Newscasts

PNS Daily Newscast - November 24, 2017 


On today’s rundown, all eyes on the G.O.P. tax plan - labor groups say it’s not good for working families, and the view from Michigan is the likely loss of many services across the state; plus, report today on Black Friday and Native American Heritage Day

Daily Newscasts

Bigotry in Montana: Hate Groups Not Just a Problem for the South

Events like the white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Va., often also prompt more people to speak out against racism. (Stephen Maturen/Getty Images)
Events like the white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Va., often also prompt more people to speak out against racism. (Stephen Maturen/Getty Images)
August 22, 2017

HELENA, Mont. – The white supremacist rally in Charlottesville has put the country on high alert for hate groups, and the Southern Poverty Law Center says they aren't just a problem in the southern U.S.

Research from the center has found Montana has the highest concentration of hate groups for its population in the country, with ten considered 'active' statewide.

Rachel Carroll Rivas, co-director of the Montana Human Rights Network, says events like the Charlottesville protests can increase membership for extremist groups, but her organization focuses on stopping people before they join.

"Our work is really with our friends, and neighbors and family, who are maybe unengaged or maybe they're somewhat sympathetic but are probably not necessarily deep into activists as white supremacists," she explains.

Rivas says while the rally in Virginia might inspire white supremacists, events like this usually have the opposite effect - prompting people to speak out against racism as well.

To combat the threat of increasing hate crimes, the Human Rights Network has a rapid-response guide on its website at mhrn.org.

Rivas says another danger after Charlottesville is bringing fringe ideas into the political mainstream, and that people should pay close attention to reactions from politicians.

"We need to make sure that our leaders, our elected officials, are not emboldening the white supremacists and far-right patriot movements with their ideas; and then also that they're not supporting them in ways that maybe don't seem as obvious, through discriminatory policies," she adds.

It might be tempting to meet hate groups on the streets - like the violent clashes between protestors and counter-protestors seen in recent weeks - but Rivas calls that counterproductive.

"We need to not do it on their terms," she says. "We need to sort of switch it - be clear about what it is, but then go forward with actually what we would like our community to look like."

Eric Tegethoff, Public News Service - MT