As Mainers, we want to believe we live among tolerant, level-headed and community-minded people. And, for the most part, we have comfort that this is the mostly the case of our home state. But, to ignore the hate that exists in our state is to accept hate as a part of our Maine culture.

According to the Southern Poverty Law Center, a nonprofit dedicated to fighting social and racial justice, there are more than 800 active hate groups across America -- including three active hate groups here in the state of Maine.

The organization identified these groups as active by having acted upon their extreme beliefs, including racism, in the past year.

Their website includes a 'Hate Map' that tracks the hate groups across the nation, sharing the name of the groups and the towns/cities where these groups exist. The tracker enables you to see the history of the hate groups tracked since 2000.

Here in Maine, the currently active hate groups are all White Nationalist linked. Two of these groups have a specific location identified while one is listed as existing statewide. The website shared the three active groups as the following:

  • The Colchester Collection: connected with White Nationalists located in Machias
  • New Albion: a white ethnostate plan; Maine connection with Jackman Town Manager Thomas Kawcyznski who now lives in Greenville. Located in Jackman.
  • Patriot Front: another White Nationalist Group; This one is a better known group that was created after the rally in Charlottesville in 2017. They are known for racist flyers and 'activism'. Marked as statewide.

You can even see Maine's more recent history of active hate groups which bottomed out at 0 in 2001 and seemed to peak in 2011 at 6 hate groups and 2018 with 5 hate groups.

According to the Anti-Defamation League, Maine has seen 309 hate crimes since 2011.  136 of those crimes were race-based, 61 were religion-based and 101 were sexuality-based.

An article from the American Psychological Association titled 'Understanding and Preventing Hate Crimes' sheds some light on why people turn towards a tendency of hate.  The article uses the aftermath of the September 11th attacks as examples of how hate groups develop and what is important to understand about the people who turn toward these tendencies.

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