A Letter from Amy Spitalnick
As we grapple with the coronavirus pandemic, the importance of the fight against violent extremism is even more pronounced. Over the last few months, we’ve seen conspiracy theories claiming Jews engineered the virus and rising racist attacks against Asian Americans, Muslims, and others. These have quickly fueled attempted terror attacks, with neo-Nazis and other extremists planning to turn the virus into a bioweapon, bomb hospitals, and burn down assisted living centers. At the same time, Nazi slogans and other anti-Semitic and racist signs fill recent anti-public health protests.
These developments are part of a larger cycle of hate and violence, from Charlottesville to Pittsburgh to Poway to El Paso and beyond.
This is the only current legal effort to take on the broad leadership of this extremist movement.
Our suit — which is scheduled for trial this October — details how the August 2017 violence was planned in advance via online chats, down to discussing plowing over protesters with cars. From the beginning, the defendants — two dozen individuals and hate groups – planned to bring violence to Charlottesville and target people based on their race, religion, and willingness to defend the rights of their neighbors. The plaintiffs are ten Charlottesville community members who were injured.
It’s no surprise that these extremists are also at the center of this broader violent movement. For example, we know that the Pittsburgh shooter communicated on Gab with the Charlottesville leaders, before killing eleven people at Tree of Life synagogue; the Christchurch shooter’s gun bore a symbol popularized by one of the Charlottesville defendants; and, just the other month, a member of one of our defendant hate groups tried to bomb a hospital treating coronavirus patients. These connections illustrate the centrality of our defendants to this vile movement. By bankrupting and dismantling these leaders and groups through large civil judgments, we can have a huge impact on hate’s ability to operate — while making clear there will be serious financial and legal consequences for racist violence.
We are already seeing results. Neo-Nazi defendant Richard Spencer said our case is “totally detrimental to what I’m doing.” Hate group League of the South was unable to open a new headquarters because of the suit. And just this week, our plaintiffs won over $41,000 in sanctions against three key neo-Nazi defendants; one defendant was even thrown in jail.
We are determined to hold the leaders of this violent movement accountable for the bloodshed they caused. Our lawsuit is a critical tool in taking on the cycle of violent extremism – and we’re partnering with Millions of Conversations as we continue to work to break this cycle and build a more unified, empathetic America.
Integrity First for America
Seeing the “Other”
Belonging in America
Please watch and share the latest video in our Belonging in America series. Maryam Abolfazli describes her own complex understanding of identity growing up as an Iranian-American with roots in the American South. She offers a path forward to understand individuals beyond assumptions and stereotypes based in otherization. Maryam answers prevailing questions about how to keep America safe and vibrant in face of the complex challenges that our country faces today.
On Our List
Free Trip to Egypt (For Free!)
Last October, we partnered with creator and producer Tarek Mounib to screen Free Trip to Egypt in Nashville. This coming June, Tarek and his team are hosting a livestream of the film followed by a Q & A. Please join Tarek on June 14th at 7 pm EST for this special online event. We would love to celebrate the one year anniversary of Free Trip to Egypt with all of you!
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Dying of Whiteness
Physician and sociologist Jonathan M. Metzl travels across America’s heartland seeking to better understand the politics of racial resentment and its impact on public health. Interviewing a range of Americans, he uncovers how racial anxieties led to the repeal of gun control laws in Missouri, stymied the Affordable Care Act in Tennessee, and fueled massive cuts to schools and social services in Kansas. Dr. Metzl is a Millions partner, and we encourage all of your to read his book! Order here >>
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