White nationalists recently hosted a secret convention in the Queen Anne neighborhood, an event that was infiltrated by a local historian attempting to gain more insight on regional racism. David Lewis published an article on The Stranger last week, sharing his experience as a Seattle historian getting behind the scenes of a racist event happening in the heart of a progressive city.
The Northwest Forum occurred on August 26th at the Queen Anne Masonic Lodge. Its nature was completely unbeknownst to the members or management of the Lodge, since the white nationalists had misled the rental management and claimed status as a ‘writer’s group’. According to Lewis, approximately 70 – 80 people attended the event.
After Lewis’ article was published on October 4th, the community went into a frenzy. How could this happen in this city? In this neighborhood? How could the members of the Queen Anne Masonic Lodge let this happen in their building? Do the freemasons support Neo-Nazism?
The Upper West Queen Anne Nextdoor community went into an uproar, and members of the Lodge replied to their neighbors there, as well as reaching out to The Stranger to provide their side of the story, along with a note from the Grand Lodge of Washington.
They stated that the Queen Anne Lodge and freemasons in general do not and have never supported ideas or groups of this nature. “For nearly 100 years this Lodge has stood for inclusion and fraternity and our membership is a very diverse group of races, ethnicities, religions, nationalities, and sexual orientations. We do not associate ourselves with hate groups nor will we ever.”
In complete contrast, they actively promote inclusion and protection of victims of hate. The lodge members and their third party rental management team had no idea that Neo-Nazis were meeting in their building, and if they had known, they never would have allowed them to enter the space.
In addition to lying to the Lodge’s rental management team about the real reason for the gathering and the nature of the group, the Neo-Nazis had broken into restricted, private rooms of the Lodge.
The Queen Anne Lodge has taken steps to refine their vetting process for rentals of the building, to protect against any similar future schemes to rent the space for use by nefarious groups. They will also be donating all of the funds they received from the white nationalist group to an anti-hate organization.