News & Updates

  • Neo-Nazis terrorize Jewish community by brandishing swastika flags outside Georgia synagogue

    Posted by · June 28, 2023 10:29 AM

    Independent - A neo-Nazi group gathered outside a synagogue in Georgia and brandished swastikas during its Shabbat service on Saturday.

    Shocking pictures and videos showed around a dozen people waving the hate symbols outside the Chabad of Cobb synagogue in East Cobb, the non-profit Stop Antisemitism reported.

    Jon Minadeo II, leader of the so-called Goyim Defense League, was arrested for disorderly conduct and public disturbance the day before at a synagogue in Macon, Georgia, local station WMAZ reported.

    Members of Chabad of Cobb told WMAZ that the neo-Nazis were out there for a few hours. Videos posted online showed the group holding swastika flags and signs that read: “Every Single Aspect of Abortion is Jewish” as local residents could be heard shouting at them to “go home”.

    Officers from the Cobb Police Department responded to the scene but did not dispel the rally. Freedom of speech, even hate speech, is generally protected by the First Amendment of the US Constitution — although true threats and harassment are not. Officers stood between the two groups.

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  • Why is the GOP escalating attacks on trans rights? Experts say the goal is to make sure evangelicals vote

    Posted by · June 08, 2023 11:18 AM

    PBS - 

    When it came down to it, Rick Colby called on his spirituality in deciding how to support his transgender child, Ashton.

    It wasn’t a guarantee. Colby had dedicated his life to Republican politics, starting in 1984 on the field campaign to reelect Ronald Reagan. Reagan and the Republican Party with him and in the decades following would push anti-LGBTQ+ policies. But Colby’s Methodist church by comparison preached inclusivity and empathy, a message that conflicted with what he was hearing from Republicans.

    Colby went with Ashton to his first endocrinologist appointment. He held Ashton’s hand the following year as Ashton awoke from gender-affirming top surgery.

    “You know, as a parent, you want to protect your child from the nastiness of the world,” Colby said. “I was so relieved as a parent that he was being accepted. And it was just wonderful.”

    Survey after survey show that Americans support LGBTQ+ equality, and Republicans are no exception. Still, Republican-dominated states have seen a blitz of anti-LGBTQ+ legislation since 2020, particularly anti-transgender bills. That dissonance — between the reality of the electorate and the priorities of Republican lawmakers — may seem counterintuitive to many.

    Randall Balmer, a Dartmouth professor who was raised evangelical, has spent much of his career researching those kinds of contradictions. His book, “Bad Faith: Race and the Rise of Religious Right” traces the rise of the evangelical voting bloc from nonexistent in the 1960s to the single most important interest group for any Republican candidate in the 1980s. In a conversation with The 19th, Balmer said that rise was driving Republican support for anti-trans legislation now.

    “They have an interest in keeping the base riled up about one thing or another, and when one issue fades, as with same-sex relationships and same-sex marriage, they’ve got to find something else,” Balmer said. “It’s almost frantic.”

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  • Why Some Nonwhite Americans Espouse Right-Wing Extremism

    Posted by · May 31, 2023 8:28 AM

    VOA - It is a growing trend that defies conventional wisdom: Some people of color are joining forces with groups that openly champion right-wing causes, including white supremacy and racism.

    Spurred by shared resentments and hatreds, American Latinos, Blacks and other nonwhites are swelling the ranks of some of America’s right-wing groups in rising numbers.

    The recent mass killing in Texas shone a light on the phenomenon, reigniting a debate about what draws nonwhites to far-right militancy and why extremist groups embrace them.

    Mauricio Garcia, the 33-year-old gunman who killed eight people in Allen, Texas, on May 6, was a Latino who allegedly harbored white supremacist views.

    Police killed Garcia, but he left behind a trove of social media posts that showed his affinity for neo-Nazism and white supremacy.

    In one post, he showed pictures of Nazis and neo-Nazis with swastika flags, calling them “my type of people.” In another, he referred to himself as “a full-blown white supremacist.”

    “We’re going to make America white again,” he bragged in yet another post.

    What led a Latino to embrace white supremacist views? Garcia offered some clues: Referring to his “self-loathing phase,” he ranted against “loser Hispanics” and admitted he once wished he were white “because my own race treats me like [expletive].”

    “This goes to the root of the power of white supremacy: the wish to identify with the racial category that you think is most powerful in the society that you live in,” said Heidi Beirich, a prominent extremism researcher and co-founder of the Global Project Against Hate and Extremism.

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  • Bystanders booed as the far-right Patriot Front staged a rally in Washington DC to 'reclaim America'

    Posted by · May 17, 2023 8:33 AM

    BusinessInsider - More than a hundred members of a white supremacist group marched in downtown Washington, DC on Saturday evening while chanting "reclaim America," reports say.

    Videos show members of Patriot Front outside the Lincoln Memorial wearing matching outfits of khaki pants, dark blue jackets, and baseball caps.

    Some carried flags, shields, and photographs show one banner reading "victory or death."

    Their faces were obscured mainly by sunglasses and white coverings around their noses and mouths.

    The group's leader Thomas Rousseau gave a speech near the Capitol reflecting pool while bystanders booed, The Daily Beast said.

    "Our demonstrations are an exhibition of our unified capability to organize, to show our strength," Rousseau said, according to the outlet.

    "Not as brawlers or public nuisances, but as men capable of illustrating a message and seeking an America that more closely resembles the interests of its true people."

    On Saturday, police closely monitored the scene in case of violence, but the march ended without incident, The Daily Beast reported.

    At the end of the protest, two dozen members were stranded as all could not fit in a U-Haul van rented to transport them to and from the rally, The Daily Beast said.

    Many waited by the side of the road for hours as the vehicle made several trips, the outlet said. 

    According to The Anti-Defamation League, Patriot Front members believe that their ancestors conquered America and bequeathed it.

    The group espouses "racism, anti-Semitism, and intolerance under the guise of preserving the ethnic and cultural origins of their European ancestors," the organization said.

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  • Arrest made in SF Muni egg hate crime attack caught on video

    Posted by · May 10, 2023 9:08 AM

    KRON4 - An arrest has now been made in what authorities investigated the Feb. 16 incident that happened around 9:30 a.m. as a hate crime. Joseph Benjamin, 44, was arrested last Friday, the San Francisco Police Department announced Thursday in a press release.

    One of the victims was Michelle Young. “So he said stupid Chinese ****h and then I believe he repeated himself and we didn’t respond,” Young, who was visiting San Francisco, told KRON4.

    According to SFPD, Benjamin is believed to have been involved in at least two more incidents on Muni — making it a total of three he is linked to.

    Another Muni rider says Benjamin threw food at her back last December. The victim also claims the suspect made derogatory comments about her ethnicity and gender.

    SFPD also reported on Feb. 13 a Muni driver was assaulted. The driver told police one of his passengers was spit on and used “threatening language,” the press release said. The driver, an Asian man, told the suspect to leave the bus, and the suspect spewed hateful language and spit on him before fleeing the scene.

    Benjamin was arrested over two months later in the Tenderloin on the 500 block of Jones Street. He was booked into San Francisco County Jail on two counts of battery committed against a transportation worker or passenger and two counts of hate crime– all misdemeanors.

    Benjamin is also charged with three counts of violation of individuals’ civil rights.

    As of Thursday afternoon, Benjamin is out of custody following an arrangement earlier that day, according to SF District Attorney Brooke Jenkins. Benjamin is required to stay away from the victims and the 38 and 38R Muni bus lines.

    Jenkins said the suspect faces up to seven years in state prison if convicted of all charges.

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  • Hate crimes will spike around the 2024 presidential election, civil rights group warns

    Posted by · April 26, 2023 8:58 AM

    USAToday - FBI data shows an "unmistakable pattern" of reported hate crimes spiking during presidential elections, according to a new report.

    Data going back to 2008 reveals increases in hate crimes against racial groups around general elections, according to the report from the Leadership Conference Education Fund, a national civil rights group.

    "What it shows is an extremely disturbing and sadly not so surprising trend," said the fund's CEO, Maya Wiley.

    Since 2015, hate crimes have increased at a staggering rate of more than 80%, the report found.

    The data also showed 2021 had the highest number of reported hate crimes on record since the FBI began publishing data in 1991.

    Authors of the report issue a stark warning that "there are few – if any – signs that tensions will lessen."

    The report says that in 2023, the U.S. is "rife with opportunities" for increased hate crimes to continue into the 2024 election, which will see Donald Trump run for president again.

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  • A CRITICAL WAY TO COUNTER ANTI-ASIAN HATE

    Posted by · April 12, 2023 11:20 AM

    Asian American, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander history in schools would be a game changer.

    By Kenny Nguyen, Director of Youth Programs, Education Policy Center

    My family came to the United States as refugees from Vietnam. In school, the only time I was taught about my history was during a lesson about the Vietnam War. During this segment — as one of the few Asian students in my school and the only Vietnamese person in my class — I felt everyone’s eyes focusing on me. I can’t recall what exactly was being said about the war, but it was maybe only the second time anything related to Asian American history was taught in my class.  

    During the lesson, my peers didn’t truly get a sense of me or my family’s history and, even worse, neither did I. Sadly, I’m one of many millions of students in the United States who barely see themselves reflected in the classroom.  

    Thankfully, things are starting to change. In New York City, Asian American and Pacific Islander curriculum — which was taught in about a dozen schools last fall — will expand across the public school system in 2024. This September, the City will pilot a Black studies curriculum in social studies in a handful of classrooms before expanding across all grades. There is momentum to ensure that students see themselves in curricula, something the younger version of myself would have greatly appreciated.  

    This momentum is critical because the Asian American, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander (AANHPI) community is the fastest-growing ethnic group in the United States. There are 20.6 million people who identify as Asian, Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander alone (not in combination with another race), making up six percent of the nation’s population, according to the 2020 Census. We make up at least 10 percent of the New York State population. Yet, our state’s social studies standards only scratch the surface of AANHPI history.

    There is legislation at the state level – sponsored by Senator John Liu and Assembly Member Grace Lee – that seeks to change that. At a time when more than 40 states have introduced or passed laws to restrict how issues of race and racism are taught, New York should join Illinois, Connecticut, and New Jersey to mandate inclusive history and social studies. 

    The legislation would require public K-12 schools to provide instruction on AANHPI history and civic impact. Specifically, it would highlight the history of the diaspora of the AANHPI community in New York and the Northeast; the movement and policies that brought AANHPI communities to the United States; the contributions made by the AANHPI community in government, the arts, humanities, science, and the economic, cultural, social, and political development of the United States; and the structures and historical events that have limited or harmed the AANHPI community.

    Importantly, the curriculum would also cover the bond between the AANHPI community and other historically marginalized communities, especially as it pertains to the civil rights movement.

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  • Majority of Americans reject anti-trans bills, but support for this restriction is rising

    Posted by · March 29, 2023 8:36 AM

    PBS - A majority of Americans oppose restrictions on LGBTQ+ people, yet the latest PBS NewsHour/NPR/Marist poll shows support for such laws is growing as many Republican state and local lawmakers pursue hundreds of bills targeting LGBTQ+ rights around the country.

    Forty-three percent of Americans now say they support laws that criminalize the act of providing gender-transition-related medical care to minors, according to the latest poll, marking a 15-percentage point increase since April 2021. About half of Americans — 54 percent — say they oppose such laws.

    “It’s promising to see a majority of Americans oppose these dangerous, misguided bills targeting the LGBTQ community, particularly transgender young people, at a time when we’re witnessing nonstop anti-trans political attacks and irresponsible news coverage across both mainstream and right-wing outlets,” said Jonah DeChants, senior research scientist at The Trevor Project, in a written statement to the PBS NewsHour.

    So far in this year’s legislative session, state lawmakers have introduced 434 bills that restrict fundamentals like health care, education and the freedom of expression for LGBTQ+ people, and are concentrated across Southern states, according to analysis from the American Civil Liberties Union. Most bills have advanced to committee and nearly two dozen have passed into law. That overall tally is up from last year, according to the Human Rights Campaign, when 315 bills were introduced.

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  • CENTERING COMMUNITY HEALING ON SECOND ANNIVERSARY OF ATLANTA SPA SHOOTINGS

    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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