The magic number is 18, according to the Southern Poverty Law Center.
The Birmingham-based anti-hate advocacy group keeps a running map of all hate groups operating in the United States. By their count, the country has 917 such organizations. Maryland isn’t a hotbed compared to, say, California (79) or Florida (63), though the Old Line State does have enough to hopefully cause you some concern.
The National Socialist Movement (Nazi Party) and the skinhead groups Be Active Front USA and Crew 38 all operate statewide, according to the SPLC’s list. The Baltimore area harbors seven assorted groups, ranging from black separatists (Nation of Islam, Israelite School of Universal Practical Knowledge) to Ku Klux Klan chapters in Annapolis and Rosedale. (The center says it considers black separatist organizations to be hate groups because many espouse anti-white or anti-Semitic ideologies.)
Following Saturday’s deadly unrest in Charlottesville, many Marylanders have banded together to condemn hate speech and white supremacism. The Sun reported Saturday that several dozen activists gathered in West Baltimore to condemn hate-fueled violence. Hours earlier, 32-year-old Heather Heyer was killed and dozens of others were injured after a 20-year-old neo-Nazi drove his car into a crowd of counter-protesters in the historic Virginia town.
What followed on Sunday evening was a much larger demonstration, with hundreds convening at the Wyman Park Dell to march up Charles Street and call upon the city to remove its Confederate monuments.
Maryland has been bracing for more hate since last November’s election. Attorney General Brian Frosh established a hate crime hotline about a week after Donald Trump was elected president, citing an uptick in hate and bias-related incidents around the state. That number is 1-866-481-8361.
What Frosh said in his announcement in November remains true today: these tense times present an opportunity for Marylanders to come together and stare down their neighbors with hate in their hearts.
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