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White supremacy groups a major problem

Presentation at Bucks Human Relations Council

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White supremacy groups have seldom, if ever, been more active, the top official for the Anti-Defamation League’s Philadelphia Region told an audience of about 50 during a May 25 presentation at the Free Library of Northampton Township.
During a talk organized by the Bucks County Human Relations Council, ADL Philadelphia Regional Director Andrew Goretsky said Pennsylvania had the highest level of white supremacist propaganda in the country in 2021, with 473 incidents including racist, antisemitic and other hateful messages. The next highest state was Virginia at 375.
White supremacist propaganda distribution remained at historic levels across the United States in 2021, with a total of 4,851 cases of racist, antisemitic and other hateful messages reported by the ADL, added Goretsky, who oversees an ADL region that includes Eastern Pennsylvania, Southern New Jersey and Delaware.
He spoke in Northampton on the second anniversary of the murder of George Floyd, and less than two weeks after a mass shooting being described as a racial massacre claimed 10 lives at a grocery store in Buffalo, New York.
It was also just a day after 21 died at the hands of a shooter at an elementary school in Uvalde, Texas.
“We don’t know yet if there is an extremist ideology connected to the Texas massacre,” Goretsky said. “I use the term massacre to describe these events because I don’t think mass shootings defines it.”
He said everyone needs to educate themselves on white supremacist groups and be ready to combat hate and intolerance in all its forms.
Some of the ways that can be done, Goretsky said, is for public officials to immediately condemn white supremacist flyers or propaganda as acts of hate, arrange for community-wide shows of solidarity with those targeted and engage in public awareness campaigns to expose those behind propaganda efforts and extremists.

He also urged residents and legislators to support passage of the bipartisan Domestic Terrorism Prevention Act of 2021. According to ADL information handed out by the county Human Relations Council at the presentation, the act seeks to address the growing threat of white supremacist groups and other violent domestic extremists.
This includes creating new offices across the government that would be responsible for monitoring, analyzing, investigating and prosecuting domestic terrorism.
“If biased attitudes go unchecked, they become normalized and societies can adopt systemic discrimination,” Goretsky said. “We can interrupt the escalation of hate before it goes too far by doing interventions and taking other steps. We can’t have justice for one group without having it for all groups.”
Bucks County District Attorney Matt Weintraub, who attended the presentation, said he felt it was valuable.
“The speaker delivered important messages very well,” Weintraub said. “I was impressed with the turnout but wished there were even more people here. Knowledge and information is power. The extremists use it and we should too.”
Another attendee, Bucks County NAACP Director Karen Downer, called the presentation excellent and added the county NAACP is working with the ADL and others on ways to more effectively address incidents of bullying, hate and intolerance at schools.
“It’s an exceptionally scary time,” said county Human Relations Council Chairman Bernie Hoffman. “We were fortunate to have one of the foremost authorities on these issues speak to us tonight.”
For more information, including the ADL’s full report on white supremacist groups, visit adl.org.


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