How To Stop The Alt-Right's Hate And Intolerance After Charlottesville Riots

The battle to curb America's deep-rooted and systemic issues with racism, hatred and oppression grew violent Saturday, after a white supremacy rally dubbed "Unite the Right" clashed with counterprotesters in Charlottesville, Virginia.

A car plowed through swaths of demonstrators rejecting a group of racists, neo-Nazis and members of the alt-right, killing one person and injuring 19 others. Organizers of the right-wing demonstration provided shields for those in attendance, encouraging them to respond to the counterprotesters with physical aggression.

Related: Fox News Blames The Media, Not Nazis, For Charlottesville And White Supremacy

Across the country, Americans are seeking ways to add their voices to the fight against white supremacy, terror and violence. But the nonprofit advocacy organization Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) tells Newsweek there are better ways to defeat hate groups besides showing up to their rallies—and that clashing with counterprotesters is exactly what the alt-right wants.

"Charlottesville is not the end of this; this is going to continue," Lecia Brooks, the center’s director of outreach, tells Newsweek. “This was just the most coordinated event to date."

The alt-right has a number of upcoming major demonstrations across the nation’s college campuses, including one at University of California, Berkeley, and another at Texas A&M University, where the group has heavily recruited young white males since its inception. While they’re on college campuses, alt-right leaders such as Richard Spencer and Milo Yiannopolous expect to be met with countless demonstrations from activists and the left. "They feed on attention," Brooks says.

But reclaiming the national conversation on intolerance will require activists to drown it out from afar, according to the SPLC’s community guidelines on fighting hate.

"Take part in hosting alternate events far away from [the alt-right’s] scheduled demonstrations, and draw all the attention away from them," Brooks said. "If it's an upcoming event and you can’t make it to the area, standing in solidarity where you may happen to be is just as effective. We have to take back the narrative and take over the story. That would be a beautiful thing."

RTS1BNVA Protesters bearing slogans against white nationalism in New York City's Times Square on August 13. Reuters

The Indivisible movement, created in the aftermath of Trump's shocking electoral victory, announced on Sunday plans for at least 682 "events in solidarity" with the counterprotesters of Charlottesville, writing in a statement to Newsweek that the group will combine with other organizations such as Democracy for America, Women's March and People’s Action "in solidarity with our brave friends in Charlottesville who put themselves at risk to fight against white supremacy."

The SPLC and other advocacy organizations also recommend donating to groups on the ground, organizing against the alt-right and responding to such rallies in real time. Interfaith organizations like Congregate C’ville, a Charlottesville coalition that came together ahead of "Unite the Right" and called on nearly 1,000 religious leaders to travel to the city for the rallies and reject the group’s message, are often some of the most vocal opponents to major alt-right demonstrations, notes the SPLC.

To be sure, drowning out the alt-right with demonstrations across the country and away from their controversial rallies won’t put a definitive end to the movement’s intolerance. That will require a swift rejection of the group’s hateful ideologies and practices from the most powerful people in the world—one that did not occur when the president initially spoke about the demonstrations over the weekend.

After initially describing the rally as an "egregious display of hatred, bigotry and violence on many sides," Trump said Monday groups like the KKK and neo-Nazis are "repugnant" and represent the opposite of American values.

But "this is by no means over," Brooks says, "and it won't be over just because we finally said the right words."

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