Not sure the Twelve Tribes folks had the kind of recruiting day they expected on the Ithaca Commons yesterday (Saturday, Aug 12). By the end of the afternoon, I saw more concern than merriment on their faces. We came with a card table and a one-sheet pamphlet with quotes from their leader Eugene Spriggs that illustrate his views on African-Americans, Jews, gays, and child discipline. Our first hundred copies were gone quickly, then a second hundred, and then a third hundred (only five left over). On the other hand, the stacks and stacks of their publications placed around the Commons pavilion seemed to go untouched.
It’s good to know that when racists come to town to spout their beliefs and win new followers, some Ithacans will take the time to challenge them, even on a beautiful Saturday when other activities are calling. Thanks to everyone who pitched in and for the words of encouragement we received from so many.
I’ll have more to say about the experience of spending hours on the Commons with the Tribesmen and Tribeswomen soon.