Date(s) - Saturday, Aug 29
11:00 am - 1:00 pm
Planned Parenthood Parking lot.
It looks like one failed demonstration was not enough for local Republican organizer Mylinda Mason and life-long bigot and former member of Operation Rescue, Don Grundmann. In August of 2019, the California Straight Pride Coalition organized what was initially intended to be a march and rally, but ended up being a 20-person picket in front of Planned Parenthood; the same facility which was targeted in an arson attack back in 2016. Their demonstration, which was explicitly anti-gay and anti-trans, also championed the “superiority” of “whiteness” and the “Caucasian” race, along with “nationalism” and “Western Civilization.”
In the build-up to the event, the organizers, who are directly tied to local GOP leadership and elected officials, also encouraged the Proud Boys (a neo-fascist and pro-Trump street gang which took part in the neo-Nazi rally in Charlottesville) to attend. In the lead-up to the rally, the local PRIDE center and various progressive churches were vandalized with neo-Nazi posters, windows were broken out and a priest was attacked at the local Sikh temple in nearby Hughson, and during a press conference announcing the counter-protest, a group of men followed people back to their cars in a clear act of intimidation.
In the end, despite these attempts to terrorize the surrounding community, the bigots were met with a counter-protest multiple times their size and they eventually left with their tails between their legs. Now they’re coming back for second round on August 29th, in the wake of the continuing rebellion against white supremacy following the police murder of George Floyd. It’s no surprise then, that their flyer features the slogan, #AllLivesMatter.
Since the Straight Pride Rally in 2019, Mylinda Mason has continued to organize with the California Republican Assembly in Stanislaus County, hosting speakers such as local GOP officials and candidates running for office. According to the group’s Facebook page, this has included a representative of local Republican running for the US House, Ted Howze, who has recently been in hot water over a series of racist and far-Right social media posts. The fact that Mason is both directly involved in hate-groups and the local GOP is sickening.
Even more shocking are recent videos filmed at Mylinda Mason’s home featuring Grundmann speaking with Aubrey McGann, a chaplain for the Modesto Police Department as well as David Preston Bush, pastor at Oak Hill Presbyterian Church in Sonora, CA, who is also the chaplain for the Sonora Police Department and Tuolumne County Sheriff’s Office. While many may dismiss Grundmann, its clear that he is connected to people with a foot in the door of local government and police departments.
Moreover, since the last ‘Straight Pride’ rally in 2019, neo-Nazi and white nationalist groups have continued to put up stickers and write racist messages in our communities, while groups like the Proud Boys have rallied in support of the police at local “Back the Blue” demonstrations in opposition to the Black Lives Matter movement. Now, some of these local far-Right organizers are signaling that they will be attending the rally on August 29th.
It is crucial that we prevent the far-Right from hosting successful demonstrations in our communities for the safety of all who live there but especially our gay, trans, black, and brown neighbors. We must organize and confront them when they meet and make sure that our message is heard loud and clear: that they and their poisonous ideologies are not welcome. We encourage people to mobilize in mass numbers to once again send these hateful bigots packing.
MOBILIZE: 11 AM, Saturday, August 29th, 1431 McHenry Ave, Planned Parenthood Parking lot. Wear a mask, practice social distancing, bring water, signs, banners, noise makers, and lots of people!