A few blocks north of Old Worthington’s quaint downtown area, Executive Center, an unobtrusive brick office complex, is nestled between a bank and another office building, and surrounded by a generous parking lot. On most days passersby are unlikely to notice the building managed by international real estate giant CBRE, but on January 14th a group of protesters lining North High Street in front of Executive Center with signs bearing anti-racist slogans directed at Greg Anglin, one of its tenants, were hard to miss.
The “Demonstration Against Hate From Worthington To Whitefish,” was organized by Columbus’ chapter of Anti-Racist Action (ARA), to raise awareness about Morningstar Ministries’ ties to Daily Stormer, a neo-nazi news site popular with Alt Right millennials, run by Greg Anglin’s globe-trotting son, Andrew, who grew up in Worthington. On the site’s donation page Andrew Anglin listed his father’s Christian counseling office’s address in Worthington for cash donations, explaining that he and his site have been banned from Paypal and other electronic payment services.
“We had been planning to do a demonstration at the beginning of the year, but when [Andrew] Anglin said he was doing a demonstration in Whitefish we had to mobilize very, very quickly…” ARA spokesperson Olivia Flak explained.
A couple of weeks earlier Andrew Anglin announced Martin Luther King, Jr. Day as the date of an armed march he’d been teasing in Whitefish, Montana, hometown of white supremacist and viral sucker-punch video star Richard Spencer.
Despite having only a couple of weeks to plan and promote the action, ARA managed to bring out about fifty people in near-freezing temperatures. Andrew Anglin’s march was postponed at the last minute after the city of Whitefish rejected his incomplete permit application. He now says the march will likely take place in February, but has not announced a specific date.
Participants in the Worthington demonstration included ARA members from around the region, members of Worthington’s chapter of Showing Up for Racial Justice (SURJ), and a few dozen community members.
“Worthington is a nice, fairly liberal suburban community. It doesn't seem like the kind of place where you'd find neo-Nazis,” said John Gatiss, a concerned citizen from Westerville who attended.
“This thing about neo-fascists having connections to Worthington really made me angry. How dare they?” exclaimed SURJ representative Lynda Smith, a retired Unitarian Universalist minister who spoke about the need for white people to get involved in racial justice work and has been doing so herself since the 1960s. Smith lives just outside of Worthington and considers the town to be very tolerant.
According to CBRE media relations representative Robert McGrath, Morningstar Ministries’ tenancy at Executive Center was under review as of January 17.
“CBRE strongly abhors all forms of hate speech and discrimination” McGrath wrote. As of press time he had not responded to a request for an update on the Christian counseling center’s status.
About a week after the demonstration the address was removed from Daily Stormer’s fundraising page, leaving Bitcoin as the only option for donations, though a heading at the top mentioning cash donations as a viable option remained. A week later a PO box in Worthington was added as the new cash donation address. “[T]he rat kikes from the SPLC called up the owner of the building started making threats, so the building company was going to cancel his lease if I didn't stop using the mailbox there,” Anglin wrote in a Daily Stormer article published February 3.
In addition to raising money for Daily Stormer, Andrew Anglin, an outspoken Trump supporter who has published numerous articles expressing concern about voter fraud, also illegally used the non-residential address to register to vote in the 2016 general election.
For now, it seems Greg Anglin will continue to do business in Worthington. Whether Andrew Anglin will continue to get away with voting there remains to be seen. But the community sent a clear message that neo-nazi activity is not welcome.
“I was happy to see people take a stand against bigotry in their community,” Gatiss said.
“I don’t think Columbus wants to be known for harboring a racist,” said Flak, who views the demonstration as a success, but believes there is more work to be done. “The address is down, but the site is still up. We want to continue to put pressure on the Alt Right,” she said.
SURJ, too, plans more actions in the near future. According to Smith the organization is awaiting a verdict in the shooting of 23-year-old Henry Green by Columbus Police last June and will likely plan a demonstration. “Young black men are living in fear every day” Smith said. “White people can’t ignore it. Silence is complicity with the system.”
For updates on anti-racist organizing community members can follow local ARA and SURJ chapters on Facebook or request information via email from ARA at email@example.com from SURJ at firstname.lastname@example.org.