NEWPORT NEWS, Va. (WAVY) — A newly released list of so-called “hate groups” identified more than 40 organizations in Virginia, including one based in Newport News.
The Southern Poverty Law Center’s list includes 43 groups and identifies them as anti-immigrant, anti-government, White Nationalist, and more. It includes groups like the Proud Boys, Parents Against Critical Race Theory and the Oathkeepers.
Also on the list is the Constitution Party of Virginia, which is based in Newport News.
“There’s been real concerns about their activities across the board,” said Rachel Carroll Rivas with the SPLC.
Calling them a “fringe social and political movement,” the SPLC calls the group “anti-government,” but the group’s chairman tells 10 On Your Side they are not against government – they’re just in favor of a small government, based on the Constitution.
“Because the Constitution of the United States is all that we need,” said chairman John Bloom. “The Constitution of Virginia is all that we need.”
Bloom believes the Virginia Constitution Party gets unfairly lumped in with national groups.
“We shouldn’t be [on the list],” Bloom said. “I think we got a bad rap from the National Constitution Party, which the Constitution Party of Virginia is no longer a member.”
But Rivas says the Constitution Party chapter is one of several in the country that have been closely aligned with other hate groups.
Overall, Rivas said Virginia ranks pretty high in terms of the number of hate groups.
“States that have a lot of political activity are those that have the most activity from the hard right,” Rivas said. “That does include Virginia, North Carolina, Florida, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Arizona, Texas.
“Virginia is actually in that top tier number of states that has more activity than others, even when we consider the population proportional,” Rivas said.