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PNS Daily Newscast - December 15, 2017 


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Protesters of White-Power Festival Turning "Lemons Into Lemonade"

The counter-protest to a white-supremacist music festival will take place at the Anne Frank Human Rights Memorial in Boise. (Kenneth Freeman/Wikimedia Commons)
The counter-protest to a white-supremacist music festival will take place at the Anne Frank Human Rights Memorial in Boise. (Kenneth Freeman/Wikimedia Commons)
September 29, 2017

BOISE, Idaho – Idahoans plan to turn lemons into lemonade and hold a counter-event to a planned white-supremacist music festival scheduled for Saturday in Boise. The white-power festival called Hammerfest is sponsored by a national group known as the Hammerskins, which has organized events across the country, including in Boise in 2012.

When students at Boise State University's Inclusive Excellence Student Council got wind of the show, they decided to hold an event of their own with bands and speakers, and reached out to the Idaho Black History Museum.

Phillip Thompson is board president and CEO of the museum. He says the unfocused rage of simply protesting Hammerfest would have been unproductive.

"Rather than letting people let this spiral out of control because emotions start to get in the way, let's have a situation or an event that can facilitate dialogue, strategy, intersection as far as working with parties who can get things done, as opposed to just being mad," he explains.

The "Lemons to Lemonade" event will take place at the Anne Frank Human Rights Memorial starting around 11 A.M. on Saturday. Because it is at the Anne Frank Memorial and also on Yom Kippur, Thompson says he reached out to a local rabbi and received his approval and well-wishes for the event. The location of Hammerfest has not yet been disclosed.

Thompson praises the work the Boise police and leadership are doing to make sure the white-supremacist event doesn't spiral out of control. He also praises Boise residents. After the recent vandalism at the Idaho Black History Museum, an outpouring of support and donations came in. He says he's grateful to live in Boise.

"I'm not saying we're perfect, but we're pretty close to what you could hope to achieve when you have a diverse group of humans living in a small space," he says. "It's kind of 'live and let live' mentality, and even if we disagree politically, it's civil."

To turn lemons into lemonade, the event sponsors have started a GoFundMe page to support BSU's Inclusive Excellence Student Council, Afro-Black Student Alliance, Intertribal Native Council and Organización de Estudiantes Latino-Americanos. They are encouraging people to pledge an amount for each of the six bands playing at Hammerfest so that those bands in effect are fundraising for BSU organizations that promote and celebrate diversity.

Eric Tegethoff, Public News Service - ID