Hate continues to be a popular emotion among some people and groups in Pennsylvania. Long a hotbed of hate groups our communities have made progress eradicating some of these extremist elements but they continue in pockets. According to the website for the Southern Poverty Law Center, which tracks hate groups, there are about ten active organizations devoted to hate scattered in various chapters. You can go here to read more about the types of hate groups. I will not link to any of these groups but will to organizations explaining them and fighting what they do.
One is the Council of Conservative Citizens. You can read more about them here. This is an outgrowth of the CCA, the infamous segragationist group from the South which former Virginia Senator George Allen was exposed to be a supporter of this fall. That knowledge helped lead to his defeat. The Citizens Councils of America was and is a blatantly racist organization. The Law Center says there are chapters in Allison Park and Revere.
The Keystone State Skinheads seem to be the most violent group operating. These vicious youths sometimes use gruesome tactics to severely maim and kill. Three from Scranton were charged with ethnic intimidation against a Black man. Two more are suspected of a stabbing in Wilkes-Barre. They are reported to have chapters in Altoona, Bethlehem/Easton, Chester County, Greensburg, Harrisburg, Philadelphia, and Pittsburgh in addition to the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton area.
The National Socialist Movement bills itself as "America's Nazi Party." That's a bit scary. They are neo-Nazis and are based in Minneapolis. They have chapters in Bethlehem, Myerstown and Philadelphia. They would deny U.S. citizenship to Jews, homosexuals and all non-whites. It is an outgrowth of the old American Nazi Party.
The venerable old Ku Klux Klan is also active. I know they have chapters in Boyertown and Quarryville in addition to Boothwyn, Johnstown, New Castle and Saint Thomas. We're all familiar with the Klan and their cross burning, segregationist philosophy and use of terror. They remain a force though there have been some successes against them in recent years.
According to the ADL the American Thule Society is another racist skinhead group. Their goal is more politically oriented according to one of their websites. Again, this is a group of white supremacists. They have chapters in Cleona and Philadelphia.
Other groups with a presence in Pennsylvania include the Aryan Nations (Lemoyne), the New Black Panther Party (Philadelphia), the Nation of Islam (Philadelphia and Pittsburgh), and the White Power Liberation Front (Wilkes-Barre/Scranton). I couldn't find any information online about the White Power Liberation Front but it's safe to guess they're into white supremacism also.
The fact our state continues to harbor so many hate filled, white supremacist organizations is disheartening. These people sow terror as surely as Osama's legions. Whether it's ethnic intimidation, cross burnings, beatings and stabbings or simply constant harassment, they make people's lives miserable. Unfortunately too many of our law enforcement "professionals" sympathize with these groups and often look the other way while they perform their nasty deeds.
One success story in the fight against hate is Project Lemonade. The concept is to make something sweet from something sour: hate. In Boyertown, infamous for its hate groups and Klan activity, citizens formed a Project Lemonade and collected donations each time the local Klan distributed fliers in the town. The funds were used to buy books on tolerance for the local library.
Progress has been made but, as the Southern Poverty Law Center illustrates we still have much work to do to eradicate hate.