Non-Profit to Discuss Hate Groups in Arizona

Yvonne Wingett, Arizona Republic (Phoenix), July 28, 2009

Phoenix Mayor Phil Gordon is bringing a representative from the Southern Poverty Law Center to help raise awareness about the presence of the state’s hate groups, the Nativist movement and White-supremacist organizations.

The Montgomery, Ala.-based non-profit organization identifies, monitors and investigates hate activity across the United States.

According to the center, the number of hate groups nationwide has risen 54 percent since 2000, fueled by opposition to non-White immigration, the economic recession and the election of the nation’s first Black president.

Heidi Beirich, the center’s director of research, will meet with law-enforcement officials and the media Aug. 12-14.

The mayor also is planning some type of public forum to discuss hate groups, especially anti-immigration extremists.

{snip}

“With the Internet, these groups are able to give themselves their own label of ‘patriots,’ or ‘community activists,'” Gordon said. “And even the media has picked up on that and is using that label for the groups. The groups we’re talking about are not community activists or patriots.”

The trip has been in the works since last spring with the release of the center’s report, “The Year In Hate.” {snip}

The center defines hate groups as those that have “beliefs or practices that attack or malign an entire class of people, typically for their immutable characteristics.”

{snip}

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