Reports of white supremacist incidents hit all-time high across New England last year
BOSTON — White supremacist propaganda activity surged in Massachusetts and across New England last year, as reported incidents hit an all-time high for the region and in the U.S.
That’s according to the Anti-Defamation League’s annual assessment of reported white supremacist propaganda incidents.
The ADL recorded 6,751 incidents nationally last year, a 38% jump over the 4,876 incidents recorded during 2021.
The five states that comprise the ADL New England region saw a whopping 96% spike in recorded white supremacist propaganda activity.
In addition to the July march through Boston by white nationalist hate group Patriot Front, New England propaganda activities included gatherings by white supremacists with antisemitic, racist, anti-immigrant and anti-LGBTQ+ messages at local bookstores, libraries, theaters, shelters and hospitals across the region.
“White supremacist propaganda has the dual and devious purpose to intimidate specific groups and lure others to join their hateful activities,” said Peggy Shukur, ADL New England interim regional director. “Too many of these groups have set New England as their home base.”
Other white supremacist incidents last year included displays of racist and antisemitic banners at Boston’s St. Patrick’s Day parade and on the Route 1 overpasses in Danvers and Saugus on Sept. 11.
Ahead of this week’s St. Patrick’s Day parade, the city is on high alert to keep out the hate groups.
“With deliberation and intention, they target their hate against Jewish, Black, Muslim and LGBTQ+ communities and non-white immigrants through despicable and disruptive stunts on freeway overpasses and public events, including the St. Patrick’s Day parade,” Shukur said.
“While their message and often their faces are often intentionally disguised, their goal is to inspire and incite people to act,” Shukur added. “In the face of ever increasing propaganda activities in the region, we have witnessed communities uniting throughout New England to reject this hate. We also welcome efforts to hold these groups accountable for the harm they inflict on those targeted.”
In 2022, hateful propaganda appeared in every state in ADL’s New England region and each state recorded an increase in such activity: Massachusetts had 465 incidents, up 72%; New Hampshire had 183 incidents, up 383%; Rhode Island had 142 incidents, up 74%; Vermont had 131 incidents, up 64%; and Maine had 30 incidents, up 50%.
There were 207 incidents involving white supremacist propaganda in Connecticut last year, according to the ADL, representing a 115 percent increase over the previous year.
That puts Connecticut at ninth in the nation in terms of the number of incidents involving white supremacist propaganda, according to the ADL.
Incidents included white supremacist stickers and flyers being distributed and found at state parks, flyers with racist, homophobic and antisemitic messages found in residents’ yards, and one group placing flyers on car windows in Waterbury live on the internet.
Patriot Front and Nationalist Socialist Club were the most active groups across the region, with Patriot Front being responsible for 909 of the 951 incidents in New England. Massachusetts ranked second only to Texas in the number of recorded propaganda activities in 2022.
ADL New England urges the public to report incidents at www.adl.org/reportincident.