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Hate Groups Are Descending on Main Street America, According to New Report Released by the Southern Poverty Law Center

SPLC's Year in Hate & Extremism report exposes a campaign of local demonstrations of hate and violence threatening public institutions and community safe havens 

MONTGOMERY, Ala. — Today, the Southern Poverty Law Center released Year in Hate & Extremism, an annual report detailing the scope and danger of hate and antigovernment extremist groups operating within the United States. The report documents 1,225 active groups and shows how their tactics shifted after the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the U.S. Capitol — organizing locally and pursuing their agenda in venues where it is easier to gain power and strip communities of their rights and livelihoods. 

“Taking on the most hateful factions in our country is critical to dismantling white supremacy and advancing the civil rights of all people,” said Margaret Huang, president and CEO of the Southern Poverty Law Center and SPLC Action Fund. “We are exposing a concerted effort by hate groups and extremist actors to terrorize communities and gain control of public institutions by any means necessary. These groups are descending on Main Street America and disrupting people’s daily lives, too often with dire consequences for communities of color, Jewish people, and the LGBTQ+ community.”  

The newly released report finds that hate groups are increasingly engaging in public demonstrations using flyering, marches, and banner displays to gain media attention. Hate groups leverage these demonstrations as a tool to recruit membership, raise funds, and intimidate and threaten Black, Brown, Jewish, and transgender communities in particular. For example, the white nationalist group Patriot Front is one of the most active in holding demonstrations in local communities across the country. In total, the SPLC tracked 4,739 public demonstrations in 2022. 

Schools are a primary target for locally driven extremist mobilization, according to the report, with 12 anti-student inclusion groups leading a movement to gain power through school boards to attack public education, ban books, and remove any curriculum that contains discussions of race, discrimination, and LGBTQ+ identities. One group at the forefront of this mobilization is Moms for Liberty, a Florida-based group that the SPLC has designated as an anti-government extremist group in 2022.  

“Hate and antigovernment extremist groups are intent on staging public spectacles of hatred that harass, threaten and violently harm Black, Brown, Asian, Jewish, LGBTQ+ and immigrant communities,” said Susan Corke, director of the SPLC’s Intelligence Project. “Schools, synagogues, and LGBTQ+ businesses — venues that have traditionally been safe spaces for our children, the Jewish community and LGBTQ+ people — are now on the frontlines of hatred and violence. We all have a responsibility to speak out against hate, extremism, and violence when we see it, and encourage those in positions of power to fulfill their duty to act.” 

One notable retreat of antigovernment extremist mobilization is in the militia movement. SPLC tracked 61 active militia groups in 2022, a decline from the 92 groups identified in 2021. This reduction in militia mobilization is largely the result of members and leaders being held accountable for their role in the deadly Jan. 6 attack. While recent federal convictions of members of the Oath Keepers and Proud Boys have stifled overall militia activity, the continued growth of Proud Boys membership — reaching 78 chapters in 2022 — signals that the violent threat from hard-right extremist groups persists. 

SPLC’s annual report, which combines research and data collection, public polling, social media analysis, investigating reporting, and expert insights, offers a comprehensive evaluation of hate and antigovernment extremist group activities and threats to inform the public and policymakers, support impacted communities, and protect democracy. It underscores the harm created by these groups, uplifts stories of those pushing back against malign forces, and offers resources to support community resilience. The report also provides policy recommendations to address hate and extremism where it exists, from the military to social media platforms.  

Read the full report HERE