QUARRYVILLE >> A Ku Klux Klan chapter is planning a rally Saturday in southern Lancaster County.
The East Coast Knight of the True Invisible Empire, from Rising Sun, Md. will start its year of by first holding a cross-lighting at an undisclosed farm in Lancaster County. The organization posted the notice on its web site, www.stormfront.org.
“This is going to be one of the biggest cross lightings in a long time,” an organizer said. “I’m looking forward to meeting other Klans and members of the (East Coast Knights of the KKK) “I believe we are making at least a 40-foot cross. We will be bringing other Klans into the alliance.”
The announcement was immediately condemned by local lawmakers and law enforcement agencies.
“It is unfortunate to bring attention to such appalling behavior, but I cannot be silent while this hate is promoted in our communities,” said state Rep. Lloyd Smucker (R-16th Dist.). “The East Coast Knights of the Ku Klux Klan’s planned event this Saturday in Lancaster County is a reminder of the perverse hate that still exists within a small group of individuals.”
Ken Work, Quarryville police chief, said his department is not planning extra patrols Saturday.
“Over the past years, the (KKK) has had gatherings on small farms in the southern end and in Maryland,” Work said. “That’s all this will be. It is not open to the public and will be on someone’s private farm. We certainly will be looking for it, but people will probably not know where it is.”
Organizers bragged that there will be officials from “all over the country” at the Saturday rally.
According to the Southern Poverty Law Center’s (SPLC) annual census of “extremist” groups, “the number of hate groups in the United States rose for a second year in a row, energized by the candidacy of Donald Trump.” The number of explicitly anti-Muslim groups has nearly tripled since 2015 alone, to over 100 nationwide. Of nearly 1,100 “bias incidents,” SPLC reports, “37 percent of them directly referenced either President-elect Trump, his campaign slogans, or his infamous remarks about sexual assault.”
“Let me be clear – there is absolutely no place for the KKK, or any KKK-affiliated groups in our communities and I condemn this group and its actions in the strongest possible terms,” Smucker said. “This group does not represent the people of Pennsylvania’s 16th Congressional District, nor does it represent the values that bring us together.”
Work said publicity fuels the white supremacist group.
“We are certainly giving them a lot of publicity,” he said. “This should be downplayed. I really don’t think this will amount to anything. Unless you are invited, I don’t’ think people will even know it is there.”
A counter-rally, which will include civic leaders and clergy, is scheduled from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. at the Lancaster County courthouse on King Street.