The Black American Leadership Alliance’s (BALA) “We Are America Tour” event in Phoenix, Ariz. featured disgraced former Arizona State Sen. Russell Pearce. In addition to Pearce being the primary sponsor of Arizona’s anti-immigrant SB 1070, he was a friend and supporter of neo-Nazi JT Ready before Ready murdered four innocent people then shot himself last year.
Pearce’s racist connections and relationships extend beyond Ready. Racist emails sent by Pearce, including messages from the neo-Nazi National Alliance, that date back to 2006 further evidence the former state senator’s bigoted beliefs.
Nativist Rusty Childress, founder of the anti-immigrant organization Remember 1986, and BALA member Jesse Lee Peterson also spoke at the poorly-attended rally. Though originally scheduled to speak, BALA founder Leah Durant did not make it to the podium, but was in attendance.
It is also worth mentioning that tensions ran high at the rally as an angry mob of nativists descended on videographer Dennis Gilman as he attempted to film the paltry event. They attempted to block his camera view and kick him out of the rally.
By allowing the appearance of known racists such as Pearce, and aggressive others, at their event, BALA only has only further established itself as a front group for espousing the nativism and bigotry of the larger anti-immigrant movement.