The city of Brownsville has removed two teens from the Youth Advisory Council after harassment complaints and alleged neo-Nazi propaganda was published on their personal social media accounts.
Termination letters sent to Christopher Gracia and Jose Antonio Escobedo confirm the city ‘has received several concerns regarding your personal activities which have deterred the focus from our mission. As a result, the Council will no longer require your assistance.’
The Youth Advisory Council’s mission, according to a report by the Brownsville Herald in August, when the Council was recognized and launched, said: “the purpose of the Youth Advisory Council is to get high school juniors and seniors involved in local politics and get their input on local issues.”
The personal activities are directed toward Gracia’s social media pages on Twitter, Facebook and most concerning his statements on live media broadcasting platform, Periscope. Gracia broadcasts several hour-long Q&A’s about white nationalism and white being a dominant race in America. In a four-hour broadcast, Gracia takes calls from listeners
CALLER: The more diverse you get the more problems you’re going to get…
GRACIA: I kinda agree with you there
Gracia also said in a video titled SUPPORT WHITE PEOPLE = End the white genocide taking place all over the world. Call in on Skype to talk. #Ban Immigration, “I personally would like America to be with one culture; very Western, very American, regardless of the race but, preferably, in majority of the country being whites.”
On his Twitter page, Gracia is posing with a confederate flag and his cover/background photo is a Nazi propaganda flag. He also has posted “Keep white countries white. Keep black countries black. Keep Asian countries Asian” and “America is a white country.”
On both accounts, Gracia’s biography promotes his website WesternDefiance.com. In the ‘About’ section, Gracia boasts, “after a number of blogging sites decided to censor the statements of Christopher Gracia, prompting him to found his own independent website as a haven for his thoughts at the young age of 17.”
‘Guilty by association’ is more along the lines of ‘guilty by sharing’ in Escobedo’s case. Escobedo serves on the Parks and Recreation Advisory Committee and has shared Gracia’s web articles with statements such as;
“It is true that Islamic scripture promotes sexual assaults such as rape and pedophilia, and that this is a major problem considering these scriptures are used as a life manual by over 1.8 billion people in the world who are growing in number.”
“We must stop allowing political correctness and cultural relativism to make us turn a blind eye to atrocities promoted in the Quran and hadith that are acted out in the real world by Muslims.”
The controversy surrounds his committee position and views expressed on November 29th. Escobedo voiced his opinion following a Town Hall focused on the Jefferson Davis Monument. The Parks Advisory Committee opened the Town Hall noting their opinions are not to play a role in the deciding factor of whether to relocate the monument from Washington Park. Attendees of the Town Hall were notably frustrated and felt any input from the committee was bias and invites a level of distrust. “On Tuesday we have placed on the agenda to remove the Parks advisory member, Mr. Escobedo, who has been sharing and spreading the contents that his friend [Gracia] has been making Neo-Nazi propaganda.” Commissioner Tetreau said.
Tuesday, the city of Brownsville allowed Escobedo to represent himself, and opened with;
“I was appointed in June to the Parks and Rec Board, as the youngest City Board member, [chuckle] in Brownsville history, to my understanding. [Escobedo gestures to Commissioner Tetreau] You were tagged in a post, so I’ve heard and all of you seem to be getting just one side of the story. I don’t think any of you have any solid evidence to what my opinions even are personally I believe myself to be a classical liberal. I don’t like big government. I don’t like the intrusion of governing of people’s rights. There are two people I hate in this world is Nazis and Communists. I don’t like totalitarians. I am not of that side of the story that you have heard. But I seem to have been picked up by a certain group of people that think that some of my opinions are wrong to think that [I] should be ostracized or punished for what reason they would want me just completely removed and I guess punished. I’m not too sure…”
The commissioners believed the sharing and handling of social media are to be a learning experience and tabled the issue. Escobedo remains as a Parks and Recreation Advisory Committee Member, however Brownsville Mayor Tony Martinez and commissioners openly stated not knowing all the evidence, only Commissioner Tetreau was in possession of when the agenda item was added.