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2019 Year in Hate and Extremism Report Release

As the coronavirus continues to spread, we are guided by our concern for the health and safety of our staff and the communities we serve, including you.

During this challenging time, we are committed more than ever to continuing our fight for justice and pushing back against those exploiting this pandemic to further their radical agenda.

As you already know, white nationalism and antisemitism are on the rise. We’ve just released our 2019 Year in Hate and Extremism report that identifies active hate groups in the United States, further confirming this alarming trend. During the third year of the Donald Trump presidency, hate group numbers have remained at high levels — 940 in 2019.

Our investigators found that in 2019, the number of white nationalist hate groups rose for the second straight year — representing a 55 percent increase since 2017, the year Trump took office. We also found a 43 percent increase in the number of anti-LGBTQ hate groups — the fastest-growing sector of hate.

While the current health crisis is forcing us to change how we go about our work, we’re still ramping up our efforts to defund, delegitimize and dismantle hate groups by:

  • Holding hate groups accountable in court, as we did in our successful case against neo-Nazi leader Andrew Anglin, whose followers terrorized a Jewish woman and her family.
  • Working in coalition with organizations through Change the Terms to push internet companies like Facebook, PayPal, Twitter and others to protect members of targeted communities by preventing hate groups from using their digital platforms to raise money, recruit members and spread racist propaganda.
  • Equipping educators with the tools and resources needed to help them counter white nationalist recruitment in middle and high schools across the country through our Teaching Tolerance project.

We hope you’ll take a few minutes to read our report and view our 2019 interactive hate map. Working together, we will turn back this rising tide of hate and extremism.

Here is what other nonprofit and academic leaders are saying about the state of hate and extremism in the U.S.:

“We agree that the surge in white nationalism documented by the SPLC demands action. As multiple generations of people of color, religious minorities, people with disabilities, and people in the LGBTQ community can attest, hate is not new. But white nationalists and other hate groups have been newly emboldened in ways that threaten the future of our democracy. Over the last three years, white nationalists and their hateful ideologies have permeated the highest levels of government and helped generate anti-immigrant policies that advance white supremacy and promote hate violence. In this heightened climate, the work of local and national organizations fighting back against hate and supporting those targeted by it is more critical than ever. We must commit to protecting our society from violence and intolerance and focus on building one that is protected by our national ideals of justice, inclusion and fairness. This is what will strengthen and sustain our democracy.” – Vanita Gupta, President and CEO of The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights

“This important new report shines a light on the explosion of anti-LGBTQ groups across our country. The resurgence of these groups poses a real danger to LGBTQ people and to the progress we have made, which feels increasingly precarious in the face of this administration’s shocking support for anti-LGBTQ hate groups and apparent determination to roll back even the most basic legal protections for LGBTQ people. Now more than ever, we must push back against these hateful narratives and call on elected officials and others to stand up for our common humanity.” - Shannon Minter, legal director of the National Center for Lesbian Rights

“This past year, the Trump administration went to violent and illegal lengths to keep black, brown and poor immigrants from coming to the United States. In 2019, the administration introduced several new immigration policies that effectively ended access to the U.S. asylum system at our southern border. Metering and the Orwellian-named ‘Migrant Protection Protocols’ have trapped tens of thousands of migrants, including small children, in crowded, unsanitary conditions in border cities where they suffer kidnapping, rape, extortion and murder at the hands of violent criminal groups and corrupt officials. Other Salvadoran and Honduran refugees were deported from our borders to Guatemala, where many face danger from the same persecution they fled. Militarized ICE raids stole members of our communities, including veterans, and detained and deported them with minimal due process rights, while private prisons continue to profit from the forced labor of immigrant detainees. From preventable deaths in detention to continued family separation, this administration has shown its disregard for the basic humanity of the migrants seeking safety in the United States.” - Erika Pinheiro, director of litigation and policy for Al Otro Lado

“The Southern Poverty Law Center’s new report reveals that we are in a dangerous, new era of anti-Muslim hate. Hateful, discriminatory ideas like the Muslim Ban were first floated in these circles and are now government policy. Meanwhile, a violent, anti-Muslim, anti-immigrant ideology is threatening houses of worship worldwide. This is an immediate, global threat and we must do everything we can to thwart it.” - Madihha Ahussain, special counsel for anti-Muslim Bigotry at Muslim Advocates

“Inclusive democracy is in the crosshairs of hate and bigotry. White nationalists no longer seek to simply spread their views – they are committed to seizing the power of the state. Civil society must be properly equipped to respond to this threat and combat the surge in white nationalist organizing and violence. The ‘Year in Hate’ is a vital tool for assessing these challenges and planning an effective response.” - Eric Ward, executive director at Western States Center

“We know that belief in a hateful ideology is not a prerequisite for joining a hate group. There are many other factors — alienation, trauma, shame, and abuse – and individuals are more likely to leave a hate group if they feel they have an alternate community to support them. Many extremists act as if they are committed to ‘the cause,’ but their conviction is unsteady. While so-called ‘lone actors’ remain capable of carrying out devastating acts of terrorism, many other far-right extremists become disillusioned long before, or as our experiences has shown us, after a catastrophic event like Charlottesville or Christchurch. During those moments of clarity or doubt our approach matters. That’s when we have the best chance to reach people and call them back in.” – Sammy Rangel, Executive Director at Life After Hate

“The extremism that has been awakened and emboldened by the current administration has revealed the deep trauma and pain of race discrimination that founded this country and continues to permeate every institution to the detriment of black and brown people to the benefit of white people. Hate groups are increasingly infiltrating and deepening their foothold in rural areas of the country. They exploit the economic struggle and personal pain of the working class and poor, offering community, connection and a social and political analysis that offers the cause and the anecdote, albeit one steeped in bigotry and hate.

“Hate groups, their architects and leaders now occupy some of the most important positions in government, courts and institutions. The threat to our democracy cannot be overstated, nor that it will remain long after the election of 2020.

“United Vision for Idaho and SPLC understand that our collective liberation requires people and organizations working together in a fundamentally new way to unite rural, suburban and urban communities across the country in a shared struggle.” – Adrienne Evans, Executive Director at United Vision for Idaho

“SPLC’s Intelligence Project report on the Year in Hate 2019 outlines the imminent threat facing our country and presents a clear call to action. Our communities, houses of worship, schools and workplaces are on the frontlines of bigotry, where the deep harm of hate can have a lasting impact on our individual lives, our families, the health and safety of our communities and the future of democracy. But when mobilized, the forces against hate are much more powerful.

“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. 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.” – Patrice O’Neill, Executive Producer/Director at Not In Our Town

“SPLC's research is in alignment with ours and others about the disturbing transformation of white supremacy as a transnational terror threat.

“In any year, SPLC's annual report is a critical data source that we always look forward to analyzing. However, in a year where organized groups have fragmented and white supremacist homicides hit a century peak, the report is invaluable.

“As larger traditional hate groups have splintered, the leaner and meaner remaining ones, pose a threat, not only from the radicalization of their members, but from outside do-it-yourselfers, who dine at the same hate-filled propaganda buffet that caters to members and non-members alike.

“The SPLC's analysis on the breadth of domestic terrorism and extremist groups by region and ideology mirrors the findings of our Center and others relating to the rise of white supremacist homicides and the disturbing reach of bigoted attitudes into the mainstream.” – Brian Levin, Director at the Center for the Study of Hate and Extremism