West Texas Leaders Speak Out on Counteracting Neo-Nazi Group's Protest 1/4/13
CBS 7 News Reporter
January 4, 2013
ODESSA, TX Ė The National Socialist Movement, a Neo-Nazi group, is planning a protest in the Permian Basin and West Texas leaders are speaking out against the group.
Some West Texas leaders stated that they donít want this group spreading messages of hate and associating the Permian Basin with racism.
"I don't think anyone wants the Odessa/Midland area to be classified as a haven for racists," said Odessa NAACP President, Gene Collins.
"As Odessans, we don't want to be known as a haven for this type of group," said Una Voz Unida President Art Leal.
Leal stated that way to counter act the group is to protest. Now he's setting up a rapid response unit.
"We will probably be given 24 hours notice; when we find out when this group will be demonstrating. We want to make sure that we're ready with a group in the community with all walks of life to be there to show up and to show that positive message," said Leal.
Itís a unit that will peaceably assemble to send an opposite message of the NSM group.
"[Itís] a positive message of unity and all of Odessa coming together to in a united in one voice Ö to let this group know that Odessa will not be a haven for these types of groups," stated Leal.
Other community leaders stated that there is a time to speak up. However that time should be united with government and church leaders and only occur if the NSM group breaks law.
"Well when you say counter it Ö I think if they say something that is totally foreign to religious beliefs, standards that this country is already, acknowledged as being appropriate. [Then] I think church leaders, government, [and] leadership should come in and clarify that," said Collins.
The NSM group leaders continue to state that they aren't a racist group, just pro- white group exercising their first amendment rights. Officials with the National Socialist Movement say they plan on doing the rally soon.
The group plans to protest outside of the Midland County Courthouse. They will not release the exact date to the protest but say it will happen in January.