Dr. Heidi Beirich, Intelligence Project Director of the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), will be a guest speaker at UTC on “The Rising Tide of Hate in America” on Wednesday, March 27, 6 p.m. at the UTC University Center Auditorium. Currently, there are over 1,000 known hate groups operating in the US, including neo-Nazis, Klansmen, white nationalists, neo-Confederates, racist skinheads, black separatists, border vigilantes, Patriot groups, and others. Membership in these groups has grown by 69% in the last decade and their numbers are growing.

Beirich is an expert in domestic terrorism and leads the SPLC’s Intelligence Project — “one of the most respected anti-terror organizations in the world,” according to the National Review.  Beirich oversees the SPLC’s yearly count of the nation’s hate groups to track anti-government groups. She holds a doctorate in political science from Purdue University.

The Southern Poverty Law Center is a nonprofit civil rights organization dedicated to fighting hate and bigotry, and seeking justice for vulnerable members of society.  The SPLC is known for tracking and exposing hate group activities, and also produces and distributes educational materials that promote tolerance and respect to the nation’s schools. The SPLC was founded by civil rights lawyers Morris Dees and Joseph Levin Jr. in 1971, and is based out of Montgomery, Alabama, the birthplace of the modern civil rights movement.

The organization was founded to ensure that the goals of the civil rights movement became a reality for all, and has since won numerous landmark legal victories concerning institutional racism, white supremacist groups, justice for exploited workers, abused prison inmates, and other victims of discrimination.

The SPLC battles racial and social injustice through the tracking of hate groups and domestic terrorists across America, use of the courts to win systematic reforms on behalf of victims, and the provision of free resources and educators that teach school children to reject hate, embrace diversity and respect differences.  Current priorities include children at risk, hate and extremism, immigrant justice, LGBT rights, and teaching tolerance.

These UTC groups are sponsoring this event:  Student Government Association, Lambda Alpha, Alpha Kappa Delta, Office of Equity & Diversity, Department of Sociology, Anthropology and Geography.

For more information email or call:  Dr. H. Lyn Miles, lyn-miles@utc.edu, 770-842-7010 or Dr. Heidi Beirich, splcenter.org, 334-956-8200.

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