Southern Poverty Law Center Releases ‘The Year In Hate & Extremism 2023’

“Local communities, such as those in southeastern Pennsylvania, and the work of local journalists, such as those at the Bucks County Beacon in Pennsylvania, raised the alarm and pushed back.”
The Southern Poverty Law Center's new 2023 report documented the highest number of active antiLGBTQ+ and white nationalist groups they have ever recorded.

On a yearly basis, pro-democracy advocates await the Southern Poverty Law Center’s annual release of its report that tracks hate and anti-government groups across the country.

“In 2023, the SPLC documented 1,430 hate and antigovernment extremist groups that comprise the organizational infrastructure upholding white supremacy in the U.S.,” the report states. It went on to note that “in 2023, the SPLC documented the highest number of active anti-LGBTQ+ and white nationalist groups we have ever recorded. These record numbers accompany increases in direct actions against minoritized groups, including hate crimes and other tactics such as anti-Black and antisemitic flyering, protests, and intimidation campaigns targeting LGBTQ+ people, libraries, schools and hospitals.”

The report is not just to document what is happening, but serves as a tool to fight back to preserve and promote multiracial democracy and civil rights.   

One such group, Moms for Liberty, was added to its list of far-right anti-government organizations in June 2023, noting that it also “engages in anti-student inclusion activities.”

This group was front and center in the far-right’s assault on public education here in Bucks County. SPLC’s announcement came ahead of Moms for Liberty’s national summit held June 29-July 2 in Philadelphia, which drew protests by advocates supporting LGBTQ+ rights, racial inclusivity and opposing book bans.

READ: As Moms for Liberty Meets in Philadelphia, Don’t Underestimate Their Extremism and the Threat They Pose

But, as Bucks County proved, it wasn’t all bad news last year. 

“While 2022 seemed full of nothing but victories for Moms for Liberty, 2023 found the group frequently tarnished by the activities of both its local and national leaders, while also struggling to get its candidates for school board elected,” wrote SPLC. “Local communities, such as those in southeastern Pennsylvania, and the work of local journalists, such as those at the Bucks County Beacon in Pennsylvania, raised the alarm and pushed back, which led this year to the ouster of the anti-inclusion majority of at least two local school boards in Bucks County.” 

From the implementation of far-right religious policies in an attempt to ban books, make LGBTQ+ students’ lives in Pennridge and Central Bucks school districts even more difficult, to replacing teacher-led curricula with ultra-conservative whitewashed propaganda at Pennridge via Vermilion Education, educators, students, parents and taxpayers organized, mobilized, and defeated these reactionary right-wing culture warriors at the polls. 

READ: RIDGE Network Community Education Series Presents: Moms For Liberty And Hostile Learning Environments

Grassroots organizing efforts, including holding meetings and rallies, providing public comments at school board meetings, and assisting Democratic candidates campaigning for school board seats ultimately proved successful.

The GOP extremists had simply gone too far.

For example in Pennridge, a school district in a community where Republicans outnumber Democrats, the far-right Moms for Liberty-backed school board directors could not have been ousted without some Republicans voting for the Democratic candidates.

READ: ​​The Numbers Don’t Lie: Voters Give Pennridge Democrats a Mandate for Change in the School District

In the Central Bucks and Pennridge school districts, parents, students, teachers, and taxpayers are staying vigilant to stop extremist groups from destroying public education should they ever regain control of the school boards. And the Beacon will continue to shine a journalistic light. 

Read the full report about what’s happening across the nation here: 


It Takes a Village: Expelling Right-Wing Extremism from Bucks County School Districts

Moms for Liberty Bucks County Leaders Think Public Schools Are Trying to Bring Pedophilia Into the Classrooms

Leaked Audio of Vermilion Education Head Jordan Adams’s Presentation to Moms for Liberty

Unmasking Moms for Liberty’s Extremism, with Olivia Little and Diana Leygerman

The Independence Law Center Seeks to Impose its Biblical Worldview on Pennsylvania School Districts

Increased Legal Fees and Student Opt-Outs Tied To Newly Approved Hillsdale 1776 Curriculum At Pennridge

The Right’s Long War on Public Education, with Jennifer Berkshire

Fighting for Students’ and Teachers’ Rights in Central Bucks School District, with ACLU’s Witold Walczak

The Growing Fascist Threat to American Democracy, with Jeff Sharlet

Support progressive, independent media.

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Jenny Stephens

Jenny Stephens is a freelance journalist who has written for a variety of publications, including The Reporter. An avid collector of all things vintage, she resides in the Philadelphia area.

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