News & Updates

  • It is happening here: Massachusetts has a growing neo-Nazi movement

    Posted by · May 19, 2022 8:24 AM

    GBH - It was a rare look inside the strategic planning of an upstart neo-Nazi movement.

    In a video posted last summer on social media, Chris Hood, 23, the founder of the Nationalist Social Club - 131, a New England white nationalist collective, gave instructions to a 22-year-old UMass Lowell student named Liam MacNeil.

    “If you’re in college you should be getting together with all the other guys on campus that think like you, circling all the frat parties and bullying the chicks that race mix and start dominating the party and take over the campus,” Hood said. “Same policy as out here [the street] but just do it on campus.”

    “We can do that,” MacNeil responded. “Everyone knows where I am now, but they’re going to have to physically remove me. You know, they’re going to have to kick me out.”

    Hood and MacNeil, now 23, are part of a tiny but growing group of white nationalists who have begun publicly announcing their presence across New England through a rising wave of racist and antisemitic demonstrations, attacks and vandalism. The groups appear to have escalated their activities in the wake of the Jan. 6, 2021, attempted insurrection in the U.S. Capitol, where members of these groups were present. It’s a rise that worries local law enforcement and community members, spurring them to respond.

    In the wake of this weekend’s racially motivated murders in Buffalo — the latest among a series of hate-inspired mass shootings — experts on extremism say there is good reason to be concerned about the spread of neo-Nazism, racism and white ethnonationalism in New England.

    Hate sprouts locally

    In Massachusetts, the Anti-Defamation League counted 388 reported hate, extremism, antisemitism and terror incidents in 2021. Five years earlier, it tallied only 123 reported incidents. Much of this activity is graffiti or leafleting or other acts of racist propaganda. But some of it is violence.

    Investigators last summer found antisemitic and racist writings taken from the internet in the home of Nathan Allen after he murdered two Black people in Winthrop.

    In April 2020, John Michael Rathbun, now 38, was charged in federal court in Springfield with trying to blow up a Jewish assisted-living residence with a five-gallon gas canister. The federal government connected Rathbun to an unspecified white supremacist organization, and said that a user posted a message on one of the group’s social media channels suggesting an attack on “that jew nursing home in longmeadow massachusetts.” Rathbun of East Longmeadow was convicted on two federal arson charges and sentenced to five years in prison.

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  • Mass shooting seen as symbol of spread of white supremacist ideology

    Posted by · May 16, 2022 10:16 AM

    Buffalo News - A racially motivated hate crime spilled the blood of 13 people, leaving 10 of them dead, in Buffalo on Saturday, authorities said.

    "This was pure evil: a straight-up racially motivated hate crime from somebody outside our community, outside of the city of good neighbors," Erie County Sheriff John Garcia said.

    Ten people were gunned down at a Buffalo supermarket Saturday in a horrifying mass shooting that officials were quick to label as "pure evil" and racially motivated. The shooting stunned a community basking in a warm May afternoon, with shoppers filling the Tops in a predominantly Black neighborhood at 1275 Jefferson Ave. 

    And not surprisingly, then, the mass murder in Buffalo's African-American community  and the 18-year-old accused of committing it  quickly came to be seen as something even larger than an unprecedented Buffalo tragedy. They came to be seen by those who study white supremacy as symbols of a growing racist ideology that explodes in gunfire in seemingly random events connected by only hatred and bloodshed.

    The accused shooter, Payton S. Gendron, 18, of Conklin, near Binghamton, was arraigned on a murder charge Saturday, and sources said he is also likely to face federal hate crime charges, which could, under federal law, mean Gendron could spend his life in a federal penitentiary. The federal hate crime statute allows suspects to be charged in federal court when their motive involves race, religion or any of several other defining characteristics.

    Gendron appears to have left evidence for any hate crime charge by publishing a 180-page manifesto spelling out his white supremacist philosophy. Even before law enforcement confirmed the authenticity of the manifesto, national experts in white supremacism and racism were poring over its pages for evidence.

    "The manifesto is 180 pages long, but dozens of pages are nothing more than anti-Black and anti-Semitic memes and statistics and almost 100 pages contain mind-numbingly boring info about every piece of equipment he considered taking on his shooting spree," tweeted J.J. MacNabb, a fellow at George Washington University's program on extremism.

    After reviewing the manifesto, MacNabb also tweeted: "The shooter chose his target because it has a higher percentage of black Americans than other nearby areas."

    The Anti-Defamation League said the manifesto indicated that the suspect believes in the "great replacement theory," a white supremacist conspiracy theory that alleges an attempt to replace White Americans with immigrants and people of color. Other adherents of the great replacement theory have been charged in mass murders at a Pittsburgh synagogue, an El Paso, Texas, Walmart and two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand.

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  • East Meets West Exhibit Opening Reception - Sunday May 15th 4:00pm

    Posted by · May 12, 2022 8:39 AM

    JCC Los Gatos in partnership with Goldbridge Institute invites you to the East Meets West Exhibit Opening Reception in honor of Jewish American and Asian American/Pacific Islander Month


  • Poll: Distrust of Asian Americans is rising

    Posted by · May 09, 2022 8:29 AM

    Axios - Americans continue to wrongly blame people of Asian descent for the coronavirus, and a greater percentage are harboring distrust of their loyalties, according to a new report out this morning.

    Why it matters: Asian Americans, who make up 7% of the U.S. population, feel increasingly isolated and discriminated against amid sustained anti-Asian violence and increasing anti-China political rhetoric.

    State of play: 21% of U.S. adults now say Asian Americans are at least partly responsible for COVID — up from 11% in 2021.

    • That's according to a study from the nonprofit Leading Asian Americans to Unite for Change (LAAUNCH) and The Asian American Foundation (TAAF).
    • 33% said they believe "Asian Americans are more loyal to their country of origin than to the United States"— up from 20% last year.
    • Among Asian American respondents, only 29% said they "completely agree" that they feel they belong and are accepted in the U.S., which was the lowest of all racial groups.
    • Meanwhile, 71% say they are discriminated against in the U.S. today.

    What they’re saying: The increase in distrust of Asian Americans is in part driven by greater use of anti-China rhetoric on both sides of the aisle, TAAF CEO and LAAUNCH co-founder Norman Chen said.

    • "On the surface, we thought it was COVID and Trump. Deeper down we know it's related to the model minority myth and perpetual foreigner stereotypes. But even deeper, it really [shows] the embedded systemic racism in this country against Asian Americans."
    • "From the Chinese Exclusion Act of the 1800s to the internment camps of the 1940s to the murder of Vincent Chin in the 80s, this has always been a part of the fabric of the United States," Eric Toda, who serves on the LAAUNCH board and TAAF advisory council, told Axios Today.

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  • Anti-Semitism: Dramatic rise in 2021

    Posted by · May 02, 2022 8:35 AM

    BBC - The number of anti-Semitic incidents around the world dramatically increased last year, a study by Tel Aviv University has found.

    The report identifies the US, Canada, the UK, Germany and Australia as among countries where there was a sharp rise.

    This was fuelled by radical left- and right-wing political movements and incitement on social media, it says.

    The report's release coincides with Israel's Holocaust Remembrance Day, which begins on Wednesday night.

    Known in Israel as Yom HaShoah, the day commemorates the six million Jews murdered by Nazi Germany across Europe during World War Two.

    The Anti-Semitism Worldwide Report 2021, by the Center for the Study of Contemporary European Jewry at Tel Aviv University's Faculty of Humanities, is based on the analysis of dozens of studies from around the world, as well as information from law enforcement bodies, media and and Jewish organisations.

    It says that in 2021 there was "a significant increase in various types of anti-Semitic incidents in most countries with large Jewish populations".

    It found that:

    • In the US, which has the largest Jewish population outside of Israel, the number of anti-Jewish hate crimes recorded in both New York and Los Angeles were almost twice that of the previous year
    • In France, the number of recorded anti-Semitic incidents increased by almost 75% compared with 2020
    • In Canada, a leading Jewish group reported a 40-year record in anti-Semitic physical violence in one month - August
    • In the UK, the number of recorded physical assaults against Jews increased by 78% compared with 2020
    • In Germany, anti-Semitic incidents recorded by police were up 29% compared with 2020, and 49% compared with 2019
    • Australia also experienced a sharp rise in recorded anti-Semitic incidents, with 88 in May alone - the highest monthly total ever

    The report's authors blame in part reactions to May 2021's fighting between Israel and Palestinian militants in the Gaza Strip for the rise in anti-Semitic incidents.

    That month, Israel and militants fought an 11-day conflict in which 261 people were killed in Gaza, according to the United Nations, and 14 people were killed in Israel.

    The report also calls out "the vast reach of social networks for spreading lies and incitement".

    Social media played "an exceptionally alarming role" in anti-Semitic incidents, it says.

    "The data raise concerns regarding the utility of legislation and agreements reached with social media companies on banning anti-Semitic expressions from their platforms."

    "The gravest concern is the dark web, which shelters extremists and where anti-Semitic content is freely and openly spread," it warns, referring to a part of the internet only accessible through special browsing software.

    The report also identifies the proliferation of conspiracy theories surrounding the Covid-19 pandemic as fuelling anti-Jewish hate crimes.

    "Right at the outset of the pandemic in 2020, conspiracy theories began to sprout around the world, blaming the Jews and Israel for spreading the virus," it says.

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  • ‘The fear is very real’: how Asian Americans are fighting rising hate crime

    Posted by · April 25, 2022 12:42 PM

    The Guardian - A rise in Asian American gun ownership. Blocks-long lines for pepper spray in Manhattan Chinatown. Children kept home from school by fearful parents. Elderly people who have stopped leaving their homes. A warning to Filipinos in the US, issued by the Philippine embassy in DC.

    Across the US, Asian American communities have been gripped by anger and despair as hate crimes against them have increased sharply – rising by 339% last year compared with 2020, according to the Center for the Study of Hate and Extremism. As early as March 2020, the FBI issued a report predicting a “surge” in hate crimes against Asian Americans, due to the Covid-19 pandemic, which happened to originate in an Asian country. Adding fuel to the fire: incendiary and racist language – used by irresponsible politicians and repeated across social media – and geopolitical tensions with China.

    “All of those are conditions that have led at other times to terrible anti-Asian violence,” says author and activist Helen Zia.

    But what’s different this time, says Zia, is that more people recognize the problem. In the 1980s, Zia helped bring about the first federal civil rights case involving an Asian American: Vincent Chin, a Chinese American man was beaten to death by two white auto-workers who took him for Japanese and blamed Japan for the car industry’s struggles. They were merely fined $3,000 each for the killing.

    Today Asian Americans, the fastest-growing racial or ethnic group in the US, are finally in a position to do more than stock up on pepper spray and hope for the best. Meanwhile, academic research on implicit and unconscious bias, improvements in data collection, and social movements like Black Lives Matter have contributed to greater understanding about racism and bias, and the ways that can translate into hate speech and violence. From the local through federal level, community advocates and other leaders have been organizing, debating, and building support, aimed at combating the ongoing epidemic of anti-Asian hate.

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  • Michigan Senator Mallory McMarrow Speech Against Hate

    Posted by · April 22, 2022 8:29 AM



  • Lynching is now a federal hate crime after a century of blocked efforts

    Posted by · April 18, 2022 8:17 AM

    NPR - After multiple failed attempts across twelve decades, there is now a federal law that designates lynching as a hate crime. In a Tuesday ceremony at the White House, President Biden signed the Emmett Till Antilynching Act into law.

    "Racial hate isn't an old problem. It's a persistent problem," Biden said. "Hate never goes away, it only hides under the rocks. If it gets a little bit of oxygen, it comes roaring back out, screaming. What stops it? All of us."

    Under the legislation, perpetrators can receive up to 30 years in prison when a conspiracy to commit a hate crime results in death or serious bodily injury.

    Vice President Kamala Harris said that lynching is "not a relic of the past."

    "Racial acts of terror still occur in our nation. And when they do, we must all have the courage to name them and hold the perpetrators to account," she said.

    The measure is named for Emmett Till, a 14-year-old boy who was abducted, tortured and killed in 1955 after the Black teenager was accused of whistling at and grabbing Carolyn Bryant, a white woman, while visiting relatives in Mississippi. Roy Bryant, Carolyn Bryant's husband, and J.W. Milam, Roy Bryant's half brother, were tried for Emmett's murder and were quickly acquitted by an all-white jury.

    The men later admitted in a magazine interview to murdering Emmett. Carolyn Bryant told an historian 50 years after the crime that Emmett had never put his hands on her.

    Rev. Wheeler Parker, the last living relative of Emmett's to witness his abduction, was at the signing ceremony.

    "Now, people can no longer get away with things that they got away with in the past," Wheeler told NBC News. He said the law "gives power to the people who are seeking justice and trying to do the right thing."

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  • The Stop Asian Hate movement is at a crossroads

    Posted by · April 11, 2022 10:15 AM

    Vox - Brianna Cea, a 24-year-old voting rights organizer based in Brooklyn, felt a painful sense of recognition after the Atlanta shootings last March.

    These shootings — which occurred at three Atlanta-area spas — took the lives of eight people, including six Asian women. The victims included Daoyou Feng, 44, Hyun Jung Grant, 51, Suncha Kim, 69, Paul Andre Michels, 54, Soon Chung Park, 74, Xiaojie “Emily” Tan, 49, Yong Ae Yue, 63, and Delaina Ashley Yaun, 33.

    “Seeing people who look like me being targeted and people not recognizing that they were clearly targeted because of what they looked like was hard,” Cea, who identifies as Thai, Korean, and Chinese American, told Vox.

    Initially, both police and the media appeared to accept claims that the shootings, carried out by a white man, were not racially motivated, even though the attacks focused on Asian-run businesses, and the rationale he gave was that it was a way to reduce sexual “temptation,” a statement that speaks to the longstanding objectification of Asian women. The fact that people wouldn’t acknowledge the racial aspect of the attacks only added to the trauma of the shootings, Cea emphasizes.

    “To me it was compounding that feeling of constantly feeling invisible, reckoning with that in the media and in the workplace,” says Cea, who serves as the president of the Asian American advocacy group OCA-New York and the executive director of GenVote. “In the face of this tragedy, you still go back to this narrative of erasure.”

    For Cea and a number of other Asian Americans, Atlanta was a breaking point amid two years of growing anti-Asian violence that took the form of brutal attacks on older people, vandalization of businesses, and assaults on the street. Fueled by xenophobic sentiment tied to the coronavirus’s origins in Wuhan, China, and former President Donald Trump’s use of racist terms like “China Virus,” anti-Asian harassment soared in 2020 and 2021. According to Stop AAPI Hate, an organization tracking instances of violence and verbal abuse, there were more than 10,900 incidents reported between March 2020 and December 2021.

    The devastation of the Atlanta shootings compelled many Asian Americans to speak out in a new way. In the weeks that followed, rallies erupted across more than 50 cities, and hundreds of thousands of people participated in trainings, petitions, and crowdfunding efforts to support victims and condemn anti-Asian violence. Cea was among those to host a vigil in New York City, which sought to memorialize the victims. The use of hashtags like #StopAsianHate and #StopAAPIHate took off on Twitter and Instagram as well.

    What began as a tagline on social media ultimately evolved into a national movement, spurring a reckoning across different industries, prompting new policies at the federal and state levels and transforming broader awareness of anti-Asian racism.

    Approaching the one-year anniversary of the Atlanta attacks, the Stop Asian Hate movement is at a crossroads.

    While it’s had significant achievements — including shepherding the passage of a federal hate crimes law, emboldening a new generation of Asian American activists and sparking a dialogue about anti-Asian discrimination — it also faces major questions of where to go next.

    Organizers view the policies that have passed as insufficient — and worry that the focus on policing, which some have taken in response to anti-Asian violence, could harm communities of color. As more horrific attacks make headlines, many are still searching for new ways to address the biases that are tied to such violence as well.

    “It can’t just be about raising awareness and visibility,” says Turner Willman, the social media director for the progressive advocacy group 18MillionRising. “It needs to be coupled with structural change.”

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  • Nearly 240 anti-LGBTQ bills filed in 2022 so far

    Posted by · April 04, 2022 9:31 AM

    NBC - State lawmakers have proposed a record 238 bills that would limit the rights of LGBTQ Americans this year — or more than three per day — with about half of them targeting transgender people specifically. 

    Nearly 670 anti-LGBTQ bills have been filed since 2018, according to an NBC News analysis of data from the American Civil Liberties Union and LGBTQ advocacy group Freedom for All Americans, with nearly all of the country’s 50 state legislatures all having weighed at least one bill. 

    Throughout that time, the annual number of anti-LGBTQ bills filed has skyrocketed from 41 bills in 2018 to 238 bills in less than three months of 2022. And this year’s historic tally quickly follows what some advocates had labeled the “worst year in recent history for LGBTQ state legislative attacks,” when 191 bills were proposed last year.

    The slate of legislation includes measures that would restrict LGBTQ issues in school curriculums, permit religious exemptions to discriminate against LGBTQ people and limit trans people’s ability to play sports, use bathrooms that correspond with their gender identity and receive gender-affirming health care.

    Proponents of these bills say they’re about protecting children, parental rights, religious freedom or a combination of these. Opponents, however, contend they’re discriminatory and are more about scoring political points with conservative voters than protecting constituents. 

    “It’s important for people to pause and think about what is happening — especially in the health care context — because what we’re seeing is that the state should have the authority to declare a population of people so undesirable that their medical care that they need to survive becomes a crime,” Chase Strangio, the deputy director for transgender justice at the ACLU LGBT & HIV Project, said. “What more terrifying intrusion of the state could there be?”

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