A nonprofit Civil Rights organization that handles discrimination warns that hate-based violence is on the rise in America.
According to the Southern Poverty Law Center, there are 1,018 hate groups in America, with 55 of them in Florida.
Since 2000, the national count has increased by 54 percent. SPLC said the surge has been fueled by fears of Latino immigration and more recently, by the election of the country’s first African-American president.
“Just to know that the amount of hate groups in Florida is so plentiful, it worries me as a father, husband and resident of this state,” said Thomas Raba of Jacksonville.
Groups like the Knights Party, better known as the Ku Klux Klan, believe white Christians are being robbed of the nation that belongs solely to them. They claim to fight with non-violence, but history and statistics have shown otherwise.
“There is a race war against whites, but our people – my white brothers and sisters – will stay committed to a non-violent resolution,” said Pastor Thomas Robb, the national director of the Knights.
Tory Spencer, a freshmen student from Miami, said, “Hate groups stretch beyond just racial issues.
The groups that SPLC monitors are actively registering members, publicizing and protesting about prejudices related to race, religion, sexual orientation and other characteristics.
“Hate group activities can include criminal acts, speeches, rallies, meetings, leafleting, marches and publishing,” said the SPLC.
Of the 55 hate groups in Florida, the most recognized are the Neo-Nazis, skinheads, white nationalists, Christian identity, anti-Muslims, Holocaust denialists, black separatists, Neo Confederate and the Ku Klux Klan.
There is an active Ku Klux Klan group in Live Oak, Fla., approximately an hour and 25 minutes from Tallahassee.
“Somewhere here in the city I raise my kids in, the grocery store I shop at and the park where I walk my dog, I could encounter Ku Klux Klan members,” said Laura Sanders, a resident of Live Oak. “The thought of that sends chills through my spine and brings back fear, the same fear I felt as a child.”