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CWU works to combat hate

February 16, 2017

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A coordinating member of the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) brought anti-hate messages to CWU last Monday as part of a Not In Our Kittitas County (NIOKC) event.

SPLC’s outreach director Lecia Brooks leads key initiatives and social justice issues.

Brooks gave a presentation in the SURC Ballroom on the current status of hate groups in the United States and specifically the Pacific Northwest.

Brooks started the presentation off with a brief overview of black history and the history of the SPLC and some of their famous cases.

She also spoke on the growth in hate and bias incidents that the SPLC have said occurred since the election.

“A lot of these incidents happened on college campuses,” Brooks said.

According to the SPLC approximately 1,372 bias incidents between the day after the election and Feb 7 have occurred.

Brooks said that only 13 of these self reported incidents have been proved fraudulent.

Of all of the incidents, the types that were reported the most were, anti-Immigrant, anti-black, anti-Muslim, anti-LGBTQ, swastikas, and general Trump related comments.

The places that Brooks said these events mostly occurred at were K-12 classrooms, businesses, universities, on the street and on private property.

Brooks described the fact that these events were reported in classrooms and on campuses as “disturbing.”

According to the SPLC, close to 100 colleges have been seeing white nationalist fliers on their campuses.

Brooks also talked about the SPLC’s coverage of hate groups.

According to the SPLC, there are close to 917 active hate groups in the United States and the number of hate groups has gone up by 25.

One group, the American Vanguard, was said to be responsible for the college fliers and has been trying to recruit on college campuses since the election.

Another group that was identified was Identity Europa, which has a speaker who goes to college campuses advertising white separatism.

A shift in demographics is the reasoning behind the growth in hate groups, Brooks said.

Two people who Brooks said to watch for on the emerging white nationalist front are Richard Spencer and Milo Yiannopoulos.

According to Brooks, the two are currently making it their mission to spread white nationalism on college campuses.

“No group should be promoting racial separation, and that is their message,” Brooks said.

She referred to Spencer as a “professional racist in khakis.”

Spencer currently runs a group called the National Policy Institute.

“What is it going to take for people to realize something serious is going on here?” Brooks asked.

As for Yiannopoulos, she criticized his college tours and the reasoning for student groups that invite him to campus.

Brooks ended her presentation with tips on how to handle events where someone may witness hate or bias.

The most important things to do are to assess, record and report the situation.

The overall presentation had an underlying theme of urgency to it.

“It’s not enough to say that it’s not me, I don’t believe in it, it’s ridiculous, we have to find ways to stop it,” Brooks said.

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