On Thursday November 9th, 2017 a Whittier resident was in historic Uptown Whittier when she noticed a Nazi SWASTIKA symbol prominently displayed in the front window of Whittier Coins. We later learned the SWASTIKA had been on display for months.
Let’s take a moment to grasp what the SWASTIKA symbolizes and why we are offended by it.
According to the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum (US Museum) Hitler and the Nazis murdered approximately:
- 6 million Jews
- 6 million Soviet citizens
- 3 million Non-Jewish Polish civilians
- 312,000 Serb citizens
- 250,000 People with disabilities
This is a total of 17.5 million innocent people exterminated by the Nazis including men, women and children. Their symbol of terror? The SWASTIKA!!
Over the years the SWASTIKA has come to symbolize white supremacy and the Neo-Nazi movement in the United States. The Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) is internationally known for its work toppling some of the nation's largest white supremacist hate groups by helping victims of racist violence sue in civil court. The SPLC has documented 917 hate groups in the U.S. They include 130 Ku Klux Klan groups; 100 White Nationalist groups and 78 Racist Skin Head groups.
Several hate groups are active in Southern California including Whittier. Let us not forget that the Whittier Daily News reported in November 2015 that Ku Klux Klan propaganda was distributed twice in Whittier. Residents awoke on a Sunday morning to find KKK flyers on their front lawns. According to the Whittier Police Department the flyers did not contain any threats but was urging people to join the Ku Klux Klan. Similar flyers were found at homes in Fullerton and Santa Ana.
Unfortunately, the election of Donald Trump has emboldened white supremacist groups to promote their message of hate. They want to normalize their racist ideology.
We don't want that to happen in Whittier.
While we don't know whether the owner of Whittier Coins is a Nazi sympathizer or not he is unwittingly promoting Nazi propaganda and "normalizing" their racist ideology by selling and displaying the SWASTIKA. While we recognize Whittier Coins has a right to sell war memorabilia, including the SWASTIKA, it also has a moral responsibility to be sensitive to the community and respectful to those innocent people killed and terrorized by the Nazis – symbolized by the SWASTIKA.
We hope that the owner of Whittier Coins will reconsider his decision to display the Nazi SWASTIKA and remove it from the front display window. Additionally, we urge Whittier Coins to refrain from selling any Nazi memorabilia.
Orlando Terrazas, Chairperson
On behalf of the Steering Committee,
Whittier Area Peace and Justice Coalition