Days after locally founded white supremacist group Patriot Front posted flyers encouraging Lewisville residents to report illegal immigrants and bearing Nazi language, several local businesses have taken a stand against racism.
Since Friday, Rabbi Geoff Dennis and the South Denton Interfaith Alliance have been approaching establishments and asking them to post flyers in their windows reading “Hate has no place here” in an attempt to explicitly renounce Patriot Front. Dennis said he was inspired by the story of Billings, Montana, which in 1993 saw several businesses put menorahs in their windows to discourage a white supremacist infestation that had been festering for several years.
Lewisville City Council member Bob Troyer also assisted with the efforts to get the flyers out, but said the effort was undertaken as an individual citizen, and not in his role as councilman.
“My reason for getting involved with the flyer distribution was that I wanted to make sure that the citizens of Lewisville and surrounding communities know that the ‘hate’ flyers that precipitated the response do not represent the views of the majority of our citizens or businesses,” Troyer said. “The favorable responses we got from the businesses we visited in Old Town, from Facebook comments, and from private messages validates my belief in our community.”
Dennis said around 20 businesses had accepted signs by May 14, including Old Town hotspots like Irene’s Bakery and the new Tin Man Diner, but the online response is what indicates to him he’s doing the right thing.
“The best way to tell that I can tell is on social media, and the response has been overwhelming,” he said. “We achieved our goal of changing the narrative of Lewisville as a place where people can promote hate to Lewisville as a place where everyone is welcome.”