BECKLEY, WV (WOAY) – Just walking down the street, Larew Avenue seems like a quiet, friendly neighborhood, but to white supremacists, it was their next target.
“I had come out to carry some trash to my dumpster and I saw this laying in the grass,” said Mary West, the only black person living in her neighborhood. “After reading it, it offended me so badly. Just about every one we picked up had a different message.”
In the bags are birdseed and a variety of racist messages, blaming persons of color for COVID-19 and saying black people are to blame for various crimes.
“We still have to push on,” said West. “We can’t stop talking about racism because it’s very prevalent. It’s been [here] ever since I was born. It’s been [here] when I was in the military. it’s been [here] when I worked in the coal mine. We have to push on and make it known that now is the time to stop.”
It didn’t take long for West and her daughter to realize they weren’t the only ones to receive the flyer. Several neighbors had the same messages left in their yard.
“I absolutely believe people are out there trying to recruit for that organization,” said Danielle Stewart with the Beckley Human Rights Commission. “If you read through some of the things, what they’re really trying to do is incite violence.
The group also targeted other neighborhoods.
“It also happened in Oak Hill, in Prosperity, all in the same day,” said Stewart. “I was really shocked because it’s been quite a long time since that incident has happened in Beckley.
If you come across the messages, Stewart says you should report it to the police, However, West was told there isn’t much they can do besides charge the person with littering.
“If you’re going to charge me for the first offense $100 for a loud music complaint, $200 for the next one, $500 for the next one, you sure can bring an ordinance to charge these people with something other than littering,” said West.
Another response Stewart suggests is posting a video on social media condemning the flyers.