Battling Against Hate
The City of Wheeling has an established commitment to encourage and endeavor to bring about equal opportunity, mutual understanding, and respect for all residents and workers regardless of age; ability or disability; ancestry, ethnicity, or national origin; race; color; religion; sex, gender, or gender identity; family status; or veteran status. Out of this commitment the City of Wheeling Human Rights Commission was established with a purpose of collaborative work towards inclusivity and equity.
Nationally we have seen repeated instances of racial inequity and violence. Locally, a large area of Wheeling was defaced with a large number of racist, anti-Semitic, xenophobic, and white nationalist paraphernalia, targeting people of color, Jews, members of the LGBTQ community, and others scapegoated by the perpetrators. Initially over the weekend of May 16-17, as many as 40 professionally-printed stickers, fliers, posters, and an overpass-spanning banner were found hanging in the Wheeling area, concentrated in downtown. The fliers openly identified with the national hate group, Patriot Front, one of four active hate groups in West Virginia, who self-identify as fascist and who continue to lead the white nationalist movement.
Unfortunately, these hate fueled efforts have persisted. As a commission, we speak for safety and inclusivity for all. We strongly call out against white nationalism, xenophobia, racism, and anti-Semitism. Beyond this we see facilitating a collaborative and unified response from our local officials, law enforcement, community leaders within the mission and responsibility of the Wheeling Human Rights Commission.
Frank Calabrese, Chair