On May 5, over 80 people gathered at the Davis, California, school board meeting to stand against the the Proud Boys, a white supremacist and fascist hate group. Over the last two months, members of the Proud Boys began attending Davis school board meetings, initially to protest the district’s mask mandate, but continued to harass and threaten community members even after the mandate was modified.
The mobilization to defend public educators and public health against the fascists attracted people from across the region, and protesters held signs reading “Health, Not Hate,” “Support Teachers, Not Fascists,” and “Davis Won’t Roll with Right Wing Hate,” an allusion to the town’s many cyclists. The protest included many high school and college students and parents from the district. Labor unions representing Davis teachers, district staff, and UC Davis employees were present, as well as the Party for Socialism Liberation, Democratic Socialists of America and other organizations.
To prepare for the possibility that the Proud Boys would try to disrupt the meeting, protesters filled the seats in the school board chambers and maintained a sizable crowd outside the building. Due to the large crowd of anti-racist activists, the protest made a strong statement of unity against racism, sexism and bigotry. The Proud Boys never showed up.
Throughout the COVID pandemic, public education has been under direct attack by billionaire-backed right-wing organizations who seek to impose reactionary views and further privatization. These attacks often target school board members, and fascist groups like the Proud Boys have responded to their call. In addition to attacking school safety measures such as masking, the protests have also spread racist and anti-LGBTQ hate.
On May 5, actions in Davis showed that when public education is under attack, communities will stand up and fight back.