Nashua Lawmaker Targeted In Online Attack From White Supremacist Group
A state representative from Nashua has been targeted by white supremacists in online racist attacks.
The threats against Rep. Manny Espitia came from the group NSC-131, after Espitia noted racist and anti-Semitic graffiti left by the group.
The graffiti included phrases like “Keep New England White” and “Death To Israel.” Espitia posted images of the racist phrases, which he said were left in a Latino neighborhood in Nashua, on Twitter.
“For folks who think that we live in a ‘color blind society’ you’re absolutely wrong,” Espitia wrote. “Don’t ever tell me that racism doesn’t exist in NH.”
According to screen shots on social media, NSC-131 responded by posting: “Anyone with a name like, ‘Manny Espitia,’ State Rep or not, has no moral right to throw shade at any true (White) Nationalist New Hampshirite. You have no right to be here, you’re an occupier here, and the days of these types trampling on New England are coming to an end.”
In an interview with NHPR, Espitia said he pointed out the graffiti to call attention to the kinds of racism that exist in the state.
“Too many times, I think we try to dismiss it and say, ‘Oh, this doesn’t happen here in New Hampshire,’ or ‘We’re better than that here,’ but it’s important to recognize that this does happen in New Hampshire, and we have to stand up and recognize it,” he said. “We don’t want to give these groups any oxygen, but we also don’t want to sweep this under the rug like this is normal.”
According to recent reporting by the Portland Press Herald, the group, the Nationalist Social Club or NSC-131, was formed in Massachusetts and may consist of about two dozen members in New England.
“They formed in early 2020, and are a very small group of folks, kind of outcasts of groups like Patriot Front and other groups that had fallen apart,” Carla Hill, an associate director at the Center on Extremism for the Anti-Defamation League, told the Press Herald.
Deputy Attorney General Jane Young told WMUR that the Civil Rights Unit of the New Hampshire Department of Justice is looking into the incident.
"Does it rise to the level of a hate crime or are there civil penalties that could be brought by that unit?" Young told WMUR.
Democratic and Republican leaders in the House of Representatives condemned the attack on Espitia.
“The fact that Representative Espitia is being threatened in the neighborhood where he lives and was elected to represent highlights how active racism and racist groups are in New Hampshire,” said House Democratic Leader Renny Cushing.
“There is no place for hatred in New Hampshire, and groups like these do not represent the fabric of our communities,” said House Speaker Sherm Packard in a statement. “In this state, we believe that everyone belongs here.”