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Wake Up America

Latino activists plan to protest a summit by the Wake Up America Foundation this weekend at Cashman Field. The summit features militant anti-illegal immigration groups among them the Minuteman project. KNPR's Ky Plaskon Reports.

PLASKON: KDWN, a news talk station in the Plaza Hotel funds and broadcasts a locally produced and syndicated anti-illegal immigration talk show.

SOUND: Radio Show "Good evening ladies and gentlemen, wake up America.

PLASKON: Host Mark Edwards started to organize similar minded groups this year. His announcement promoting a summit says the country is being invaded by illegal aliens. The summit this weekend will feature the Minutemen Project and Colorado Congressman Tom Tancredo as well as little-known groups from all over the U-S like the America Resistance Foundation, American Border Patrol and Council on Illegal Immigration.

EDWARDS: We are trying to get people all on one page even though they all have different ways of doing things.

PLASKON: Edwards isn't counting on making this an annual event, but he hopes it will improve national networking and breath life into his monthly meetings. The event was planned 6 months in advance to take place at the Plaza Hotel. Plaza's parent company Barrick Gaming said Edwards didn't provide a deposit and so the company re-booked the convention space. Edwards says he never had to provide a deposit before.

EDWARDS: I was always told by Barrick that his door is always open. His door closed quickly. I think they have a little bit of a black eye and they are trying to mend some fences.

PLASKON: Stephanie Wilson, Director of Marketing for Barrick says it was purely a business decision to take up-front paying customers over Edward's group. She says the radio station was there long before Barrick bought the property.

WILSON: At some point we did come to realize that some of the DJs were aligned with Wake Up America and it is a little frustrating because it is pretty much the opposite view of what our corporate policy is.

PLASKON: Barrick also faced some bad press with protests that were planned against Edward's summit. Miguel Barrientos, President of the Mexican American Political Association planned the protest.

BARRIENTOS: These guys are Nazis, they are white supremacists they are KKK and they are using this border issue to get on the news and they have Tom Tancreado congressman from Colorado and the racist KKK Glen Spencer involved.

PLASKON: But Edwards takes offense when his group is labeled as racist. To diffuse that perception he says he might open the summit with a caveat.

EDWARDS: Are there any white supremacists in this group? If so I want nothing to do with you I will dissolve this organization before I embrace you.

PLASKON: Both Barrientos and Edwards agree that illegal immigration is a problem, where they disagree is whether illegal immigrants already in the U-S deserve amnesty.

Ky Plaskon, News 88-9, KNPR