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White Supremacist Propaganda More Than Tripled In Mass. Last Year, Anti-Defamation League Says

Screenshot of the Anti-Defamation League's "H.E.A.T. Map."
Screenshot of the Anti-Defamation League's "H.E.A.T. Map."

White supremacist propaganda distribution rose by more than 300% in Massachusetts last year, and the state saw the fourth-highest level of that kind of activity of any state in the country, according to new data released Wednesday by the Anti-Defamation League.

ADL said it received reports of 2,713 cases of white supremacist literature distribution across the country in 2019 — more than double the 1,214 cases reported in 2018.

In Massachusetts, the 148 cases reported in 2019 accounted for about 5.5% of the nationwide total. Only California, Texas and New York accounted for a greater share of cases, according to the ADL.

The nearly 150 reports in Massachusetts represented a 323% increase over the 35 incidents of white supremacy literature distribution in the state during 2018. Thirty of those incidents last year occurred on a college campus.

"Our data clearly demonstrates that white supremacists are doubling down on the distribution of propaganda across the U.S. and in our region, with a particular focus on campuses and the public square," Robert Trestan, ADL New England regional director, said.

"By injecting a barrage of racist, anti-Semitic and anti-LGBTQ fliers, stickers, banners and posters into the public square and on campus," he added, "white supremacists are attempting to normalize their messages of bigotry and to bolster recruitment, all while hiding behind the cloak of anonymity, never having to face the consequences of their hate and intolerance."

ADL said three groups — Patriot Front, American Identity Movement and the New Jersey European Heritage Association — were responsible for approximately 90% of the nationwide activity.

ADL's H.E.A.T. Map -- displaying instances of hate, extremism, anti-Semitism and terrorism — details many of the incidents reported in Massachusetts.

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