The Macomb Pride grassroots club condemns a locally-organized online hate group targeting our leaders, members, and guests. Using homophobic, transphobic language, they’ve relentlessly abused, dead-named, DOXX’d, lied about, and cyberstalked our people.
The Facebook page, “Sarah Ellen Jonas,” is operating as a hate group by it’s function and impact. Most postings specifically target our vibrant LGBTQ+ community members, allies, friends, women. Like most hate groups, they also post content which is misogynistic, racist, and ableist. The page appears to have been created & exist for the main purpose to stalk us and destroy the lives, livelihoods, and psyches of human beings and diverse orgs serving marginalized persons in the community. Their posts send a devastating message to our LGBTQ+ youth.
According to the ADL:
“Hate Group – An organization whose goals and activities are primarily or substantially based on a shared antipathy towards people of one or more other different races, religions, ethnicities/nationalities/national origins, genders, and/or sexual identities. The mere presence of bigoted members in a group or organization is typically not enough to qualify it as a hate group; the group itself must have some hate-based orientation/purpose.”
Because there appears to be no other function for this fake Facebook profile other than targeting us, the Racial Justice Coalition of West Central Illinois, and the feminists of the Democratic Women of McDonough County, we can explicitly call this group a hate group according to the ADL and SPLC definitions. Due to the coordinated, frightening, dangerous, and relentless abusive targeting, Macomb Pride has ceased all public events out of fear this group’s actions will incite violence against us or those attending our events.
We note with sadness, disgust, and alarm the many locals engaging with and even encouraging the relentless toxic discourse. Evidence shows past and present police officers, EMS, Fire service personnel, nurses, hospital employees, 911 dispatchers, sheriff’s department, jail staffers, local business owners, city council members, county board members, and WIU faculty, staff, admins and/or family members showing disrespectful, reprehensible behavior a university town should be ashamed of. We note the tragic hypocrisy of a silent WIU administration, Macomb Mayor, City Council, County Board which claims to represent us yet remains silent month after month while the targeting of our LGBTQ+, Black, and intersectional feminists, students, visitors becomes more viscious, toxic, and cruel.
We condemn the Sarah Ellen Jonas Hate Group and those who encourage or support it. We call on the Department of Justice to investigate, since local law enforcement/911/jail staffers are involved. We condemn State’s Attorney Matthew Kwacala’s refusal to take action to protect our people. We call on Facebook to pull down the page, end it’s enabling and amplification of this hate on it’s platform, and be a responsible ally for our LGBTQ+ community. We call on WIU and community leaders of conscience to publicly condemn the SEJ hate group and it’s leaders, and to remind our community that encouraging or tolerating hate only attracts more hate. This group is a prime recruiting ground for other outside hate groups to find vulnerable young people to invite into extremist organizations. Further silence by this community’s leaders on the profound impact of this growing hate group is complicity.
For LGBTQ+ Safety, Inclusion, & Dignity,
Merrill Cole (He/Him), Co-Chair
Samuel Richardson (They/He), Leadership Team