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Is This Who We Are?

Downtown Boise has always had a squeaky-clean feel to it. There isn’t much in the way of graffiti, and compared to other cities, the sidewalks are usually fairly clear of debris. Depending on whom you ask, that either contributes to its charm, or comes across as sickly sweet. Some people just can’t accept that a place might be tidy inside and out, which has made certain events in the City of Trees over the last few weeks so jarring.

In December, the folks at the Wassmuth Center discovered stickers bearing swastikas had been slapped around the Anne Frank Human Rights Memorial, and earlier this week, stickers bearing the eagle and fasces of the neo-Nazi group Patriot Front appeared downtown.

Lately folks have engaged in a back-and-forth over whether these ominous displays come from Boise or “outside.” I think that debate misses the point. What matters is that whoever papered over Anne Frank’s bronze diary or lampposts on Main Street with their hateful message is here now, and there can only be one response: a forceful, community-wide denunciation of hatred and bigotry.

There isn’t much in this issue, but what there is—well, it’s big. Normally on MLK Day, the steps of the Idaho State Capitol are packed with a massive celebration planned by Boise State University. For pandemic reasons, that celebration was pushed online, and after Jan. 6, when throngs of insurrectionists stormed the U.S. Capitol, Boise State pulled the plug on all of it for safety reasons.

That left Boise State activists and keynote speaker Dr. Angela Davis—yes, that Angela Davis—in the lurch. Rather than let a good revolutionary speaker go to waste, these members of the Boise State community partnered with local nonprofits to pipe Davis in virtually for a story circle, slated for Monday, Jan. 25. Get the full story on page 4.

Then, on page 5, incoming BW Intern Fay Castronova has a roundup of arts opportunities, including important info about upcoming grants deadlines. You won’t want to miss it on page 5.

—Harrison Berry, Editor

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