Yes, Proud Boys Exist in New Mexico

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ProgressNow
 New Mexico
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This week, Joe Biden and Donald Trump faced off in the first presidential debate for the 2020 election. The most telling moment of the debate was when the moderator Chris Wallace asked Trump to condemn white supremacist and militia groups. These racist groups have been showing up, often armed with guns, to Black Lives Matter rallies and protests against police violence taking place in cities across the country, including here in New Mexico.

Trump not only refused to condemn white supremacists, but he also CALLED THEM TO ACTION.

Here’s the exchange:

MSNBC – Edited by PNNM

Unsurprisingly, Trump pivoted away from the question, taking zero responsibility for his role in the continuing rise of white supremacy and projecting the problem onto others. Needless to say, the world was watching and Trump’s direction to the Proud Boys to “stand by” sent a shock across social media platforms.

Proud Boy Organizers Gleefully React to Trump's Call to Action
Proud Boys on Telegram react to Trump’s debate name drop. Leader Joe Biggs: “Trump basically said go fuck them up!”

Members of the Proud Boys heard Trump’s words as an endorsement of their armed presence at BLM protests, at polling locations and as a Presidential order to prepare for violent confrontations with “antifa and the left.”

Keep in mind “antifa” stands for anti-fascist and is not an organization.

The Proud Boys seized this dark moment, changing their logo and mobilizing in online forums like 4chan with violent messaging.

Who are the Proud Boys?

The Proud Boys are a racist, white supremacist, and right-wing extremist organization which has chapters across the United States, including here in New Mexico. Some key history on the Proud Boys.

Proud Boys New Logo with Trump's Call to "Stand By"
Proud Boys changed their logo to Include Trump’s debate directive to “Stand by.”

They call themselves “Western chauvinists” which is coded language for European-centric, white supremacy.

While their founder Gavin McInnes says they are “anti-political correctness” and “anti-white guilt,” these are—ironically—politically correct ways of saying racist, sexist, nationalist, transphobic, etc.

Proud Boys showed up to the Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville, Virginia in 2017, alongside the KKK and alt-right groups. One of the rally’s chief organizers, Jason Eric Kessler, is a Proud Boy.

They voluntarily “provided security” for Trump political adviser Roger Stone in March of 2018 when he appeared in Portland, Oregon who said he feared being attacked. Nothing happened.

The Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) designates them a hate group and the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) tracks their hateful ideologies and acts of violence.

Proud Boys in New Mexico

Yes, the Proud Boys exist in New Mexico.

While legacy media largely ignored their presence around and within the Trump campaign, over the last year, ProgressNow New Mexico has covered much of their local presence at the New Mexico Capitol and their overlapping membership with the NM Civil Guard in the Oñate statue shooting.

We as a staff have also dealt with the violent actions of the Proud Boys. Today, the news is everywhere, including CNN, The New York Times, and even in our own Albuquerque Journal. Here’s a short history of the Proud Boys’ presence in New Mexico.

In September 2019, during the “Freedom First Flag Wave” the Proud Boys joined other white supremacist and militia groups in downtown Albuquerque a few days ahead of a Trump rally in Rio Rancho. They were outnumbered 5-to-1 by counter protesters. This is in large part because our community organized and planned to promote safety due to the Proud Boys’ history of violence.

One person was detained by police when witnesses saw him brandish a gun and assaulted a counter-protester who was taking video. Here is that footage.

The day of the September 2019 Trump rally in Rio Rancho, ProgressNow New Mexico joined a coalition of groups in Old Town’s Tiguex Park for a peaceful protest far away from the rally to protect demonstrators against violent, right-wing extremists- specifically, the Proud Boys, who pulled a gun on a community member only days before.

Just days ago, members of the New Mexico chapter of the Proud Boys decried reports that their organization is a violent hate group as reported in the Santa Fe New Mexican. A day after this article ran, the nationally televised Presidential debate highlighted their status as a white supremacist organization.

Yesterday, a Proud Boy member who was in attendance at the 2019 “Flag Wave” rally in Albuquerque was arrested in Portland, OR for 12 charges, “including multiple felonies for assault and unlawful use of a weapon, and misdemeanors for pointing a firearm at another person, menacing and the unlawful use of tear gas.” as reported by Forbes.

Protect the Election from White Supremacist Voter Intimidation & Suppression

Showing up for social justice and fighting against white supremacy takes many forms. Sometimes we take to the streets, and other times (like now) we need to show up for each other by protecting our families from voter suppression.

Proud Boys on 4chan Threatening Violence
Post debate, Proud Boys on 4chan gleeful call for murder and lynching of leftists on election day.

During the Presidential debate, Trump gave free reign to groups like the Proud Boys to intimidate and harass voters at the polls. He tried to sow seeds of doubt in the integrity of the election — likely because all signs point to him losing.

We’re asking you to do everything you can to push back against Trump’s intimidation tactics and inappropriate use of executive power — and right now, it’s critical that our social justice movements include election protection.

Help us protect the election from voter suppression and intimidation from groups like the Proud Boys.

Thanks to our friends at Common Cause New Mexico who shared this information with us, there are a lot of different ways to lend your support to the movement!

Become a poll watcher. We know that many right-wing extremists will be going to the polls to intimidate voters. We need your help in making sure every voter has access!

Become an absentee poll watcher. This year, vote by mail is more important than ever! This will be a critical role during the 2020 election!

Become a poll monitor. Help distribute PPE, and connect voters who are denied a ballot to legal resources!

Got wheels? Become a roving poll monitor. Use a checklist to drive (or bike!) between polling places and check on lines, signage, and poll preparation.

Social media savvy? Become a social media monitor. Identify voters who are posting on social media about problems voting, connecting them to resources and support, and report vote-related mis/disinformation.

Law student, licensed attorney, or have a legal background? Become a 866-OUR VOTE hotline monitor. Respond and field calls from voters concerning election deadlines, trouble at the polls, and other issues and track and record information accordingly.

Texting machine? Become a voter contact. Use text banking and phone banking tools to talk to thousands of voters to give them accurate voting information and support.

What are you waiting for? Help us stand up to white supremacy in New Mexico. Register for these volunteer positions at ProtectTheVote.net.

Keep up to date on the latest progressive news and resources by signing up for our newsletter and following us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

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Executive Director 

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Alissa Barnes :: Executive Director
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you should know

Alissa Barnes is Executive Director at ProgessNow New Mexico where she leads a team that works on message development, issue and voter education, and amplification of progressive messages and values. She leads the organization in strategy development, fundraising, and organizational growth and sustainability.

Alissa’s background includes nearly 12 years at Roadrunner Food Bank where Alissa led the development and creation of multiple programs that are now national models, invested in community building and collaborations, and worked closely with elected officials, educating about hunger and why policies would either benefit or hurt clients in food lines. She has a BA from the University of New Mexico and various non-profit certifications.
  • If she followed her childhood dream, she would be a Broadway tap dancing star
  • Has seen Frozen 1 and 2 over 100 times
  • Loves heavy metal concerts
Marianna Anaya :: Deputy Director
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Marianna oversees strategic messaging and creative implementation tactics for issue-based and political campaigns. She leads the team’s digital and earned media programs, bringing a New Mexico values-based approach to her work. 

Marianna’s background includes race and ethnic studies in education as a focus at UT Austin and UCLA, political campaign work, staffing former Congresswoman Michelle Lujan Grisham as well as leading organizing and communications work for the Albuquerque Teachers Federation.

  • She currently serves as the Board President of Emerge NM. 
  • Her hobbies include getting more women, queer folks and BIPOC elected to office.
  • She has three cuddle-worthy dogs at home
Lucas Herndon :: Energy and Policy Director
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Lucas’ focus is on all things energy and environment, election integrity projects and general messaging strategy. He is often the front facing voice for PNNM when it comes to issues surrounding methane, renewable energy, oil industry accountability, and public lands issues. 

Lucas has an extensive background in public lands and solar energy. He was instrumental in the creation of the Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks National Monument in 2014 and has participated in every local election since 2012 through phone banking, online organizing, and poll watching. Lucas is a lifelong resident of Las Cruces where he has served in various capacities of leadership including as President of the Las Cruces Green Chamber of Commerce, District Director for the Dona Ana County Democratic Party, and attending and completing the inaugural classes of the Las Cruces Neighborhood Leadership Academy and the Las Cruces Tree Stewards. 

  • Owned a tattoo shop called Omega Tattoo & Supply 
  • Once got a chin bump “what’s up” from James Harden on an airplane when Harden saw Lucas’ beard 
  • Has a minor in Medieval and Early Modern History
Josette Arvizu :: Communications Director
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Josette Arvizu is the Communications Director at ProgressNow New Mexico where she oversees the development and implementation of systems that further the external and internal communications of the organization.

Josette’s background in marketing includes copywriting, paid media, SEO and content strategy for businesses and nonprofits, including convention and visitor bureaus from Bermuda to Anaheim. She began her career teaching writing to college students while in New Mexico State University’s MFA in creative writing program. Her previous work promoting diversity and inclusion includes coordination of writing and traditional arts workshops for Native American youth at the Tucson Indian Center.
  • Is a cat mom to an obstinate orange tabby named Quasimodo and a restless grey cat named Squirrel
  • Hasn’t heard a pun she didn’t like
  • Minored in dance in college and is an avid follower of ballet on Instagram
Jackie Aguirre :: Communications Specialist
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Jackie’s focus is on graphics and social media marketing that promote progressive issues across our state. 

Jackie’s background includes work in the Reproductive Justice space focusing on Latinx, Chicanx and Mexican-American communities.

  • She is a co-owner of a community art gallery celebrating BIPOC artists
  • She is a long-time volunteer for Planned Parenthood and works with college students to provide condoms/dental dams, menstrual products & other resources
  • She is a part of a group of women who love craft beer and hosts monthly beer shares with beer from all over the country
Edgar Cruz :: Communications Specialist
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Edgar Cruz is a Communications Specialist at ProgressNow New Mexico where he focuses on video creation and research that promotes progressive issues across our state.

Edgar has a background producing multimedia initiatives. With over five years of radio production experience, he is a movement agent who believes in exploring all avenues of media to inform and engage community.

  • Is a host of Espejos de Aztlan on KUNM
  • Is a member of Generation Justice
  • First discovered his passion for organizing as a high school student after joining the Youth Alliance in 2009