Outraged community pushes back against KKK fliers

Waterville residents were startled last week by the distribution of fliers from the Ku Klux Klan. Chief of Police Joseph Massey told the Echo that an “unknown person(s) left KKK flyers in plastic bags at residences in the Western Ave area,” and the police believe that the fliers were “probably thrown into the driveways from a moving vehicle.”

The posters were designed with images of the American flag, crosses, “KKK” in flames and a man in a pointed white hood. The header reads, “Traditional American Knights of the Ku Klux Klan – Neighborhood Watch.” In an eerie tone the flyer continues to read, “You can sleep tonight knowing the Klan is awake,” and urges its recipients to contact the 24/7 “Klanline” if there are “troubles in your neighborhood.”

Several homeowners reported the fliers, according to Massey.

Similar materials were disseminated in January in Gardiner, Augusta, and Freeport. Massey said that although the police have yet to identify anyone involved in the distribution of the flyers, they did “contact other agencies that have had similar incidents, and none of those agencies had identified the persons responsible for the fliers” either.

Although Massey does not recall a similar incident in recent years, he noted that several months ago someone painted swastikas on city-owned property.

The KKK has had a long yet deteriorating presence in Maine, which makes it all the more troubling that the group’s activity has seemed to ramp up in recent months. Originally, the presence of the group in Maine was focused on anti-Catholic and anti-French-Canadian and Irish, with church burnings being a signature attack.  The KKK in Maine began to decline in membership in the late 1920s, when it tallied 900 members.

On Mayflower Hill, the Student Government Association Executive Board reached out to the community about the incident via email. SGA presented a call for action, letting students know that the Waterville-Winslow Interfaith Association planned to host “Waterville United Against Hate” as a rally against the fliers in front of City Hall on April 9. Community members were invited to create posters for the rally in the Spa.

The Colby Feminist Alliance provided transportation to the rally.

The SGA message continued, “Regardless of our individual backgrounds, we all have the responsibility to speak out against the continuation of bias and hatred towards members of our own community, whether on campus or in Waterville.”