A group that helps people leave white supremacist organizations recently lost a huge federal grant. Officials with Life After Hate say the news was upsetting but not surprising.
The Department of Homeland Security rescinded a $400,000 grant awarded by the Obama Administration to Life After Hate. DHS is refocusing its efforts on combating terrorism, according to a statement. The department awarded $10 million to 26 police and community organizations, none of which specifically counters activities from the so-called alt-right.
Angela King is deputy director of Life After Hate and she’s been spending a lot of time thinking about how history is in some ways repeating itself.
“We’re living right now in an era very similar to pre-Holocaust sentiment and it’s disturbing,” she says.
Kings says she sees similarities between anti-Semitism during WWII and a rise in anti-minority hate crimes today. It’s what fuels her work with Life After Hate. King is a former neo-Nazi. The Southern Poverty Law Center reports there were more than 1,300 hate or bias-related crimes between Nov. 9 and February 7, and King says President Donald Trump’s administration has been too quiet on the issue.
“Silence on certain things is deafening,” King says. “When we have hate crimes and we actually have to nudge our so-called leader into even commenting on them, that’s a problem.”
In the last year, the group has provided support to hundreds, if not thousands of people including those trying to leave far-right groups, case workers, counselors and family members of people who may be involved in the white supremacist movement, she says. Life After Hate has launched a fundraising campaign to help make up for the loss of the grant.