On the evening of Jan. 18, Martin Luther King Jr. Day, the Loyal White Knights of the Ku Klux Klan distributed leaflets in the neighborhood around a Lutheran Services Carolinas office that provides services to refugees. The anti-Muslim leaflets singled out Lutheran Services Carolinas for its role in refugee resettlement and also featured crude racist verse directed toward African Americans. The Columbia incident is being investigated by law enforcement.
“LSC rejects hate, whether it’s directed at religion, race, or culture,” said LSC President Ted W. Goins Jr. “LSC will continue to walk with all the people we serve, and we call on the people of the Carolinas to rise up and speak out against discrimination and separation.”
The toxic sentiments reflected on the KKK leaflets are akin to the hatred and persecution that refugees are fleeing in their home countries, Goins said, adding that refugees who enter the United States are vetted by multiple, redundant systems and typically must wait years in international refugee camps before they can enter this country.
“Anyone experiencing hate speech or actions should contact local, state, or federal law enforcement,” Goins said, “and their actions need to be exposed. No matter how complicated issues related to refugee resettlement become, we cannot allow groups like the Klan to seize the moment to promote hate and discrimination.”
Goins went on to say that we must send a clear message to this group and to the world that there is no place for racism and bigotry in South Carolina and that we can do that by opposing legislation that promotes fear.
“We can lift up the thousands of refugees who have resettled successfully and without incident in South Carolina and the thousands of refugees, South Carolina residents, who are making a positive impact on the communities where they live and work,” he said. “And we can replace fear with compassion by continuing to serve the properly vetted refugees seeking protection.”
“LSC wants to simply continue doing what it does best, which is to serve the most vulnerable among us, including refugees who have endured unimaginable hardships,” Goins said. “We hope our friends will join us in replacing the rhetoric of hatred and fear with a renewed commitment to compassion and Christian service.”
For more information contact Mary Ann Johnson at Lutheran Services Carolinas (704) 798-8665