On Tuesday, the Boise City Council approved a resolution condemning white supremacy and directing resources toward giving its employees tools to identify and combat racism and bigotry.
Original Post: Sept. 20, 3:33 p.m.
Idaho has a long and complicated history with white supremacy, but a resolution that will go before the Boise City Council on Tuesday, Sept. 24, is set to mount diversity and inclusion as explicitly core values for the city going forward.
"The Northwest has become such a hotbed of white nationalism," said Adrienne Evans of United Vision for Idaho, which led the effort to bring the resolution before the council, on the need to directly address white supremacy.
The ordinance will be presented by Boise Mayor Dave Bieter, and its passage would commit the city to "work with community organizations to develop a training for all city staff to recognize and confront systemic discrimination[,] reaffirming our steadfast commitment to peace, respect, inclusivity and equity for all," as well as directing the city to pursue policies and direct resources to "ensure civil and human rights are afforded to all individuals."
It is, in many ways, a symbolic gesture, but to Evans, it's a meaningful one.
"It’s an ordinance, and the city is committing to doing more training to make sure city employees can identify and confront white supremacy. While symbolic, much of what has been propelling white supremacy has also been symbolic," Evans said, referring to a broader culture that enables the ideology.
Idaho has long been in the sights of white nationalists, who continue to press for a white ethnostate that would include parts of Oregon, Washington, Idaho and Montana, and the Gem State was once the hub for Aryan Nations, a Christian Identity/white nationalist group that was based near Coeur d'Alene. More recently, an open anti-Semite and Holocaust-denier announced a bid for a seat on the Garden City Council.
"It should be a wakeup call to every single person who’s living here," Evans said about the candidacy of Patrick Little, who moved to Garden City from California, and who has neo-Nazi ties. "It’s attracting people to Boise and Garden City because it looks acceptable and tolerable for them to be here."