When Annalia Hopper saw the flyer, she screamed.
An image of a Ku Klux Klan member pointed out from the paper at the 22-year-old IU student, a reference to the Uncle Sam recruiting poster. In bold letters, it read: “Honorable Sacred Knights of the Ku Klux Klan Neighborhood Watch.”
“Do your part to keep white communities safe and report all suspicious activity!” the flyer read. “You can sleep tonight knowing the Klan is awake!”
The flyer was one of multiple found Monday morning in the driveways and parking lots of Bloomington residences, a discovery that has left many feeling disturbed and unsafe.
The flyer Hopper saw was found on North Dunn Street, where Hopper lives in an apartment building with her 21-year-old boyfriend Dylan Miller. Both Hopper and Miller said they are white.
“It’s just a terrible, terrible, terrible thing,” Hopper said.
Miller walked out to his car at 7 a.m. to get a pair of shoes for work. He saw a zip-close bag containing two Tootsie Pop lollipops and a flyer next to the car, but didn’t see what the flyer said until he got another look. After bringing it inside and showing Hopper, he got dressed and walked around the neighborhood looking for more before going into work.
“It literally makes me want to cry,” he said.
A phone number and an email were listed at the bottom of the flyer. Calling the number leads to the pre-recorded recruitment voice message for the Honorable Sacred Knights of the Ku Klux Klan, which offers information on how to join.
“If it ain’t white, it ain’t right,” the voice message ends. “White power.”
Some have questioned whether or not the flyers are real, but a KKK member confirmed to the Indiana Daily Student they were genuine.
Nicole Noble, the Imperial Klokan/Chief Investigator for the Honorable Sacred Knights of Indiana, said she didn’t know who exactly distributed the flyers but confirmed they were KKK materials.
“All that flyer says is to report suspicious activity,” Noble said over text. “What’s the issue?”
The Bloomington Police Department is currently investigating the flyers, and a City of Bloomington press release urges residents to report any more flyers by calling the BPD office number at (812) 339-4477.
“Hate has no place in Bloomington, and public safety is a top concern,” said Mayor John Hamilton in the release. “Residents who find additional, similar material or have any information about it should contact our police department.”
Miller said when he initially called BPD to report the flyer, a BPD office employee laughed at him. She reportedly said the flyers weren't illegal, so the police weren’t going to do anything about it.
BPD declined to comment, pending an investigation. Miller and Hopper said they did speak to police again later, after multiple reports of the flyers had garnered attention.
Bloomington resident Brant Moriarity said two families on his street on the south side found the flyers in zip-close bags containing candy in their driveways this morning. The families, who have contacted police but are not going public at this time, both have adopted black children.
“It makes me think they were being watched,” he said. “It’s quite disturbing.”
The flyer was posted to Facebook earlier today by No Space For Hate Bloomington, an organization denouncing and protesting hatred and white supremacy. Abby Ang, an IU Ph.D. student and lead organizer of the group, said August is recruitment season for the KKK as students return for the semester.
However, Ang said tensions this summer surrounding allegations of white supremacy against farmers’ market vendor Schooner Creek Farm and national concerns have led to a heightened response.
“Because of the white supremacist shooting in El Paso this weekend and because of the community tension around the farmer’s market, people are very much alert to increases of white supremacy happening,” she said. “Everyone is justifiably nervous. We don’t want something like Charlottesville or that kind of shooting to happen here.”
Ang said No Space for Hate Bloomington is discussing distributing their own flyers with positive, inclusive messages in response.
After seeing the flyer this morning, Hopper said she had a panic attack and has been anxious all day. Miller said he was distracted at his job today thinking about the flyer, unable to function.
When he got off of work, Miller rode his bike around town looking for more flyers to get rid of, and some of his friends did the same. He said he wants to do anything he can to counter a KKK presence in Bloomington.
“This can’t happen,” Miller said. “In this day and age, it doesn’t need to happen. We don’t even feel safe.”
Additional reporting for this story was done by Ellen Hine.