DANA POINT (CBSLA) — It’s being called Southern California’s newest hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center.
The group is called Rise Above Movement, or RAM, and is based in Huntington Beach.
Southern Poverty Law Center released a report this week that counted 954 hate groups across the United States — with 75 in California. And more than half, 38, are in the southern part of the Golden State.
Dr. Peter Simi is an associate professor of sociology at Chapman University in Orange. He has done extensive research on white supremacist groups and he says a good chunk of them have had a long history in Orange County.
“In the 80s and 90s in Huntington Beach and the problems they had with skinheads and that area attracting racist skinheads not only from California but across the country,” said Simi.
The study says the number of hate groups grew by four percent last year.
Dr. Simi said there was a rise in them after the election of President Barack Obama but it grew bigger during the 2016 Presidential campaign with Donald Trump.
Last August a white supremacist was charged with the death of a counter protester during the Unite the Right Rally in Charlottesville.
“Charlottesville was a wake up call for some folks that weren’t aware of the continuing problems these groups pose,” said Simi.
The Southern Poverty Law Center suggests the Trump Administration has encouraged the rise of white supremacist groups.
One example is the president reportedly using profanity while referring to parts of Africa, El Salvador and Haiti.
“It’s music to their ears for these white supremacist groups to actually have someone in the White House who holds the highest office in the land speak in those kind of terms which they use on a regular basis,” said Simi.
Last fall President Trump signed a resolution which condemned white supremacist and hate groups after he was criticized for blaming many sides for the violence in Charlottesville.