Democratic politician Ruqaiyah “Kiah” Morris was at the end of a press conference where she shared her story on how a White supremacist forced her to resign from her position in Vermont’s House of Representatives. As the floor opened up for questions, Max Misch, a man responsible for sending her racist and violent messages during her time in office, walked in to deliver his harassment in person.
Misch was wearing a shirt with a large illustration Pepe The Frog — a symbol often used by the alt-right. Upon his entrance at Beth El Synagogue in Morris’s hometown of Bennington, attendees can be heard shouting “No, no, no.” According to the Burlington Free Press, they also built a wall with their bodies and articles of clothing to shield Morris from seeing Misch.
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The press conference that was organized by Vermont Attorney General T.J. Donovan on Monday was intended to serve as an official communication that charges would not be brought against harassers like Misch after investigating the complaints brought to them by Rep. Morris.
“The online communications that were sent to Ms. Morris by Max Misch and others were clearly racist and extremely offensive,” said Donovan at the news conference that was streamed live on Facebook. “However, the First Amendment does not make speech sanctionable merely because its content is objectionable.”
During the nearly hour and a half long event, Morris told the story of her ancestors who were nearly killed by the Ku Klux Klan and spoke eloquently of the pain her family endured during the time she held public office.
“All of the accounts of what happened to me and my family over the years are enormous in scale and historically rooted in a legacy of white supremacy, misogyny and inequity,” Morris said.
She noted that all of the threats and vile attacks against her were reported to law enforcement, but said, “In the end, we were told there was nothing to be done.”
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