RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) – The events in Charlottesville are putting a renewed focus on hate groups in North Carolina.
The Southern Poverty Law Center tracks hate groups in the United States and its most recent report says there are more than 900 hate groups across the country, including 31 in North Carolina.
The hate groups in North Carolina include white supremacist, anti-immigrant and black separatists groups.
Experts these hate groups can be tough to track, but organizations that keep tabs on these kinds of groups say the number of hate groups in the U.S. has ticked up since the 2016 presidential campaign began.
“The tragic reality is that hate groups have always been present in North Carolina,” said Director of Research at NC Policy Watch Rob Schofield. “We’re seeing a rash of hate groups emerge, they’re being louder, and more visible online and in public venues.”
Schofield claims President Donald Trump is partially responsible for the recent rise of hate groups. He says the president’s anti-immigration and anti-Muslim rhetoric enables these hate groups to speak out.
In response to the events in Charlottesville, Trump denounced the white supremacist groups but also claims counter-protestors are also to blame for the violence.
“So I only tell you this, there are two sides to a story. I thought what took place was a horrible moment for our country. A horrible moment. But there are two sides,” the president said.