California ranks No. 1 in the nation with 79 active hate groups, six of which operate in Sacramento area, according to a new report released by the Southern Poverty Law Center, which monitors hate groups and extremists in the U.S.
The Southern Poverty Law Center report includes a detailed map of the 917 hate groups actively operating across the United States. Florida ranks second among states, with 63 active hate groups.
In the Sacramento area, the report cited six active hate groups: Golden State Skinheads, a racist skinhead group, the Traditionalist Worker Party, a white nationalist group, the Pacific Justice Institute and Verity Baptist Church, both anti-LGBT groups, and As-Sabiqun and European-American Evangelistic Crusades, general hate groups.
In June 2016, a rally by members of the Traditionalist Worker Party in the shadow of the state Capitol devolved into violence when members clashed with Antifa, or anti-fascist demonstrators. Ten people were injured, with at least five stabbed in the violent confrontation.
William Planer, a member of the Traditionalist Worker Party, was arrested in July in Colorado for his role in the riot and is awaiting a California court appearance.
A Berkeley teacher and activist who was arrested with two others in June 2016 bloody clash between neo-Nazis and anti-fascist counter-demonstrators faced a Sacramento judge Thursday for the first time on assault charges in the case.
Yvette Felarca, arraigned on suspicion of assault, and fellow defendants Michael Williams and Porfirio Paz, were all freed on bail. The three will return on Oct. 4 to Sacramento Superior Court.
Following the brief hearing, Felarca’s attorney, Shanta Driver, criticized Felarca’s charges as “baseless” and “an attack against those who stand up against fascism and racism.”
As reported in the Miami Herald, the Southern Poverty Law Center report comes after 32-year-old Heather Heyer was killed in Charlottesville, Va., during a “Unite the Right’’ rally organized by white supremacist groups, who took to the streets carrying Nazi and Confederate flags, chanting “Heil Hitler’ and, in some cases, armed with semi-automatic rifles.
On Saturday, James Alex Fields Jr., 20, of Ohio rammed his Dodge Challenger into a crowd of activists protesting the Nazi sympathizers at the Charlottesville rally, killing Heyer and injuring at least 35 others, police said. Fields has ties to neo-Nazi groups.
The rally was held to protest the city’s plan to remove a statue of Robert E. Lee, the Confederacy’s top general. The activists protested the actions of the white nationalists.
On Sunday in Sacramento, several hundred people gathered in downtown Sacramento for a rally that mixed messages of solidarity, hope and anger about the Charlottesville violence.
More than 500 people, including Mayor Darrell Steinberg and city council members, gathered at Sacramento City Hall and marched to the steps of the state Capitol.
In Roseville, people marched Sunday night from downtown to Sculpture Park in support of Charlottesville and to send a message against racism.