A group called the Aryan Freedom Network says it will hold a “meet and greet” in Fresno on Saturday, Jan. 28.
“Hate and fear, from anyone or any group, is unacceptable and criminal acts based upon hate and fear will not be tolerated in our city.“ — Fresno Police Chief Paco Balderrama
Details beyond what is on a flyer on the group’s website were not clear.
Teresa Drenick, who is the Anti-Defamation League’s deputy regional director in San Francisco, told GV Wire that AFN ” is a small Texas-based Klan-affiliated neo-Nazi group that has distributed white supremacist propaganda and held public anti-LGBTQ+ demonstrations in the last year.”
Drenick added that “the individuals behind AFN have tried several times to create white supremacist groups espousing explicitly racist and antisemitic ideology, with AFN being the latest iteration.
“We hope that the Fresno community stands strong against all that this group represents. There must be no place for hate or antisemitism in Fresno.”
Attendees Must Pass Background Check: AFN
When asked for more information about the event, AFN replied in part, “This is for anyone interested in joining AFN. For security purposes, any attending must have a background check done. If you are still interested let me know and I can email you an application.”
An application found on the website restricts membership to “100% of White European ancestry. Including: Nordic, Slavic, Mediterranean, Celtic or Germanic background” among other requirements.
There are several disqualifying factors, including non-Christian religious beliefs. The group does allow for agnostics and atheists.
The San Francisco office of the Anti-Defamation League confirmed the authenticity of the flyer for GV Wire.
Law Enforcement Aware
Fresno Police Chief Paco Balderrama said that his department and other law enforcement agencies know about the flyer.
“The Fresno Police Department, as well as local, state, and federal law enforcement officers, are aware of the social media posting announcing a future meeting involving the Aryan Freedom Network,” Balderrama told GV Wire.
“The Fresno Police Department will always balance ensuring our community’s safety through the enforcement of laws with the constitutional right to freedom of speech. Hate and fear, from anyone or any group, is unacceptable and criminal acts based upon hate and fear will not be tolerated in our city,” Balderrama said.