Editor's note: Author Charles Murray has repeatedly rejected characterizations that he is a white supremacist. We've updated the story to make that clear.
A group that protested an Idaho appearance by U.S. House Speaker Paul Ryan earlier this week is planning a different kind of demonstration against a speech by a controversial author this weekend.
Members of the progressive coalition United Vision for Idaho stood with signs outside Zions Bank in Boise on Tuesday to protest Speaker Paul Ryan’s fundraiser lunch. UVI Executive Director Adrienne Evans says that protest was against an agenda backed by President Donald Trump and Ryan that would strip away benefits including Medicaid, Medicare and social security.
Evans is asking supporters to gather again to counter speaker Charles Murray. The author of “The Bell Curve” is the keynote speaker at an event by the Idaho Freedom Foundation. He’s also one of the authors listed on Boise State University’s Campus Read Program this year.
Evans characterizes Murray as a white supremacist, a label Murray has denied over the years. She says Idahoans need to confront what she calls hate speech. But she notes UVI’s event on Saturday is not a protest.
“So rather than protesting the actual event where Charles Murray is speaking, we’re going to be sending a more powerful message about what we actually do stand for,” says Evans.
Calling it a “counter action,” Evans says community leaders will speak and hold discussions at the family friendly event. There will be live music and a storytelling tent for kids. Instead of protesting, attendees will be asked to buy books that confront discrimination, which will be donated to rural Idaho schools.
“When we come together and we hear each other and we’re able to listen and deepen our understanding, that’s how we move forward as a community, so that’s really what this event is geared toward,” Evans says.
UVI’s event starts at noon Saturday at The Goodnessland restaurant in Boise.
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