperative, especially after the Emanuel AME Church shooting, where nine people were murdered in cold blood by white supremacist Dylann Roof.
Charleston faces a running dilemma in cities with large Black populations that are slowly evaporating due to fast-paced commercialization and gentrification. With the onset of white nationalists rising emboldened by outgoing leadership, it’s more clear than ever that there are no “very fine” people on both sides when it comes to racism.
Griffin was elected in 2017 and thankfully announced he would not seek re-election next year, according to The Post and Courier. Griffin has backed racist and questionable ideologies during his time on the council. In 2018, he along with four other councilmembers voted against a resolution apologizing for the city’s role in slavery, a piece resolve that he initially helped draft.