WASHINGTON, D.C. (NEXSTAR) – The protests and violence in Charlottesville once again shine a spotlight on white supremacy groups, but those groups aren’t isolated to one area of the country.
There are several groups classified as hate groups in Ohio, but there are also people working to fight that racism.
The Southern Poverty Law Center identifies 35 hate groups in the state on its “hate map,” including the Ku Klux Klan (KKK), Aryan Strikeforce and the Daily Stormer.
“This stuff is becoming increasingly legitimized, but we need to be pushing back at every turn,” said Vanita Gupta.
Gupta, president and Chief Executive Officer of the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, said the Charlottesville violence is disturbing, but the existence of hate groups should not be surprising.
“There have been white supremacy groups that have existed in our midst. What’s uniquely shocking right now is how they’re coming out of the shadows,” she said.
Critics said President Donald Trump has emboldened white supremacy groups by taking two days to call out the KKK and neo-nazis by name. Supporters say the president has made it clear he opposes all racism and violence.
Ohio lawmakers responded quickly to the violence in Charlottesville.
Senator Rob Portman tweeted that the attack was domestic terrorism, saying, “We must all condemn hatred and white nationalism.”
Senator Sherrod Brown called it “senseless violence” and said, “we must all condemn white nationalism.”
Gupta said real change starts at a local level.
“It’s about holding local officials, state officials accountable in elections — Do you stand for the American values we stand for?” she said
The Southern Poverty Law Center said there a total 917 hate groups around the country.