Posted by Pete DeLaunay
Miri Cypers, Regional Director for the Anti-Defamation League’s Pacific Northwest Office, was joined by her associate, Morgan Moon, who leads their online investigative research efforts provided sobering thoughts about hate, extremism, antisemitism, and racism in our state.

The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) was founded more than 100 years ago. It was formed to raise awareness, collect data, and engage in legislative advocacy to address antisemitism and hate in all forms, with a vision in which no one would experience discrimination – working to protect the civil rights of all people.

“We are in a challenging moment in society with the rise in hate crimes, riots and antisemitism and discrimination targeting the Jewish community, she said. “We are also seeing a steep rise in extremism including the attempted overthrow of the government on January 6.”

The FBI and ADL work closely to monitor and collect data about extremist acts nationwide. The U.S. is experiencing an increased number of hate crimes, rising every year since 2016. Race based hate crimes comprise a majority of the crimes in the U.S. “It reflects a dark under belly that exists in our community,” she said.

ADL’s data collection of hate crimes is used to “shine a bright light on extremism and push it back to the fringes. Just as prejudice is learned it can be overcome."

The ADL’s education program has reached more than 40,000 students in the Seattle area. Schools are creating a more inclusive atmosphere and want to learn how to deal with certain situations when they arise.

ADL seeks partnerships to serve people impacted by hate and engage in Legislative activity including the establishment of a statewide hotline, privacy provisions and to remove the tax exempt status from extremist groups.

Her associate, Morgan Moon, conducts investigative online research for ADL. “We are tracking some of the most hateful content and actions you can imagine,” she began. “We are living in an area where threats are common as an indication of the changing landscape of extremism in America.”

ADL’s Center on Extremism provides resources and expertise to track groups across the ideological spectrum. The group focuses on ideological individuals who may take criminal or violent actions. This information/intelligence is passed on to law enforcement that ultimately apprehend, charge in court and ensure those involved have consequences for their actions, comments and threats. .

Extremist groups in Washington State have increased 107% increase since 2016. The Patriot Front is the most active, responsible for 80% of the propaganda online. Oath Keepers is an anti-government group of 38,000 members in Washington. The Proud Boys round out the threesome as a right wing hate group prone to violence and extremism.

President Beth opened the day’s online meeting at 12:30 followed by Tom Mesaros with the day’s inspiration about the value of adjusting, learning and improving; focusing on how Rotary adapted to include women as valued members in 1978. Along with increased value to Rotary clubs worldwide, adjusting to include women in Rotary clubs has resulted in a better organization.

The day’s short program featured Rotarian and Wellspring Family Services CEO, Heather Fitzpatrick, who provided an update on the ‘house that Rotary built’. She said her organization has aimed at ending family homelessness for more than 132 years. “The primary driver of family homeless is financial hardship with a single parent and young children,” she said. “The pandemic was hard on we developed systems to support them”. She said Wellspring needs volunteers to help support their ‘Family Store’ that is experiencing high demand. She also expressed concerns about government funding for certain services that are beyond their scope, and do not pay enough to cover costs of staff and that results in high turnover. “We are determined to move government entities to cover actual costs,” she said. Wellspring has generated income from their Employee Assistance Program and Employee Stability Programs, that are offered to employees to help them address crisis in their life and or work life.

Larry Granat announced upcoming tours in Africa as part of the Malaria eradication project, that Rotarians may want to join: Zambia for eight days; Uganda for seven nights, including four nights in Tanzania. Contact Larry Granat for more information about hotels, tours, routing and other details.

Next week’s meeting at the Westin and on Zoom will feature President Eduardo Peñalver, Seattle University’s 22nd president; Curt Blake, of SpaceFlight will be featured on Oct 12, 2022 12:30 PM, Rainier Club and on Zoom; and City Attorney Ann Davison will be featured on Oct 19, 12:30p at the Westin and on Zoom.

Mary Goldie announced coming membership engagement opportunities – details on the Rotary website: Museum of Glass tour in Tacoma; Whale Watching, and a tour of the International District.

President Beth closed the meeting by reminding Rotarians about the coming NCAA Women’s Regional Championships, MLB All-Star Game and NBA exhibition games featuring the LA Clippers.


Thanks for another fabulous meeting report, Pete!

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