Protesters march outside church that hosted GOP rally, far right speaker
BETTENDORF — Pleasant View Baptist Church, which hosted the Quad Cities Immigration Forum last week, was the target of protesters on Sunday.
Nick Fuentes, a far-right activist who had also been at the “Unite the Right” rally in Charlottesville, was the final speaker at the forum last week. The rest of the speakers had spoken about illegal immigration, but Fuentes had spoken about also banning legal immigration. The other speakers have since denounced his speech and tried to distance themselves.
Local media had reported that Pleasant View had taken down their Facebook page. However, the Dispatch-Argus of East Moline reported that protesters came to the church as early as 8 a.m. on Sunday, gathering in the Pleasant View Elementary School field and parking area. Police and deputies stood outside the church, along with those there to attend worship services.
“We’re not here to give the church a piece of our mind, nor are we under the impression that our protest will bring any admittance of wrongdoing,” Athena Gilbraith, a protest organizer, told the newspaper.
Jack Termuhlen, a graduate student at Western Illinois University, is from East Moline. His sign said, “Amo a mi familia Latina.”
“I know a lot of people in the Latin community,” he told the Dispatch-Argus. “I feel like a lot of rhetoric today is being used against the Hispanic community as a whole.”
Rodney Blackwell of Davenport, a military veteran, took the microphone briefly during the protest. He invited people to join a protest Saturday at Saint Giuseppe’s Heavenly Pizza in East Moline, which is owned by former U.S. Rep. Bobby Schilling (R-Rock Island).
Schilling was one of the other speakers at the forum and his now ex-staffer had been the one to invite Fuentes to the event.
The Rev. Ed Hedding, pastor at Pleasant View, declined to comment to the Dispatch-Argus before the service.