2005-06-03 WOOD-TV 8 "'White Voices of America' holds controversial picnic"

"White Voices of America" holds controversial picnic

A long-publicized controversial event is taking place Saturday in Spring Lake.

"White Voices of America" is holding a picnic at the city's Central Park.

Last month, the organization put up flyers in Grand Haven and Saugatuck advertising the "whites-only" event. That angered many people in the community.

The group says its goal is to protect the rights of white people, much like the NAACP does for African Americans.

Saturday's event hopes to recruit new members and discuss the direction of the organization.

Thursday, community leaders came out against the organization.

The Lakeshore Ethnic Diversity Alliance held a forum to discuss cultural diversity and the need for an all-inclusive community.

Members of White Voices of America attended the meeting to explain they are not against people of color, but there were some at the event that compare the birth of White Voices of America to the rise of the Ku Klux Klan.

"Be advised folks, that at once upon a time, they too passed themselves off as just a community organization that wanted to get together and discuss things," said Hope College Professor Dr. Fred Johnson.

The Lakeshore Ethnic Diversity Alliance put the forum together shortly after the White Voices flyers announcing Saturday's picnic were found.