News & Updates


    Posted by · March 19, 2023 8:54 AM

    SPLC - Two years ago today, eight people – six of whom were women of Asian descent – were murdered by a gunman who attacked three spas in Atlanta.

    On this second anniversary of the shootings, the Southern Poverty Law Center joins community leaders at Asian Americans Advancing Justice - Atlanta to reverently remember the lives taken in that act of hate-inspired violence and to remember that their loss is felt deeply by their families and communities.

    As we reflect on the pain and loss that continues to reverberate from that day, we remain steadfast in the pursuit of racial, economic, gender and social justice. In chorus with Advancing Justice-Atlanta, we seek safety, not surveillance; opportunity, not incarceration; and healing, not policing.

    But much work remains to be done.

    Recently updated FBI hate crime statistics show that there were 789 attacks against Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders (AAPI) in 2021, the same year the Atlanta shootings took place. That number was almost 500 more hate crimes – a 168% increase – over the 2020 figures and, by far, the highest number of reported hate crimes against AAPI community members and institutions since the FBI data collection program began in 1991.

    In the year following the attack in Atlanta, Stop AAPI Hate documented nearly 5,000 hate incidents targeting the AAPI community. The group’s data collection from March 19, 2020, to March 31, 2022, showed that female, nonbinary or LGBTQ+ individuals are often targeted for the multiple immutable characteristics they embody. At least 63% of the 11,467 incidents recorded from March 2020 to March 2022 were reported by individuals from those gender identities and sexual orientations.

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  • Neo-Nazi Groups Organizing Antisemitic 'National Day of Hate

    Posted by · March 01, 2023 9:29 AM

    Newsweek - Neo-Nazi groups across the United States are planning a national "Day of Hate" against Jewish communities on Saturday, according to antisemitism watchdogs and police documents.

    A leaked internal memo by the New York City Police Department's Intelligence and Counterterrorism Bureau, online organizers are "instructing likeminded individuals to drop banners, place stickers and flyers, or scrawl graffiti as a form of biased so-called action."

    Jewish groups and police urged Jews to remain vigilant during the Sabbath. There will be additional patrols around synagogues in New York and New Jersey.

    Researchers at the Counter Extremism Project (CEP), an international policy organization, said on Thursday that extremist groups had been promoting the day of action through Telegram posts, and identified the National Socialist Movement as one of the organizers.

    According to the Anti-Defamation League (ADL), the National Socialist Movement is the largest neo-Nazi group in the U.S., though it has experienced a decline in membership in recent years. It is currently led by Burt Colucci.

    The group was behind the recent neo-Nazi demonstration at the opening of Parade, a Broadway show about a Jewish man who was lynched, the CEP said. It stated that two regional chapters in Iowa and California, as well as a small group in New York, were planning to participate in the Day of Hate.

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  • Inside the intense pressure facing Black police chiefs across the US

    Posted by · February 09, 2023 8:59 AM

    Black police chiefs face intense pushback from officers as they press for reform and anger from citizens scarred by a history of mistreatment by police.

    USAToday - John Drake remembers disliking the police during his youth in Nashville, Tennessee. One of his earliest interactions with the Metropolitan Nashville Police Department was being falsely accused of the brutal rape of an 89-year-old woman, despite bearing little resemblance to the description of the assailant.

    Drake is now chief of that same police department. And his story is similar to those of other Black police leaders.

    Daniel Hahn, the former police chief in Sacramento, California, grew up in the city’s impoverished Oak Park neighborhood and was arrested at 16 years old. He said it was for assaulting an officer. He didn’t hate police, he said, but when he was in college, he brushed off police recruiters multiple times.

    Boston Police Commissioner Michael Cox said becoming a police officer had never seemed like a possibility to him because there were so few people of color in the department. In 1995, a few years after he joined the force in Boston, Cox was beaten by fellow officers who mistook him for a suspect, an incident that was covered up until Cox won more than $1 million in a civil rights lawsuit.

    Despite such negative encounters, all three men persevered to lead law enforcement in their hometowns.

    “My upbringing prepared me for all of it,” Hahn said. “It gave me perspective and gave me compassion. I’m in both worlds and so I can understand fully.”

    Drake and Cox agree that their racial identity informs their work as they take on the challenge of repairing police relationships with communities of color. Still, many Black police chiefs face say they intense pushback from their own officers as they press for reform, and often see anger directed at them from citizens scarred by a history of mistreatment at the hands of police — tensions again inflamed by the murder of George Floyd by police officers in Minneapolis in 2020 and subsequent nationwide protests for social justice.

    “I was supposed to solve all the world’s issues, at least the Black issues, with the snap of my finger,” said Hahn, who led the Sacramento department during the protests over the killing of Stephon Clark by police in that city in 2018. “I’d be called a coon, a sellout, Uncle Tom by the Black community. I’d be discriminated against in many different ways by non-Black communities.”

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  • California reels from back-to-back shootings that killed 18

    Posted by · January 25, 2023 10:33 AM

    Reuters - A deadly gun rampage at northern California mushroom farms likely stemmed from a workplace grievance, authorities said on Tuesday, as new details emerged about the latest of two back-to-back mass shootings that claimed 18 lives in total.

    In apparently unrelated acts of mass murder, 7 people were killed on Monday in an attack on farm workers, many of them immigrants, in the seaside town of Half Moon Bay near San Francisco while 11 people were shot to death on Saturday night at a Los Angeles-area dance hall frequented mostly by older patrons of Asian descent.

    The suspects in both attacks were men of retirement age, much older than typical perpetrators of deadly mass shootings that have become all too common in the United States.

    Authorities said the two men, Huu Can Tran, 72, and Chunli Zhao, 66, each used a semi-automatic pistol. The victims of both attacks came from immigrant communities. Tran fired on ballroom dancers celebrating the Lunar New Year in Monterey Park near Los Angeles, and Zhao sprayed bullets at farm workers of Hispanic and Asian origin 380 miles (610 km) north in Half Moon Bay.

    Tran tried to attack a second dance studio on Saturday night but was disarmed without firing a shot in a struggle with the club's operator. The next morning, he shot himself to death in the driver's seat of his getaway vehicle as police closed in.

    Zhao was arrested on Monday evening outside a sheriff's station where authorities said he had driven shortly after the Half Moon Bay shootings, apparently to surrender.

    As of Tuesday, authorities said they had yet to determine precisely what sparked either shooting. Circumstances surrounding the Half Moon Bay carnage pointed to some type of work-related disgruntlement, officials said.

    "All of the evidence we have points to this being the instance of workplace violence," San Mateo Sheriff Christina Corpus told reporters on Tuesday. She said Zhao had been employed at Mountain Mushroom Farm, one of two sites he is accused of attacking. The other, Concord Farms, is about a mile (1.6 km) away.

    That theory seemed buttressed by court records, obtained by the San Francisco Chronicle, showing that a restaurant co-worker had obtained a restraining order against Zhao after accusing Zhao of assault and death threats, the newspaper reported on Tuesday. The court order is no longer in effect.

    San Mateo County jail records showed Zhao was booked on suspicion of premeditated murder, attempted murder and firearms offenses. He was expected to be formally charged on Wednesday, when he was due to make his first court appearance in Redwood City.

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  • The Issue That’s Tearing Us Apart

    Posted by · January 11, 2023 8:27 AM - UCLA’s new Initiative to Study Hate represents a critical effort to root out what’s causing the alarming rise in hate across the country — and what we can do to stop it.

    As a scholar of Jewish history, David Myers has more than a passing interest in the mechanisms of hate.

    For years, the distinguished professor of history and founding director of the UCLA Luskin Center for History and Policy has studied antisemitism and the persistence of anti-Jewish sentiment. But he’s also looked beyond those boundaries.

    “I’ve been repeatedly struck by the seemingly endless transmission of hate toward Jews, including in places where there are no Jews,” Myers says. “What gives rise to that hate? How does it take root not just in an individual, but in a group of individuals brought together by a shared sense of history or common destiny? How important is hate as a cohesive agent for that group?”

    Such questions take on greater urgency at a time when long-simmering manifestations of hate seem to be increasingly pervasive. The U.S. Department of Justice has seen steady rises in hate crimes nationwide from year to year. News reports on any given day carry stories about white nationalist rallies, physical attacks against Asian Americans, violence against LGBTQ people, and vandalizing of Latino- or Black-owned businesses. Bombings, shootings and other acts of hate are taking place around the world.

    It all leads to the question no one seems able to tidily answer: What can we do about it?

    The seeds for UCLA’s new Initiative to Study Hate were planted about three years ago, when Myers and Chancellor Gene Block began engaging in a series of conversations in the wake of protests and student activism around outbreaks of violence in Israel and Palestine.

    “This was a source of considerable tension on campus. At various points, the chancellor called to ask, ‘What’s your sense of the temperature on campus? Do you sense that antisemitism is part of this?’” Myers says. “These happen to be very tricky questions that rest in part on how you define antisemitism. After several rounds of conversations, the chancellor asked what I thought there was to be done. I responded that what we do at UCLA is study things, so perhaps we could set up a program to study antisemitism.”

    That initial plan was soon modified. “We thought, ‘What about Islamophobia? What about anti-Black racism, which is so deeply entrenched in American society? What about anti-LGBTQ+ expression or anti-Asian hate? How could we undertake an initiative to bring together the resources of the university to study hate and exclude these cases?’” Myers recalls. “That’s really the moment at which we took a significant imaginative leap. We asked ourselves: What if we started an initiative to study hate writ large? First, we thought about hate as it takes rise in groups — and then, when we recalled new advances in brain sciences, we thought about the prospect of studying hate as it takes rise in individuals.”

    The Initiative to Study Hate was born.

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  • Proud Boys, white supremacists protest of canceled drag story time event in Ohio among several across country

    Posted by · December 10, 2022 11:40 AM

  • Twitter Blesses Extremists With Paid 'Blue Checks'

    Posted by · December 01, 2022 1:19 PM

    SPLC - Dozens of extremists on Twitter now sport the “blue check” once reserved for verified accounts, after signing up for the paid Twitter Blue service under policies instituted by the platform’s new proprietor, Elon Musk.

    Previously, verification was carried out at no cost to users in order to authenticate accounts belonging to public figures, news outlets, government agencies and reporters.

    Between Nov. 9-11, however, users were able to sign up for a paid tier of the service – Twitter Blue – which for $7.99 per month would add to their profile a “blue checkmark, just like the celebrities, companies and politicians you already follow.” Twitter prevented new signups to Twitter Blue late on Nov. 11 after a rash of impersonator accounts, including one targeting Musk’s other company, Tesla, created an impression of chaos on the site.

    The vast majority of Twitter users passed up this offer, and reports on Twitter’s internal discussions put the number of subscribers at just 140,000 of Twitter’s 450 million active users signing up. But dozens of extremists acquired blue checks during the two-day window of availability.

    Hatewatch’s investigation of extremists’ use of Twitter Blue, based in part on a third-party public list of paid blue-check accounts, found that white nationalists, anti-LGBTQ extremists and other far-right individuals and groups now sport what was once a symbol of credibility on the platform.

    The rush for blue checks is just one indication of Musk’s apparent lack of interest in policing hate speech on the social media platform he acquired for some $44 billion last month.

    Hatewatch identified extremist blue-check accounts by consulting the list of paid accounts made by software developer Travis Brown and checking these against live Twitter accounts.

    Brown has developed several tools for monitoring extremists online. He told Hatewatch in a telephone conversation that the latest version of the list shows accounts that have paid for blue checks ranked “by their centrality in far-right Twitter networks,” so that accounts with more connections with other far-right accounts receive a higher ranking in the list.

    Using this method, Hatewatch found that many white nationalists, white power activists and others committed to racist political ideologies have paid for blue checks.

    White nationalists with blue checks include fired Trump staffer and junk-news purveyor Darren Beattie; podcaster Henrik Palmgren; and Dave Reilly, who marched with the “Unite the Right” protesters in Charlottesville, Virginia, in August 2017, and has used his fake-news site, the Idaho Tribune, to mobilize the far right against such events as the Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, Pride Festival in June.

    Another white nationalist account sporting a blue check was the one associated with Antelope Hill Publishing. In June, Hatewatch identified Vincent Cucchiara, Sarah Cucchiara and Dmitri Loutsik as three of the principals of the company, which is closely aligned with the pro-Hitler National Justice Party.

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  • Stephen Miller Mails “Race-Baiting Misinformation” to Asian American Voters

    Posted by · November 17, 2022 8:23 AM

    Intercept - Asian American Voters, who could decide close elections in states like Pennsylvania, are being deluged with incendiary, misleading ads sent to their mailboxes, phones, and screens by former Trump aides, including Stephen Miller, in the closing days of the campaign.

    Leaders of the Asian American and Pacific Islander community in Pennsylvania have denounced the flood of digital ads and direct mail from Republican groups — which seek to blame Democrats for the spike in anti-Asian hate crimes since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic and cast efforts to combat anti-Black racism as a form of discrimination against white and Asian communities.

    “Asian Americans, like many other communities of color and immigrant and refugee communities have had to fight through many barriers to vote — especially misinformation,” Wei Chen, an organizer in the Chinese American community in Philadelphia said in an interview on Friday. “The ads are new; the tricks are not.”

    Chen, who co-founded the state’s Asian Pacific Islander Political Alliance, or API PA, said that mailers from Miller’s group America First Legal, falsely claiming that the Biden administration discriminates against Asian Americans, have started appearing in the Philadelphia suburbs.

    The flyers, which rely heavily on misleading headlines and text from right-wing news outlets, appeared after former Trump aides, who also work with Miller’s foundation, produced a deeply dishonest digital ad. That ad sought to blame President Joe Biden for the rise in racist attacks on Asian Americans, which first spiked in March 2020 when then-President Donald Trump started calling Covid-19 “the Chinese virus” and “the kung flu.”

    The flyers from Miller’s group have been mailed to Asian American households in other states too, but the effort seems particularly intense in Pennsylvania, where more than 250,000 Asian Americans are eligible to vote, and turnout among the heavily Democratic community spiked to over 75 percent in 2020. Asian Americans are the fastest-growing demographic in the United States and make up 45 percent of newly naturalized citizens in Pennsylvania, according to data from Chen’s group.

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  • Black Americans Have a Clear Vision for Reducing Racism but Little Hope It Will Happen

    Posted by · November 08, 2022 8:56 AM

    Pew - More than a year after the murder of George Floyd and the national protests, debate and political promises that ensued, 65% of Black Americans say the increased national attention on racial inequality has not led to changes that improved their lives. And 44% say equality for Black people in the United States is not likely to be achieved, according to newly released findings from an October 2021 survey of Black Americans by Pew Research Center.

    This is somewhat of a reversal in views from September 2020, when half of Black adults said the increased national focus on issues of race would lead to major policy changes to address racial inequality in the country and 56% expected changes that would make their lives better.

    At the same time, many Black Americans are concerned about racial discrimination and its impact. Roughly eight-in-ten say they have personally experienced discrimination because of their race or ethnicity (79%), and most also say discrimination is the main reason many Black people cannot get ahead (68%).  

    Even so, Black Americans have a clear vision for how to achieve change when it comes to racial inequality. This includes support for significant reforms to or complete overhauls of several U.S. institutions to ensure fair treatment, particularly the criminal justice system; political engagement, primarily in the form of voting; support for Black businesses to advance Black communities; and reparations in the forms of educational, business and homeownership assistance. Yet alongside their assessments of inequality and ideas about progress exists pessimism about whether U.S. society and its institutions will change in ways that would reduce racism.

    These findings emerge from an extensive Pew Research Center survey of 3,912 Black Americans conducted online Oct. 4-17, 2021. The survey explores how Black Americans assess their position in U.S. society and their ideas about social change. Overall, Black Americans are clear on what they think the problems are facing the country and how to remedy them. However, they are skeptical that meaningful changes will take place in their lifetime.

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  • This is what white supremacy looks like in 2022

    Posted by · November 03, 2022 8:53 AM

    Fast Company - In the past several weeks, Kanye West—or Ye, as he is now known—has come under fire for anti-Semitic remarks released on his social media as well as in a string of news interviews. Despite the indignant cries of Kanye West fans and apologists, who cite his mental illness as an excuse for this behavior, hate groups like the anti-Semitic Goyim Defense League were quick to capitalize on the massive social media reach of the musician and parade their hate on- and offline.

    The signs in the image above hung over the 405 freeway in Los Angeles, a typically liberal and progressive city. It sent shockwaves through the country as yet another reminder that white supremacy is alive and well in pockets of the country. But it’s also a reminder to me that “white supremacy,” as an ideology, has a much longer and more complex history than the blatantly racist pageantry of hate groups would suggest.

    What is white supremacy?

    White supremacy is a term that tends to offend people’s sensibilities much more immediately than the word racism. That’s because white supremacy today presents itself to the American consciousness in offensive, alienating forms. The KKK, hate crimes, neo-Nazis, and now the Goyim Defense League in the photo above—these are the proud examples of white supremacy in the 20th and 21st centuries. Most people condemn them unequivocally, and they have become a sort of sinister “other,” against which non-racist people may define themselves.

    The truth is, white supremacy has a much longer, much uglier history than contemporary white supremacists would suggest. As a pseudoscientific theory of race, a justification for worldwide colonialism and imperialism, and eventually an explicit call to mass genocide, white supremacy has been responsible for some of the most heinous crimes against humanity in modern history.

    As a result, it leaves behind an ugly legacy that stretches across much of our society, including law, politics, economic policy, education, arts and culture, and even language. White supremacists may have diminished in number, but the historical effects of white supremacy have a much longer tail.


    White supremacy today

    The history of white supremacy runs long and deep. And even though the ideas behind it are no longer socially acceptable, it still guides racially biased thinking in almost every field of human experience. The strength of its influence on earlier periods in history is reflected in the ubiquity of its legacy today.

    Cultural white supremacy

    A few weeks ago, I wrote about the cultural white supremacy implicit in the backlash against a Black actress playing the live-action Little Mermaid in 2023: Halle Bailey. To me this is a subtle example of white supremacist gatekeeping when it comes to arts and culture. Even fictional characters have to adhere to our very real sense of racial hierarchy. But in this domain, you could also think about our Eurocentric approach to history, literature, and art in schools and museums, which inevitably privilege Western art. Even tokenism—the practice of symbolically adding characters of color into works of art as a superficial nod to racial equality—could be viewed as an aftereffect of white supremacy.I’ve also written about cultural appropriation in the past—to me, the practice of borrowing or stealing from other cultures’ artistic output for profit is a perfect example of white supremacist imperialism still in action. Western (and particularly American) culture remains globally dominant: to assimilate other cultures into its systems of power without due credit or profit-sharing is a practice steeped in white supremacist ideology.

    The economics of white supremacy

    As an ideology that privileges whiteness and white people’s well-being, white supremacy has also had economic effects on our society. The old practice of “redlining” is a classic example: Mortgage lenders used to (literally) outline African American neighborhoods in red and mark them as higher risk. These neighborhoods did not receive comparable benefits from the various housing and mortgage programs of the New Deal in the 1930s. As a result, Black neighborhoods stayed Black, relatively poor, and unable to access good credit. Discriminatory lending of this kind was one of the major issues addressed by Civil Rights legislation in the 1960s, and it originates in a white supremacist logic of economic exclusion.I myself have experienced this as a Black founder; just this past quarter, Black founders received a paltry $187 million in funding (0.43% of the $43 billion deployed in Q3 2022). There are many reasons behind this kind of inequity, but most of them are rooted in disparities of access to capital, education, wealth, and entrepreneurship—most of which trace their roots back to white supremacist ideas as well. Perhaps the most significant of these is the continued wealth and income inequality between Black and white people, which has barely changed since the 1950s, when white supremacy supposedly came to an end.

    White supremacy in politics and law

    From a legal perspective, white supremacy was coded into Jim Crow laws almost as soon as the Civil War ended. These laws created a different America for Black people, in which it was far easier to be criminalized and much harder to gain wealth or access education. Segregation ended formally with the legal victories of the Civil Rights movement in the 1960s, but it continues in schools and housing up to the present day in more covert forms. The idea that Black and white people cannot share space is obviously a direct corollary of the white supremacist belief that white people are superior.

    Politically, white supremacy has shown up more, and more overtly, since the growth of the Tea Party and its conversion into Trump’s presidential base of support. “Make America Great Again” is only the most memorable example. Trump calling COVID-19 the “Chinese” virus was equally white supremacist—not just because it’s a racist taunt, but because it designates Covid-19 as the creation of a foreign, hostile power rather than a globally shared public health crisis. The implication, of course, is that America—white America—was blameless in its response to COVID-19; all culpability lies with the unknown, but probably malicious, Chinese “Other.”

    by Kathleen Davis for Fast Company

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