ADL Lists Kessler, Other 'Unite The Right' Speakers as White Supremacists
Nearly every speaker expected to attend an August rally in Emancipation Park is a leader of the alt-right movement, according to a civil rights group.
CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (WVIR) - Nearly every speaker expected to attend an August rally in Emancipation Park is a leader of the alt-right movement, according to a civil rights group.
Jason Kessler, a self-described white activist in Charlottesville, is scheduled to hold his Unite the Right rally at the park on Saturday, August 12.
Kessler said his rally is in support of keeping the statue of Confederate General Robert E. Lee in Emancipation Park, previously known as Lee Park. He estimates more than 400 will attend in support of the rally. Meanwhile, authorities tell NBC29 that the park and surrounding area may be crowded with around 4,000, which includes an unknown amount of likely counterprotesters.
Posters for Kessler’s event include a list speakers: internet personality Anthime "Baked Alaska” Gionet, National Policy Institute President Richard Spencer, Right Stuff founder Mike “Enoch” Peinovich, Traditionalist Worker Party co-founder Matthew Heimbach, CounterFund founder Pax Dickinson, and podcaster Johnny “Monoxide” Ramondetta.
“They want to unite those white supremacists on the extreme right to show that they're coherent, to defend what they view as their white heritage and culture against diversity,” said ADL Center of Extremism Director Oren Segal.
Segal adds, “This might be one of the biggest gatherings of white supremacists we've seen in a long time.”
The ADL added Kessler to its "who's who" list of alt-right leaders after his involvement in May's white heritage protest in then-named Jackson Park. Charlottesville City Council voted unanimously in June to rename it and Lee Park to Justice and Emancipation parks, respectively.
"He clearly put himself by his statements and his activity in the orbit of these groups and therefore he made our list," said Segal.
“I think it's very hypocritical of the ADL to devote their lives to attacking uppity whites when they support the ethno-state of Israel,” Kessler said.
The nonprofit organization describes Kessler, Spencer, and Ramondetta as white supremacists and members of the alt-right movement. Other speakers are considered alt-right, according to the ADL.
"I'm happy to be considered the enemy of the ADL," Kessler said.
“I want people to understand the Unite the Right rally is a white supremacist rally, and that as people of faith we are called to confront that and counteract that,” said Congregate Charlottesville Lead Organizer Brittany Caine-Conley.
Charlottesville SURJ (Showing Up for Racial Justice) and Solidarity Cville are asking city officials to deny Kessler's permit.
The Anti-Defamation League is encouraging the Charlottesville community to avoid violence.
An alternative rally is being planned the same day as Unite the Right.
Albemarle County said it was contacted on July 14 by a representative of a group called 1 Team 1 Fight. The group has requested space in Darden Towe Park from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on August 12.
"They have characterized their event as a - I'm going to read this so I get it right - ‘unity gathering of various patriot groups across the country,’” said Albemarle County spokesperson Lee Catlin.
The permit has yet to be approved by the county.