JOHN DAY - Watch for lime-green ribbons to sprout across Grant County.

A group of Grant County citizens formed a new coalition on human rights Friday, Feb. 26, in the wake of an Aryan Nations leader's stated intent to move his organization to John Day.

The action came during an informal meeting following the first of two community meetings scheduled by the Blue Mountain Eagle newspaper to address citizen concerns about white supremacist movement and its possible impacts on the community.

The new group, the Grant County Human Rights Coalition, is still in the formative stages and will meet again late next week to firm up its organizational structure, membership and plans.

In the meantime, coalition members identified several projects to tackle in the near future. One of them, a green ribbon campaign, was scheduled to begin at the second community meeting, set for 6 p.m. Friday at the Canyon City Community Hall.

Coalition members are encouraging residents to tie lime green ribbon on their vehicle antennas, in their yards and in other locations to signify their commitment to human rights for all Grant County residents, regardless of race or religion.

The group also plans to coordinate a campaign of positive signs at local businesses, prepare a central web page for information about the task force activities, acquire answers to legal and real estate questions raised by residents during the first community meeting, and plan a panel discussion on human rights for radio station KJDY. A facilitated talk and showing of a "Not in Our Town" movie also is in the works.

Watch for more details on and in the next issue of the Blue Mountain Eagle.

The actions followed an emotion-filled and inspirational gathering from 9 to 11 a.m. Friday at the Canyon City Community Hall. Speakers at the session were Norman Gissel, a Coeur d'Alene attorney who was instrumental in the lawsuit that brought down the Aryan Nations in 2000 and its late leader, Richard Butler, and Tony Stewart, a political scientist, speaker and human rights advocate from Idaho.

A video of the community meeting is available on the Eagle website at

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