Southern Poverty Law Center fires co-founder Morris Dees

Morris Dees was a co-founder of the Southern Poverty Law Center

The civil rights legal group Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) has fired one of its founders, Morris Dees.

Dees, 82, helped co-found SPLC in 1971 with Joseph J. Levin Jr. and Julian Bond. It started as a civil rights firm in Montgomery, Alabama, where it is still located today.

Primarily still a litigation organization, SPLC has become known for their tracking of hate groups and Teaching Tolerance program.

As it says on their website, Teaching Tolerance ‘combats prejudice among our nation’s youth while promoting equality, inclusiveness and equitable learning environments in the classroom’.

President Richard Cohen released a statement about Dees’ exit from the group.

‘As a civil rights organization, the SPLC is committed to ensuring that the conduct of our staff reflects the mission of the organization and the values we hope to instill in the world,’ he said.

‘When one of our own fails to meet those standards, no matter his or her role in the organization, we take it seriously and must take appropriate action.’

The organization gave no specific reason for Dees’ ousting. However, he told the Associated Press it was a personal issue and that he wished the SPLC luck.

The SPLC website also removed Dees’ biography, according to NPR.

Finally, the organization made an announcement that numerous actions are being implement to ensure ‘all voices are heard and all staff members are respected’.

Past work

Earlier this year, the SPLC released an alarming report showing the rise of hate groups in the United States.

They work specifically against conservative groups like Alliance Defending Freedom and Liberty Counsel, who has represented people like baker Jack Philipps and Kim Davis in the past.

In the wake of Charlottesville in 2017, both George and Amal Clooney and Apple each donated $1 million to the Southern Poverty Law Center and their work.

See also

Right-wing Alliance Defending Freedom launch another anti-trans campaign

Democrats re-introduce Equality Act to Congress for the third time

Alaska decides on statewide LGBTI bill dubbed ‘last frontier’ of civil rights

Author: Anya Crittenton

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