Groups fighting hate, anti-Semitism see surge of support
2016/11/18 Leave a comment
Not necessarily surprising but certainly encouraging:
In the wake of the election, the Anti-Defamation League — the national organization devoted to fighting anti-Semitism and bigotry in all forms — is wasting no time in accelerating its efforts against hate in America.
The climate at the organization’s offices post-election is characterized by “exhaustion and energy,” Deborah Lauter, ADL’s senior vice president for policy and programs, told CBS News.
“There’s more of a sense of urgency, more of a sense that we’re more relevant than ever before,” Lauter said. “The day after, when people were shocked by the result personally, they said, ‘Thank God I work here because at least I can get hugs from my colleagues.’”
The organization — which conducts large-scale research on hate groups, including the alt-right; partners with law enforcement to better deal with hate crimes; and cultivates public awareness of hate and bigotry, among other campaigns — has seen an explosion in financial contributions and volunteer interest since Donald Trump’s election. The president-elect won the White House after conducting a campaign critics accused of trafficking in racist and anti-Semitic stereotypes. At various points, Trump called Mexicans “murderers” and “rapists;” suggested an American-born federal judge could not do his job impartially because of his Mexican heritage; advocated “a total and complete shutdown” of Muslims coming to the U.S.; and used imagery lifted from white supremacists and Neo-Nazi online message boards.
It was an election that “saw hate move from the fringes and into the mainstream with unprecedented volume and velocity,” the ADL said in a statement after Donald Trump’s win.
The ADL joins other prominent nonprofit organizations — like the American Civil Liberties Union, the investigative journalism site ProPublica, and Planned Parenthood — who’ve seen dramatic spikes in donations since the election.
Contributions to the ADL jumped 50-fold the day after the election, and that level of giving has persisted throughout last week and this week, the group said. About 70 percent of those donations came from first-time donors. Several major donors are also upping their contributions in light of the election, some to six figures.
In addition, the group’s 27 regional offices have seen significantly higher call volume — 10 to 20 times what they’d normally receive — from people asking how they could support the organization’s work combating bigotry, the ADL said.
“We have seen so many instances where we fear and are concerned about the fact that the extremists’ rhetoric has become mainstream,” Lauter said. “The feeling is one of being disheartened at how easily this can happen. But [we’re] also somewhat energized at how important this work is to rebuild what we thought was the status quo of tolerance in this country.”