Nativism Watch

Is ProEnglish Distancing Itself from Racists Matthew Heimbach & Jared Taylor?


Imagine 2050 Staff • Sep 17, 2012

Heimbach displaying the Confedarte Battle flag next to a Martin Luther King, Jr memorial

A former leader of the student organization Youth for Western Civilization (YWC) garnered a moment of mainstream media attention recently when he called for the establishing of a White Student Union on the Towson University Campus. Matthew Heimbach led the YWC chapter on that campus for a year until the group was forced to disband after its members scrawled “White Pride” in chalk throughout campus.

Heimbach has active connections to the neo-Confederate group the League of the South. As a speaker at one of their gatherings in Maryland, he outlined the discrete ways in which the missions and visions of YWC and the League of the South overlapped one another. Heimbach loves to boast of such connections, as well, taking up the mic this summer on a Southern Nationalist Network podcast, in which he recapped for listeners this year’s Council of Conservative Citizens (CofCC) national conference. CofCC openly refers African Americans and Blacks as “a retrograde species of humanity.”

Heimbach also loves to boast and to provoke via his Twitter account, as well. His Twitter bio reads, “Maryland League of the South, member of the Sons of Confederate Veterans, and proud defender of liberty.” There, he also links to the YWC website. He recently tweeted a picture of himself raising up a Confederate flag beside a memorial to Martin Luther King, Jr in Montgomery, Alabama (see above-left). His Twitter profile picture shows him dressed in the period uniform of a Confederate infantryman, smiling broadly with his arm around a black man.

And so in the wake of his call for a White Student Union, some took stern notice when Heimbach tweeted, “I am honored to announce that my hero Mr. Jared Taylor will be speaking at towson [sic] university during october [sic].” Previous emphasis is his.

Jared Taylor is one of the foremost intellectual fountainheads within the global white nationalist movement. His group American Renaissance is a “think-tank” of sorts that seeks to argue the pith values of the movement in a way that disposes of crude epithets and overtly blunt criticisms of other races. Taylor is invited to speak all over the world, recently addressing a gathering of around 800 nationalists in France. Taylor delivered his talk in fluent French, receiving a standing ovation from the crowd upon the close of his talk.

Phil Tignino

Which brings us to the very recent deletion of Phil Tignino’s staff profile from the website of anti-immigrant group ProEnglish, and the following question: did ProEnglish delete Tignino’s profile in the hopes that they could drive some superficial distance between Tignino and Heimbach?

This in mind, Tignino was present behind ProEnglish’s table this past weekend at the Values Voter Summit in Washington, DC. There, he was apparently representing the group along with Suzanne Bibby, current director of governmental relations for the group, and Robert Vandervoort, its executive director. At the time of writing, their individuals profiles remain intact on the staff page of the group’s website.

ProEnglish hired Tignino last fall, with his profile disappearing perhaps as recently as late last week. Like Heimbach, Tignino was also a YWC chapter leader. ProEnglish hired him not long after he graduated from Washington State University. While active in that chapter, Tignino participated in such events as “straight pride month,” during which his chapter sold “Straight Pride” t-shirts. It has also been alleged that he helped put together a white nationalist publication.

Vandervoort himself has a well-documented history of activism within the white nationalist movement. Most specific to this article is the high regard in which Vandervoort holds Jared Taylor. So struck by Taylor’s efforts with and guidance of American Renaissance, he personally organized a support group for that organization, the Chicagoland Friends of American Renaissance.

Robert Vandervoort (right)

Which begs another question: did ProEnglish decide to digitally efface Tignino’s staff profile to help protect Vandervoort, who in the past has been pushed to explain his former, and perhaps present, alliances?

With Taylor’s name via Heimbach cropping up in such incendiary fashion in the Maryland, Baltimore, and Beltway media outlets, is ProEnglish in an election year also trying to avoid causing concern and controversy for the politicians they work closely with?

There’s no better an example the Rep. Steve King of Iowa, who works hand-in-glove with ProEnglish, a group that avidly backs HR 997, the English-Only bill that Rep. King has championed for around a decade. King also recently invited a ProEnglish board member to testify about the pros of HR 997 before a Congressional Subcommittee, standing alongside said board member at press conference after the hearing.

This summer even, Rep. King, who is locked what many predict is a race that could unseat the long-time incumbent, even sent out a direct mail fundraising letter on behalf ProEnglish. The letter was written on his own letterhead, contained his picture and signature, and urged readers to donate sums as high as $500 to the group (more on this letter here).

So perhaps we’ve arrived at the pith—“Controversial Congressman Fund-Raises on Behalf of White Nationalist Activists” makes for a nasty headline on any given day, but especially so in an election year. It’s a headline that would certainly have Rep. King answering some uncomfortable questions.

Try as superficially as they might, ProEnglish will just simply never be able to selectively delete these portions of its bigoted self.

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