On January 21, Wisconsin State Assembly rep Gordon Hintz posted a photo of a Nazi flag hanging on a stoop in Oshkosh, writing the following on Facebook:
A nazi flag hung yesterday less than a mile from my house and two blocks away from a elementary and middle school in Oshkosh. I really think everyone needs to ask what is going on right now, and do their part to make sure ignorance and hate is not normalized in any way. This is not ok. It is 2017 for the record.
Here’s an archive of that post if he takes it down.
OMG NOT AN ELEMENTARY SCHOOL. God forbid those children be exposed to Nazi symbolism and understand how fucked up everything it stands for is.
The comments on his photo — which has been shared over 11,000 times as of press time — were predictable, unfortunately. Burn the house down. Give us the address so we can burn the person in the house ourselves. This shouldn’t happen in America. DESTROY THE HOUSE AND EVERYONE IN IT. Insert exclamation points and ALL CAPS rants here.
Now, the woman who shares a duplex with the neighbors who actually and willfully put up the flag is in fear for her life and has turned to the internet via GoFundMe for help.
She writes on her GoFundMe campaign:
Hello all, my name is Rosangela Diaz. I live in Oshkosh Wi. I am currently doing this campaign so that my kids, husband and I can move to a new residents. On Sunday, January 22, I receive a message from a friend asking me if the picture on a Facebook post was my house, sure enough it was a picture of my neightbors house, the duplex behind me. The picture displayed a Nazi flag hanging by their door. Also in the message was our address displayed for the whole world to see. After a few hours that posted was shared 1,000s of times. I live there with my 4 young children and my husband who is almost blind. During this time numerous threats were made to burn down the whole house. To knock on the door and punch people in the face. At one point while trying to defend myself, I was accused of being the one who posted the flag. I am terrified for my family’s safe. my tires on my car we popped, but that was an easy fix. My wimdshield was cracked. Hate and love signs were posted around my house. These funds will be used for relocation and lawyer fees as I plan on persPueing the man who made the original Facebook post with my address putting my family in danger. Please take a moment to look over the post and news article. Any help will be greatly appreciated.
Local NBC26 reported that the neighbors who share a duplex with Diaz and her family intended for the flag which drew ire from thousands of pitchfork-wielding Internet denizens was meant to be a statement about our current political climate. They have not been named.
In an email written to NBC26 the person who hung the Nazi flag says that on Saturday night a debate was going on within their home, a debate about the current political state of our country according to the email. That person said quote, “the reason we chose to do so was simple in our minds. To us, America today feels much like it’s heading towards an era likened to the times of Nazi Germany.”
They also said, “Our president has spoken out in the past with plans of action that eerily mirror the times of Hitler. We were simply exercising our constitutional right to freedom of speech.”
And perhaps the most powerful statement shared with us from the tenant who put the flag up was this, “we are very sorry for the extreme misunderstanding of our actions and we would like to let people know that we meant no disrespect.”
Fine. But now your “misunderstanding” means a Hispanic woman, her black husband, and their four children are forced to go on GoFundMe to seek funds to flee their household because their own home is no longer safe. GOOD WORK fighting against Nazis, bruh!
The GoFundMe effort, with a $1500 goal, raised $2942 before it was closed to donations. The property managers from which Diaz leases have pledged their support and said she can break her lease no problem.
“I went outside today,” Rosangela Diaz said on Thursday, “and saw that someone had hung a peace flag.”
How nice of her neighbors after their Nazi flag drove them out of their home.
Too little, too late. Rep Gordon Hintz has since added to his Facebook post:
PLEASE REFRAIN FROM MAKING VIOLENT THREATS ON FB OR ENGAGING IN VANDALISM LOCALLY. THAT IS NOT OKAY EITHER. THE FLAG IS DOWN.
IT IS A DUPLEX AND ANOTHER FAMILY LIVES THERE.
Right. After he said people should “do their part to make sure ignorance and hate is not normalized in any way.” You happy now, Gordon? This is not normal, so I guess you won.
This is one case in which the Internet answered the call and gave people who needed it the most what they needed through GoFundMe. But this shouldn’t have happened at all, and wouldn’t have had Ms. Diaz’s neighbors not flew that flag and Gordon Hintz not put out a call to burn the racists who did it. Sad.
It’s surely a Brave New World we live in, that’s for sure.