Of the 56 hate groups in Illinois and Missouri as identified by the Southern Poverty Law Center, 11 of them are in the St. Louis area, and two are in the metro-east.
After the violent Charlottesville protests and rallies over the weekend, racial tensions are high in the U.S. White nationalists gathered Saturday for a march in Charlottesville, Virginia, and were met by counter-protestors. The march got bloody, and an Ohio man is charged with driving a car into the crowd, killing one and injuring many. Attorney General Jeff Sessions called the fatal attack “domestic terrorism.”
The center has seen an increase in the number of hate groups since 2000, accelerating in 2009, when Barack Obama took office, and then again in the past two years, partly due to the presidential campaign, SPLC says on its website. SLPC has compiled a map of all the known hate groups in the United States — all 719 of them.
Of the 11 groups the center labeled as hate groups in the St. Louis area, five are said to be black separatist groups, two are neo-Nazi, two are white nationalist, one is anti-Muslim and one is anti-LGBT. The two groups in Illinois — Aryan Nations Sadistic Souls in Wood River and the Nation of Islam in East St. Louis — are labeled as neo-Nazi and black separatist by the Southern Poverty Law Center.
Efforts to reach spokesmen for the two groups were unsuccessful Monday.
The center compiled this list from publications, websites, citizen and law enforcement reports, field sources and news reports, the group reported. Hate groups have beliefs or practices that attack or malign people, typically for characteristics like race or religion.
U.S. Rep Mike Bost issued the following statement Monday after the protests.
“Neo-Nazis, white supremacists, and the KKK do not represent American values,” Bost said. “The president needed to call out these hate groups, and I am glad he did so. I also welcome the Department of Justice opening a civil rights investigation into the car attack in Virginia last weekend. We must reject and denounce the hatred and bigotry that was on display in Charlottesville.”
On Sunday, the Illinois Senate adopted a resolution that urged law enforcement officials to recognize white nationalist and neo-Nazi groups as terrorist organizations, according to the Chicago Tribune.
Across the country, people have hosted marches and sit-ins to take a stand against racism in response to the Charlottesville protest and rallies over the weekend, the Associated Press reported. Hundreds marched in Chicago. In St. Louis, protestors took to the streets outside of Busch Stadium on Sunday night, for various reasons. Some were there to commemorate the third anniversary of Michael Brown’s death in Ferguson, Missouri. Others were in protest of the Charlottesville rallies, and still others for the murder trial of a St. Louis cop.
Indivisible STL Resist is hosting a rally to stand in solidarity with Charlottesville at 5:30 p.m. Aug. 25 in Brentwood, Missouri.