White nationalists make plans to rally in Lexington


Lexington Mayor Jim Gray addresses Kentuckians during the event held in solidarity with Charlottesville, Virginia held in front of the Courthouse in downtown Lexington on Monday August 14, 2017. Photo by Arden Barnes | Staff

Bailey Vandiver

White nationalists are planning a rally in Lexington in response to Mayor Jim Gray’s announcement that Confederate statues will be moved, according to reporting by the Lexington Herald-Leader.

The Nationalist Front, which is made up of several groups, are planning the rally, according to Matthew Heimbach, chairman of the Traditionalist Worker Party.

He told the Herald-Leader that people in Lexington reached out to his group. The group hopes to hold the rally “sooner rather than later,” though no date has been set.

In addition to the rally, the group is considering a lawsuit to attempt to prevent the statues from coming down.

“When you’re tearing down the statues, this is a clear attempt to replace and erase (white people),” Heimbach said, according to the Herald-Leader.

The events in Charlottesville, Va., over the weekend were initially in response to plans to remove a statue of Confederate General Robert E. Lee.

Whether to take the Lexington statues down or not has been debated for years.

Gray tweeted on Aug. 12 that he was, “taking action to relocate the Confederate statues.” The statues, which depict John Hunt Morgan and John C. Breckenridge, are currently in the lawn of the Fayette County Courthouse.

In a video posted to social media, Gray said he proposed to the city council that the statues be moved to Veterans Park. Union monuments are already present in the park.

“In that setting, we can tell the story accurately and share a truthful history,” Gray said in the video.

UK President Eli Capilouto sent a campus-wide email over the weekend denouncing “hate, bigotry and violence” and making it clear that sort of rhetoric was not welcome at UK.

In response to the events in Charlottesville, UK Student Government Association President Ben Childress signed a statement in solidarity with student body presidents across the nation expressing sadness and a commitment to making college campuses places “to call home, not places of violence, hate and racism.”

The statement called on the signees to “speak up in the face of injustice.”

“We will continue to support any student impacted by bias, hatred and/or an act of identity-based violence and are committed to addressing any issues of racism, hate, or violence on our own campus,” Childress added in light of the developments in Lexington. 

Childress urged students to take advantage of resources on UK’s campus, such as the Bias Incident Support Services and Violence Intervention and Prevention Center. He said his own email, [email protected], is open to any students with questions, comments or concerns.

In a press release on August 16, U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) condemned the “ideology of racial hatred” and called on all people to stand against hate and violence.

“The white supremacist, KKK and neo-nazi groups who brought hatred and violence to Charlottesville are now planning a rally in Lexington,” he said. “Their messages of hate and bigotry are not welcome in Kentucky and should not be welcome anywhere in America.”