Hate on the Rise? Exploring the SPLC’s Annual Hate and Extremism Report

by TexasDigitalMagazine.com

Just in time for the election season comes a surge in disinformation campaigns by far-right extremist organizations targeting marginalized communities. The Southern Poverty Law Center is doing vital work by researching and educating around fact-based reports of hate crimes, extremist organizations, and political fearmongering.

For this week’s episode of The State of Belief, Interfaith Alliance’s weekly radio show and podcast, host Rev. Paul Raushenbush is joined by SPLC Executive Director Margaret Hwang and Intelligence Project Interim Director Rachel Carroll Rivas to discuss the organization’s latest annual Report on Hate and Extremism.

We are certainly at a moment of great threat, of great risk, but also at a real moment of reckoning, because [the rise in hate crimes] is happening, in large part, as we build up to elections, now, in 2024. And these groups have made very clear that their goal is to attack democracy itself, to try to stop people from believing in the institutions of government and in democracy. And they’re hoping that that activism from last year and the year 2024 will really frighten and discourage a lot of people from joining in our elections process.

– Margaret L. Huang, a human rights and racial justice advocate who has led the Southern Poverty Law Center since 2020 as president and executive director. Throughout her career, Margaret has championed social justice and human dignity, advocating against discrimination and oppression. Before joining the SPLC, she served as the executive director of Amnesty International USA.

​​I’ve been in this work for a long time. We used to say that the work was kind of centered around “name and shame” – and that’s not a really great strategy, particularly for me as a human rights believer. I think the better strategy is: how do we use this research to actually do good things? Friend of mine, Scott Nakagawa, calls it, “block and build.” And so I feel like a lot of times that’s my role in this work: okay, block: make the space for my incredible colleagues and people in this movement, our partners, to be able to do this powerful work.

– Rachel Carroll Rivas is the Interim Director of the Intelligence Project at the SPLC. She has been working to expose the anti-democratic, far-right forces and organize communities to respond to hate activities for the last 20 years. Rachel has supported rural community organizing and research across the Western U.S., training hundreds of advocates, academics, and community leaders in cross-issue movement building and using research analysis of the hard right to inform strategy.

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