FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
CONTACT: Laura Argenbright, Director of Communications
PHRC STATEMENT CONCERNING WHITE LIVES MATTER INCIDENT At MONTGOMERY AREA HIGH SCHOOL
HARRISBURG, PA – The Pennsylvania Human Relations Commission (PHRC) – the leading civil rights enforcement agency in the Commonwealth – today issued a statement of concern regarding a June incident at Montgomery Area High School in Montgomery, PA.
It has been reported and posted on social media that on the last day of school, several male Montgomery students, including seniors, were photographed proudly wearing 'White Lives Matter' T-shirts. It has also been reported that the school administration has refused to issue a public statement and did nothing more to address the incident than send the students home.
PHRC discourages the promotion of the 'White Lives Matter' movement in any form, pointing out that the phrase represents the ideology of what has been identified by the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) as a white-supremist hate group.
According to the SPLC, "White Lives Matter, a racist response to the civil rights movement Black Lives Matter, is a neo-Nazi group that is growing into a movement as more and more white supremacist groups take up its slogans and tactics." Further, White Lives Matter (WLM) describes itself as "dedicated to promotion of the white race and taking positive action as a united voice against issues facing our race," in the words of its website.
"It is imperative that the Montgomery School District, and all Pennsylvania school administrators, realize the background of the 'White Lives Matter' movement and other similar racist hate campaigns, and take appropriate action as needed," PHRC Executive Director Chad Dion Lassiter, MSW said. "It's certainly okay to have a strong ethnic and racial identity but that racial identity cannot be rooted in white superiority."
PHRC is available to conduct social justice and unconscious bias trainings for administration, staff and students free of charge. Likewise, anyone in the state of Pennsylvania who feels they have experienced an act of discrimination has the right to file a complaint with the Pennsylvania Human Relations Commission. Visit PHRC.pa.gov or call 717-787-4410 for more information.
About PA Human Relations Commission (PHRC):
The PA Human Relations Commission (PHRC) promotes equal opportunity for all and enforces Pennsylvania's civil rights laws that protect people from unlawful discrimination. As Pennsylvania's leading civil justice enforcement agency, it is our vision that all people in Pennsylvania will live, work, and learn free from unlawful discrimination. For more information or to file a claim, visit: https://www.phrc.pa.gov/