Progressive Pittsburgh state rep finds sticker from white supremacist group at district office

    From left to right: Rep. Danielle Friel Otten, Rep. Sara Innamorato, and Rep. Elizabeth Fiedler listen in during a hearing on Restore PA on Monday, June 10, 2019. (Capital-Star photo by Stephen Caruso)

    Rep. Sara Innamorato, D-Allegheny, took to Twitter Thursday to share a photo of a sticker from a white supremacist organization that was posted outside her district office.

    The sticker says “Better Dead Than Red,” and it includes a link to the Patriot Front, which both the Southern Poverty Law Center and the Anti-Defamation League have classified as a hate group.

    Innamorato said she first discovered the sticker Thursday morning at her district office on Butler Street in Lawrenceville, a neighborhood in Pittsburgh’s East End that’s known for tech startups and upscale dining.

    “We don’t want to believe that the extreme groups [and] hate groups that espouse white supremacy, that they are around here. People acknowledge they exist but not here, not our neighbors,” Innamorato told the Capital-Star. “And this kinda shows that there are people here. I don’t think they are the majority, [but] it’s our responsibility to call it out.”

    The Patriot Front is a splinter group of Vanguard America, a leading group in the white supremacist Charlottesville demonstration in the summer 2017, according to the ADL.

    A manifesto posted on Patriot Front’s website describes America as having a “pan-European” identity, adding that “to be an American is to be a descendant of conquerors, pioneers, visionaries, and explorers.”

    As for a solution, the manifesto says that “the damage done to the nation will not be fixed with the approval of the dysfunctional system which remains American in name only. Democracy has failed this once great nation.” It instead advocates for “national spirit of struggle.”

    It’s not the first time stickers from Patriot Front have appeared in Lawrenceville. Last fall, Pittsburgh City Paper reported that stickers from the group were put in front of a neighborhood bar.

    City Paper also reported on stickers showing up in south Pittsburgh neighborhoods on Election Day last year.

    Innamorato, a freshman, was elected last year in her mostly urban Pittsburgh district after defeating moderate Democratic Rep. Dom Costa in a primary contest. She won while backed by the city’s Democratic Socialists of America chapter.

    Innamorato also noted a public school with a large English as a second language contingent near her office, saying she wasn’t surprised by sticker’s appearance again.

    She had already passed the incident along to a community group that’s been in touch with law enforcement over the messages.

    Correction: This article was updated at 8:36 a.m. to reflect that Innamorato ran against Dom Costa, not Paul Costa.

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