Secret group protesting critical race theory, masks and vaccines hold Flag Day rally in Greenwich


GREENWICH – Austin Whitsitt has come to Greenwich from Tennessee via Philadelphia, New York and a host of other major American cities where, in recent months, he has said he made it his mission to dispel what ‘he considered disinformation about vaccines, masks and the shape of the Earth.

He ended up on the lawn of Greenwich Town Hall late Monday afternoon because he had heard of a “freedom rally” while in Connecticut visiting a friend. So he, along with 50 residents of Greenwich and other nearby towns, showed up to protest COVID-19 vaccinations, masks for students and critical race theory in schools.

“The lockdown is a jail sentence, not a free country sentence,” said Whitsitt, after listing the reasons masks don’t prevent COVID-19 and how the Earth actually is flat.

Next to him was David Weiss, his friend and longtime Greenwich resident.


“A lot of people are waking up to this,” Weiss said. “I think vaccines are the cause of all illnesses. “

Weiss is a member of the Greenwich Patriots, an informal association of concerned residents of Greenwich, other towns in Fairfield County and New York City, which was formed several months ago by Jackie Homan, a parent of public school students from Greenwich.

“I’m trying to unite my community and bring people together again,” Homan said of his intention to form the group.

Until its Flag Day rally on Monday, the group was somewhat shrouded in secrecy, despite several public protests having been staged in recent weeks. It was behind the ‘Truth Truck’, a vehicle with LED lights that circled Stamford and Greenwich in May with signs warning of COVID-19 vaccines.

More recently, the group put up signs all over Greenwich that read, “Unmask our children, banish critical race theory, protect medical freedom.” The signs also urged people to attend the June 17 Education Council meeting, presumably to speak out during public comments on the issues.

Already, public comments at recent school board meetings have been filled in by a growing number of parents, including Homan. They protested against the alleged teaching of critical race theory – an academic framework for seeing history and society through a racial lens – and masking at school, as well as the use of school sites like COVID-19 vaccination clinics.

Until last week, the Greenwich Patriots had two GoGetFunding campaigns online, to buy more signs, keep the Truth Truck on the road and support other initiatives. But the group recently shut down the site, citing privacy concerns for its members.

Some in the crowd refused to speak, saying they feared reprisals from the community. Some also made it clear that they weren’t against vaccines in general, but wanted more information on mRNA vaccines – such as the COVID vaccines produced by Moderna and Pfizer – before putting their children under fire.

But many other Greenwich Patriots on Monday were eager to share their reasons for choosing to attend.

Alex Lindstrom, who is originally from Sweden but has lived in Greenwich for around 10 years, said he was there to stand up for freedom of choice. Masks should not be compulsory for children and critical race theory should not be taught in schools, he said. Greenwich Superintendent Toni Jones has repeatedly denied that ideology is taught in the city’s public schools.

The result of critical race theory, he said, is the division of children by the color of their skin.

“I think Martin Luther King Jr. was right,” Lindstrom said. “Judge people on the content of their character. “

Kristen and Rich Niemynski have a son in middle school and a daughter in Greenwich High School. Although no incidents have occurred in either of their children’s classes, Kristen Niemynski said she was alarmed by the stories of other classes in the district.

Since March, there have been allegations of an inappropriate video shown to a second-grade class, a white prejudice investigation taught to a middle school class, and inappropriate readings at the high school level. Critical Race Theory exaggerates the role race plays in society, she said, citing the election of President Barack Obama in 2008 as proof that black Americans have access to jobs in all fields.

“This concerns me,” said Kristen Niemynski. “They need to focus on academics. Ideology must remain neutral.

“They should teach love, not race,” her husband added.

But critical race theory was not their primary focus. Kristen Niemynski was holding a sign saying, “Unmask our children. They are not in danger. No compulsory vaccine. Protect medical freedom. My body, my choice.

According to Rich Niemynski, the actual risk of COVID-19, which he said he believed his family had had in the past year, is low.

“I’m in outside sales and I’ve been in and out of New Rochelle, the supposed epicenter” of the pandemic at one point, Rich Niemynski said. “I never wash my hands. I don’t like to wear a mask. I am overweight. And I’m fine.

Greenwich Police said the group did not apply for a rally permit on Friday, but said a permit is unlikely to be needed until they block traffic or function as a parade. A police officer was present on Monday and moved protesters from the sidewalk outside City Hall. But there was no further involvement of the police.

[email protected]; @ justinjpapp1; 203-842-2586


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