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Home / Press Release / Yates Testifies on Extremist Threat to Americans and Democracy
June 09, 2022

Yates Testifies on Extremist Threat to Americans and Democracy

WASHINGTON D.C. – This morning, Human Rights First’s Senior Researcher on Antisemitism, Dr. Liz Yates, testified before the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee at their hearing “Domestic Extremism in America: Examining White Supremacist Violence in the Wake of Recent Attacks.” It is the Senate’s second hearing this week on white supremacy.

“The bogus ‘Great Replacement’ conspiracy theory underpins and motivates white supremacist terrorism in the United States, including the devastating attack on Black Americans in Buffalo last month,” said Yates. “The mainstreaming of this hateful conspiracy theory is especially powerful because it contributes to white supremacists’ fear that they are facing an existential threat. It actually represents an existential threat to our democracy.” 

“Recent events show extremism’s horrific and deadly costs to our communities -- particularly communities of color,” said Erin Wilson, Human Rights First’s Senior Director, Extremism and Human Rights. “To address this threat, government and civil society must adopt rights-centered approaches that challenge rampant and deliberate disinformation and misinformation in both fringe and mainstream media.”

Researching and challenging white supremacy is central to the work of Human Rights First. For over forty years, Human Rights First has advanced human rights, especially the rights and liberties of refugees, immigrants, and other minorities, often the primary targets of hateful and misleading conspiracy theories.

“These Senate hearings – and the January 6 committee hearings -- are an important step in a national reckoning on white supremacy and domestic extremism, which together threaten human rights and to our national security,” said Yates, “Ultimately, we must directly confront the hate and violence of white supremacy, while protecting the rights and freedoms that racists themselves seek to diminish.”