Stone Mountain’s Neo-Confederates Target Anti-Racist Activists Online
The counter protesters included Aurielle Marie Lucier, Tommy DiMassimo, Ariella Riapos, and Lucas Javier Valderranna. Their activities were recorded by photographer Steve Eberhardt.
The groups had posted on their Facebook pages the names, background information, and contact information of the counter-demonstrators.
On Saturday, August 01, 2015, hundreds of people bearing Confederate flags and guns had gathered at Stone Mountain park to promote the Confederate flag as a symbol of “heritage, not hate.”
The rally was convened in reaction to calls from the Atlanta branch of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People to remove the carving of Confederate generals from the side of the mountain.
At the rally, a group of counter demonstrators faced off with the flag supporters.
DiMassimo shredded and stomped on a Confederate flag while preaching against racism.
Lucier, a prominent figure in Atlanta’s Black Lives Matter movement, also stood on the flag and delivered an impassioned speech as the crowd jeered.
The back and forth was heated, and at one point a flag supporter began to draw a gun on DiMassimo, but a police officer intervened.
Further backlash was yet to come.
The flag rally was organized by a man named JT Nicholson who started a Facebook page called CSA Flag Rally 2015 (CSA stands for Confederate States of America).
On August 02, 2015, Nicholson posted the following message:
“Through a little investigating threw [sic] a source from Tennessee he said ** Ive [sic] been investigating the four main protestors at the rally all day and I have all their names locations and the groups they are with etc. Also photos of them standing on the American flag etc. They are also Actors. All four of them make movies and have a production company.. ** So they were paid to start drama and hate!”
He then posted photos of three counter-demonstrators.
He had drawn red circles around them to distinguish them from the rest of the crowd. The photos were accompanied by personal information that seemed to have been gleaned from their social media pages.
Atlanta Progressive News has obtained copies of the photos, but is declining to publish them in these circumstances.
The photos have since been taken down, although the original message is still on the CSA Flag Rally 2015 Facebook page as of the afternoon of August 08, 2015.
Another page called Confederate Flag Stealers posted similar information but with an even scarier tone.
The page’s users also targeted Lucier but somehow found her home address and posted it, along with threats of violence.
There is speculation that they paid for a background check in order to find the information.
The page was rife with racial slurs and hateful rhetoric.
Supporters of the targeted activists began appealing to Facebook to remove the page.
Facebook initially responded by saying that the page did not violate its community standards.
By August 07, 2015 that changed. Enough people had reported the page that Facebook finally took it down.
The rally at Stone Mountain happened amidst a wave of backlash against the Black Lives Matter movement.
The KKK has ramped up activity, most notably holding a demonstration in Charleston, South Carolina, where a White supremacist murdered nine Black churchgoers earlier this year.
Confederate flag rallies have taken place in dozens of other U.S. cities. Confederate flags were recently discovered placed on the grounds of Ebenezer Baptist church.
Also, as Atlanta Progressive News previously reported, Councilman Michael Julian Bond (Post 1-at-large) received a hateful and threatening email after the Atlanta City Council recently passed a resolution he had authored calling for Gov. Nathan Deal to initiate a study of how the carving could be augmented:
Confederate Flag supporters are planning another rally at Stone Mountain for August 22, 2015.