White nationalist violence in the United States is as old as our country, as is the determination among the people targeted for hate to fight back and build a country that is as good as its ideals. The strength and the power of our country comes from the very same people who could have given up on it generations ago, but refuse to do so.
In 2020, we saw Black, Brown, and Indigenous leaders continue this fight by calling out injustice and protecting the vote for all, and it was their work that saved our democracy yet again. Community leaders, civil rights advocates, and state and local officials worked together to ensure that voters could cast their ballots free from voter intimidation. People voted in numbers we have not seen before; every ballot cast in defiance of the efforts of white supremacists who engaged in activity throughout the campaign to perpetuate hate and undermine our democracy.
The white nationalist attack on the Capitol and our country on January 6 horrified all of us, but sadly did not surprise people who have been targeted for hate violence for generations. The insurrectionists destroyed lives and property and failed in their futile efforts to undermine our democracy. And they only strengthened the determination and strength of the Black, Brown, and Indigenous leaders fighting to protect and advance our democracy.
While the white supremacy that fueled their actions is not new, these attacks on our country demand that we fight it with renewed determination. We will work together to tackle our shared challenges for a better America.
Here, we have collected actions you can take to fight the white supremacy that was on display on January 6 and that has been a part of our country since its inception. We know that together, we are strong enough to defeat these violent gangs of white nationalists.
Since the founding of our country, African people, their descendants, and other marginalized groups have borne the brunt of structural inequity, racism, and discrimination. Policies like American chattel slavery, Black Codes, convict leasing, Jim Crow segregation, along with redlining and racial discrimination in education, employment, and access to public services, have all contributed to a generational harm to African Americans that continues today and can no longer be ignored. It is past time for the nation to begin to unearth the true severity of such trauma and begin the process of healing.
Descendants of African slaves, particularly in America, are owed reparations because the United States derived great financial benefit from the government-sanctioned institution of slavery. The subjugation of African Americans was integral to establishing the United States as a world economic power. After the official end of slavery, African Americans were continuously denied the right to participate in the economic growth of this country. During Jim Crow, African American entrepreneurial ability was limited by intimidation, lynching, massacres, and the decimation of entire communities.
In January of this year, Representative Sheila Jackson-Lee re-introduced H.R. 40, which would provide a mechanism through which the U.S. government can finally atone for America’s original sin—the brutal treatment of African slaves and their descendants—which in turn has led to structural racism and discrimination in this country. Importantly, H.R 40 will require the federal government to undertake an official study to analyze the impact of slavery on the social, political and economic life of our nation.
Read the legislation here, learn more about reparations and let your member of Congress know that you support this critical piece of legislation.
Support the first United States Commission on Truth, Racial Healing and Transformation
If we are to truly address the white supremacy on display on January 6 and that consistently fuels an increase in hate incidents and hate crimes, we must confront the ways in which the racism we fight today is connected to the white supremacy that accompanied the founding of our country.
Congresswoman Barbara Lee introduced legislation in June, 2020 calling for the establishment of the first United States Commission on Truth, Racial Healing, and Transformation (TRHT). The Commission will examine the effects of slavery, institutional racism, and discrimination against people of color, and how our history impacts laws and policies today. This proposal would create a commission with a mission “to properly acknowledge, memorialize, and be a catalyst for progress toward jettisoning the belief in a hierarchy of human value, embracing our common humanity, and permanently eliminating persistent racial inequities.”
Read the legislation here, learn more about the importance of a Commission on Truth, Racial Healing and Transformation here, and let your member of Congress know that you support this critical piece of legislation.
Demand that Congress Ensure that White Nationalist Insurrectionists are Held Accountable Now and Oppose the Creation of a New Charge that Would Target Our Communities
We must meet the challenge of addressing white nationalist and far-right militia violence without causing further harm to communities already disproportionately impacted by the criminal-legal system. The Justice Department (DOJ), including the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), has over 50 terrorism-related statutes it can use to investigate and prosecute criminal conduct, including white supremacist violence, as well as dozens of other federal statutes relating to hate crimes, organized crime, conspiracy, and violent crimes. The failure to confront and hold accountable white nationalist violence is not a question of not having appropriate tools to employ, but a failure to use those on hand. To date, DOJ has simply decided as a matter of policy and practice not to prioritize white nationalist crimes. Congress should use its oversight and appropriations authorities to ensure that law enforcement appropriately focuses investigative and prosecutorial resources on white nationalist crimes.
Our country’s long and disturbing history of targeting Black Activists, Muslims, Arabs, and movements for social and racial justice has shown that a new domestic terrorism charge would be used to expand racial profiling or to surveil and investigate communities of color and political opponents in the name of national security.
Learn more about why over 150 civil rights organizations support a call to hold white nationalists accountable now using existing criminal statutes and call your member of Congress to oppose the creation of a new charge that would harm the very same communities targeted by white nationalists.
Help Prevent and Improve the Response to Hate Crimes
White nationalist violence is not only not new, it also takes many forms, including hate crimes that may appear to target one person, but are actually targeting an entire community. We know that hate violence is increasing, and that communities across the country are working together to fight it. The most recent federal data available for hate crimes comes from 2019, and that year marked the deadliest year on record since the hate crimes reporting program started in 1991. This is especially alarming considering that the number of law enforcement agencies voluntarily reporting their figures has decreased, which means the report only captures a fraction of actual incidents of hate crimes.
These acts of hate and violence are horrific, and in targeting people of color, religious minorities, immigrants, and LGBTQ individuals, they are attempting to target entire communities.
Help community leaders support impacted communities, encourage people targeted for hate to report hate crimes to law enforcement or to community led sites like StopAAPIhate.org, and let local government officials know that accurate reporting of hate crimes is important to youl. Share resources from the International Association of Chiefs of Police and the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law with law enforcement leaders in your community.
Let your member of Congress know that they must re-introduce and pass the Jabera-Hayer NO HATE Act to improve hate crime prevention, reporting, and best practices in supporting targeted communities.
Tell Social Media Companies to Stop Profiting Off of Hate
For the sake of public safety, social media companies cannot let the status quo of bigoted violence, intimidation and threats continue on their platforms. They must enforce their hate speech content policies. Tell Facebook, Twitter and YouTube to do the right thing and stop the racism that’s endemic to their platforms.
Hold Leaders Accountable for their Words and their Actions
Demand all of your elected officials, employers, and faith leaders speak out against white supremacy. Do not use euphemisms. Those in power must use their platforms to denounce hate each and every time. Tweet at your leaders and let them know #WhiteSupremacyKills. Demand they take a position against hate. We have seen the consequences of the President’s words and policies, and we must demand action.
Black Justice is Our Justice – Join People from Across Different Communities in Celebrating Solidarity and Power in the Fight Against Anti-Blackness
The Leadership Conference Education Fund is proud to partner with the Black Alliance for Justice Immigration (BAJI) to launch our 501 (c)(3) campaign, Black Justice is Our Justice. As white nationalist groups feel emboldened during this election period, this campaign combats the fear that some use to sow division between communities of color, Black communities, religious minorities, immigrants, members of the LGBTQ community, and others with hope, love, and action. Our campaign highlights stories of real and meaningful solidarity and unity among diverse immigrant groups and other communities targeted for hate. It demonstrates the harm of criminalization.
The national campaign starts by centering both Black immigrants as well as Black people disenfranchised due to the criminal legal system. The campaign recognizes that in this country, we must fight anti-Blackness in order to combat all forms of racism and discrimination. Across the U.S., as Black communities are rising for justice, there is unprecedented recognition that criminalization has denied Black people their inherent civil rights and liberties. The campaign undermines tactics white supremacists use to divide diverse immigrant communities and others targeted for hate. In the weeks before the election, it celebrates the power of immigrants and returning citizens who may not be able to vote, but still have the power to encourage their families and friends to vote and to engage in their communities. This campaign celebrates the strength in solidarity between and among communities.
Black Justice is Immigrant Justice, Black Justice is Asian American Justice, Black Justice is LGBTQ Justice, Black Justice is Muslim Justice. Black Justice is Our Justice.
Learn More About White Nationalist Groups: Information about White Nationalist Groups Whose Actions are Not Protected by the Constitution and About State Laws to Combat Them – Share with Local Government and Law Enforcement Leaders
Institute for Constitutional Advocacy (ICAP), Addressing the Rise of Unlawful Paramilitaries, with 50 state surveys and information sheets about laws to enforce against militia groups (2020) In anticipation of possible unlawful militias intimidating voters at the polls, Georgetown Law’s Institute for Constitutional Advocacy and Protection (ICAP) has released fact sheets on unlawful militias for all 50 states. The fact sheets provide key information about lawful and unlawful militias, state laws prohibiting private militias and paramilitary activity, and what to do if citizens see groups of armed individuals near polling places.
AJC Global Jewish Advocacy, Position Paper: QAnon (2020) AJC provides a background on QAnon, a loosely organized, far-right network of people who believe the world is controlled by a satanic cabal of pedophiles and cannibals, made up of politicians (mostly Democrats), mainstream media, journalists, and Hollywood entertainers. AJC calls on federal, state and local government officials to unequivocally condemn QAnon, and for the FBI to investigate their connections to domestic terrorism activity.
The Brennan Center, Hidden in Plain Sight: Racism, White Supremacy, and Far-Right Militancy in Law Enforcement with Recommendations for Federal, State, and Local Leaders (2020) After a self -described local militia member shot and killed an anti-racist protestor in Kenosha, videos of local law enforcement offering the shooter and other white militia members water and gratitude quickly surfaced. More recently, in a bizarre and deeply disturbing video, a Sheriff in Michigan defended local far-right militia members who attempted to kidnap the Governor. In Ft. Worth, Texas, a police officer was fired after an investigation into his racist social media activity. This report includes recommendations for all levels of government.