The People (And VDARE.COM) vs. The Somali Bantu Resettlement Smoothies
January 23, 2004, 04:00 AM
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VDARE.COM is more than just the site to visit for the real news about immigration!

Grassroots groups have also made use of VDARE.COM's five-year archive of expert articles about the entire spectrum of immigration issues to slug it out with the usual villains—the mainstream media, ethnic identity lobbyists and, as you will read today, Faith-Based Resettlement smoothies.

So it was with Daytona Jarman [email her] and her friends in Cayce, South Carolina.

About a year ago, Cayce, a community of 12,500 residents, was chosen by the U.S. Department of State as the destination for 120 Somali Bantus.

Needless to say, no-one bothered to consult Cayce residents.

In early meetings between Cayce citizens and the agency overseeing the Bantu arrival, the Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service, Jarman got the vibe that she was not getting the full story about the impact the Bantus—although small in number—would have on Cayce.

Rev Richard Robinson [email him], the local coordinator for the Lutherans, sugar-coated his presentations, Jarman says. At the end of the preliminary meetings, Robinson suggested the group familiarize itself with the wonderfulness ("Robinson called it a 'blessing,'" Jarman recalls) that was about to descend upon it by visiting pro-resettlement websites like www.somalibantu.com, Church World Service,  and the International Rescue Committee.

One day, Jarman did a Google search for "Somali Bantus." It led her to VDARE.COM, Thomas Allen, Brenda Walker and Sam Francis.

"Reading VDARE.COM was a real awakening for me," said Jarman. "I knew we were getting the run around but I just didn't realize how much."

Jarman absorbed all she read in VDARE.COM: the sleazy facts about the greedy Resettlement Industry and disturbing truth about the Bantu tribe.

"We learned about Lewiston, Maine, other towns and resettlement contractors. We didn't like what we heard.  Increased crime, taxes. Property devaluation.

Lower test scores in school. Contractors pocketing money and financing the project on the backs of taxpayers and churches," Jarman recounted.

For Jarman, the corker was that big-time immigration advocate Senator Sam Brownback successfully kept the Bantu out of Kansas.

"If he can do it, so can I," thought Jarman

Without hesitation, she approached another Cayce skeptic, Mayor Avery Wilkerson. Armed with the truth as detailed in VDARE.COM, Jarman and Wilkerson did what any newcomer to the immigration wars would do—took their arguments to the local press and television stations, expecting to get a fair hearing.

Jarman and Wilkerson anticipated inquisitive minds when they approached The State [Columbia] Editorial Page Editor Brad Warthem [email him] and reporter Monique Angle [email her] (mangle@thestate.com).  But instead, they got the cold shoulder. As Jarman wrote in her November 3 2003 letter to VDARE.COM, "They have always sided with the resettlement agency against our community."

Television stations were no better. Jarman appealed to WIS TV senior reporter Jack Kuenzie to cease and desist his cheerleading for the Bantus and instead interview some concerned citizens.

"The squeaky wheel gets the most grease," Kuenzie told Jarman. "And you're not squeaking enough." [Squeak to Kuenzie here jkuenzie@wistv.com]

Furious, Jarman rounded up allies to put, in her words, "intense pressure" on those trying to force the Bantus onto Cayce. Signing up were Johnny Sharpe, City Manager; Charlie McNair, Chief of Public Safety; Ken Knudson, Planning Director; Ann Malpass, a local English As A Second Language teacher, and Cathy and Sid Crim. 

"When I learned that The State refused to publish a letter from an informed VDARE.COM reader with extensive factual data about the Bantus, we were outraged. They had promised us they would print it. We demanded that the newspaper publish an Op-ed by Mayor Wilkerson," said Jarman. (This eventually worked—sort of; see The State July 13 2003, "Bantu Relocation Needed Better Information" by Avery Wilkerson; not on line).

Mayor Wilkerson tells me that by the time his editorial was published, he was determined "to fight to the bitter end" the proposal to bring Bantus to Cayce.

"I got on the phone," said Wilkerson, "to call Congressman Joe Wilson in Washington to see what he could do on our behalf. And he did plenty."

At first Wilson was told by the State Department that the Bantus were "none of his business." But Wilson kept the heat on. And citizen outrage mounted throughout the summer.

Finally, in October, the State Department caved in. The Bantus would not be coming to Cayce after all. 

Three months later, Jarman can look back on her town's triumph. Here, in her own words, is how Cayce pulled it off:

  • "We were well informed. We knew more about the Bantus and what their presence in Cayce would mean to our town than Rev. Robinson or the State Department. We're thankful to VDARE.COM for making the information available."

  • "Although we were a small group, we were well organized. And we were tireless. When we realized that The State didn't publish any of our Letters to the Editor, it told us 'technical difficulties' were to blame. From that moment on, we hand-delivered our letters. And Mayor Wilkerson personally sent five letters to the State Department. Avery is the town hero."

  • "We were thick skinned. We know that we are not racists or xenophobes. We are decent, honest, church-going people who want to preserve our quality of life. We didn't want some ill devised, money-propelled plan shoved down our throat with 'Christian Love.'"

  • "We had the support of good friends from around the country. 'We'll pray for you,' one couple wrote. Another called to say, 'Educate yourself and fight like hell.'"

  • "We were able to turn the tables on the Lutherans—especially the arrogant and disingenuous Rev. Robinson. He never gave a straight answer. Finally people who may have been leaning his way at the beginning became testy."

Concludes Jarman:

"What we found out by the time it was all over is that the word 'No' is very effective. To everyone out there who is fighting against resettlement, day labor sites, hiring halls, driver's licenses or any of the other immigration-related issues that threaten America, say "No' early and often. And stick to it."

Joe Guzzardi [email him], an instructor in English at the Lodi Adult School, has been writing a weekly newspaper column since 1988. This column is exclusive to VDARE.COM.