Photo courtesy of Flickr. Credit: Stephen Melkisethian
The Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), based in Montgomery, Alabama, is a nonprofit civil rights organization founded in 1971 and dedicated to fighting hate and bigotry, and to seeking justice for the most vulnerable members of society. Every spring, the SPLC publishes an annual hate report that looks at the number of hate groups in the country and an analysis of their activity from the year before.
This year's report comes with the following highlights:
- For a second straight year in 2019, the number of white nationalist hate groups in the movement rose to 155 – a 55 percent increase since 2017.
- Overall, the SPLC identified 940 hate groups operating across the country in 2019, a slight decline from the all-time high of 1,020 in 2018, This decline was due in part to leadership turmoil within the neo-Nazi groups.
- A sharp increase of anti-LGBTQ hate groups, which rose from 49 in 2018 to 70 last year — nearly a 43 percent spike.
- Anti-immigrant hate groups notched a small increase, from 17 in 2018 to 20 in 2019.
“Make no mistake: We have a crisis of hate and extremism in our country – and the toxic ideas propagated by these hate groups not only lead to violence but erode the very foundations of our democracy,” said Lecia Brooks, spokesperson for SPLC. “The attacks in El Paso, Texas, and Poway, California, are stark reminders of the serious threat posed by white supremacist ideology and those it motivates to act. Each of these attacks – as well as thousands of hate crimes across the country – was inspired by white supremacist propaganda.”
“Over two decades of on the ground experience in local communities across the country has shown us that effective response takes place when targeted communities and concerned residents join forces with civic and elected leaders, faith groups, educators, students and law enforcement to stand up to hate," says Patrice O’Neill, executive producer/director at Not In Our Town. "We must all make a commitment to do something to make everyone in our towns feel safe, respected and included. If each of us does our part in this perilous moment, we can stop hate together.”