Iconic civil rights institution burned down in possible white supremacist attack

The fire at the Highlander CenterIn 2010, the Highlander Center hosted a retreat for LGBTQ activists. A couple of months later, the organization GetEQUAL was formed.

Author: Alex Bollinger

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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

The post Southern Poverty Law Center fires co-founder Morris Dees appeared first on Gay Star News.

Hate groups in the US reach all-time high, with drastic rise in white supremacists

Person holding an anti-nazi sign

Hate groups within the United States reached an all-time high in 2018. While a variety of hate groups increased, the most drastic rise was in white supremacy groups.

Nonprofit legal advocacy group Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) revealed the alarming statistic in a new report.

According to their findings, there were 1,020 hate groups in 2018. This was a 7% increase from 2017. It is slightly higher than the previous all-time record of 1,018 hate groups in 2011 — when Barack Obama, the first black president, was running for re-election.

A 20-year graph shows a steady increase in hate groups from 1999 before reaching the first peak in 2011.

A decline followed, which reached its lowest number of 784 hate groups in 2014, before spiking again to last year’s record.

Graph showing 20 years of hate groups

Graph showing 20 years of hate groups | Photo: Southern Poverty Law Center

Types of hate groups and their violence

SPLC noted in their report that numerous types of hate groups have increased.

Black nationalist hate groups, which they describe as ‘typically antisemitic and anti-LGBT’, increased from 233 in 2017 to 264 last year.

The sharpest increase in hate groups, however, came from white supremacists. These groups increased by nearly 50% from 100 in 2017 to 148 in 2018.

Violence and death linked to radical right-wing groups also increased. In the US and Canada, these groups killed at least 40 people, up from 17 in 2017.

Last October, there was a mass shooting at a synagogue in Pittsburgh. A man opened fire and killed 11 people, injuring six others.

This is also consistent with the FBI’s findings of a consistent rise in hate crimes in the US over the past three years.

Link to Trump?

The US Census Bureau projected white people will no longer be a majority in the country by 2044.

SPLC believes the rhetoric of Donald Trump fuels hate groups’ ‘fears of a forthcoming white-minority country’. They single out his anti-immigrant and Islamophobic language and policies.

This is seen in Trump’s declaration of a national emergency, depicting immigrants as ‘criminals’ creating a ‘crisis’, or his alleged comments about ‘shithole countries’ like Haiti.

Conversative media also perpetuate these ideas.

Laura Ingraham, a Fox News commentator, said ‘massive demographic changes have been foisted on the American people’ and they’ve made it so ‘the America that we know and love doesn’t exist anymore’, which drew ire from her gay brother.

SPLC also warns of such hate groups’ access to the Trump administration.

Anti-LGBTI groups like the Family Research Council (FRC) and Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) reportedly ‘meet regularly with high-level administration officials to further their bigoted policy positions’.

Finally, the report states this extremism is gaining ground worldwide and will likely continue in 2019.

See also

Four men arrested for brutally attacking gay couple in Austin

11-year-old being escorted to lessons after homophobic attack and threats

Gay hate crimes triple in Washington DC since Donald Trump became president

Author: Anya Crittenton

The post Hate groups in the US reach all-time high, with drastic rise in white supremacists appeared first on Gay Star News.