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Activists fight racist message

'Hate Free Zone' fliers available at U.

Someone has replaced the word "European" with "racist" on a billboard at 1700 South and State in Salt Lake City, seen Wednesday.
Someone has replaced the word "European" with "racist" on a billboard at 1700 South and State in Salt Lake City, seen Wednesday.
Michael Brandy, Deseret Morning News

Community activists are challenging a message by the National Alliance believed to promote white supremacy.

This week, students at Salt Lake Community College talked with neighbors about displaying "Hate Free Zone" placards in their windows in response to a National Alliance billboard hovering over the neighborhood around SLCC's South High campus, near 1700 South and State.

The billboard identifies the National Alliance by name and reads, "Securing the Future for European Americans."

A group of SLCC students, who hail from all over the world, said they were concerned with the message.

On Thursday, members of the National Conference for Community & Justice launched a campaign called "Give a Buck for Diversity." People were encouraged to donate a dollar to the organization for every day the National Alliance billboard remained on State Street.

David Litvack, a local employee of the conference and a state lawmaker, said that banners saying "Love your neighbors but not if they're brown" are hanging on I-215 overpasses.

It was unknown whether those banners were connected with the National Alliance and the State Street billboard. Litvack said it nonetheless shows how it's necessary to respond to "intolerance, bigotry and prejudice" with a "strong, positive, community-based effort to make sure all of us are safe and respected."

The Alliance for Unity — comprising religious, civic and business leaders who seek solutions to Utah's religious, ideological and cultural rifts — released a statement this week "repudiating the abhorrent and universally denounced notion that one race or ethnic group is inherently superior to another." The Alliance for Unity also encouraged Utahns to voice their opposition to such views.

The University of Utah is giving "Hate Free Zone" fliers to the public. To pick one up, go to the Office for Diversity at 204 Park Building on President's Circle.

Apparently, vandals have covered part of the State Street sign. A white cloth has been draped over the word "European." The word "racist" was written over it. The National Alliance's symbol was also defaced.