ROCKVILLE CENTRE, N.Y. (PIX11) — For the second time in half a year, the Proud Boys, an organization that’s been identified as a hate group by various civil rights organizations, rallied in a Long Island community. It left some residents, as well as legislators and activists calling for local governments to take greater action to prevent the Proud Boys from returning. At this point, though, it’s not clear what measures will be taken.
On Saturday, about two dozen members of the Proud Boys marched down Rockville Centre streets and left postcard-size fliers at various businesses.
A variety of residents recorded smartphone videos of the men, including a few different videos recorded by a 20-year resident who did not want her name used, out of concerns expressed by her family for her safety.
“Take your masks down, guys, where do you work?” she asks various members of the group who, even though they were outside for their rally, kept gaiters positioned over their faces.
“I have to use my privilege to say, ‘This is not what we want,'” she told PIX11 News.
In one of the videos she recorded, one of the Proud Boys members points to a line on one of the fliers he was handing out that says that his group stands for “anti-racism” and “anti-racial guilt.”
Alan Singer, a professor of education and history at Hofstra University who has researched and written extensively about racial history on Long Island said that the Proud Boys’ anti-racist claims are not what they appear to be.
“Their concept of anti-racist is very different than what most people mean,” Dr. Singer said in an interview. “They are arguing that the United States is racist against whites.”
He also pointed out that on Long Island, “[in the] 1920s, there was a very large Klan movement.”
“In the 1930s, there was a Nazi movement on Long Island,” he continued, adding that over the course of the 20th Century, the island has seen various white supremacist groups.
“There’s a long history of this type of behavior, particularly on Long Island,” he said.
Both the state senator, and the state assemblywoman who represent this part of Long Island — Todd Kaminsky and Judy Griffin, respectively — publicly declared in interviews on Monday that the Proud Boys have to be stopped from returning.
However, as the woman who confronted the rallying group pointed out, keeping the Proud Boys away will take a coordinated effort.
“It’s time for those of us who do not align with those ideals,” said the woman, whose identity is being withheld, “to say to say to the village here, ‘What is our plan?'”
PIX11 News made multiple attempts to get comment from Mayor Francis X. Murray of Rockville Centre. So far, there’s been no response.
A request for comment from the New York Proud Boys organization also got no response.