LANSING, Mich. (WLNS) – Civil rights activists are speaking out tonight after a controversial poster was found throughout a mid-Michigan city.
This comes at a tense time for immigration, as President Trump demands a wall be built along the southern border.
The message on this poster is to “Keep America American” and “Report Any and All Illegal Aliens”.
Studies from the Southern Poverty Law Center show that the annual count of hate groups in 2018 is higher than it’s been in more than two decades, so local activists are working to combat this by calling the groups out.
“We want to make sure the community knows that such statements will not serve to divide the community,” said Agustin Arbulu, the executive director of the Michigan Department of Civil Rights.
With acts of hate in our country on the rise, Arbulu says the poster found throughout Lansing is damaging to the city’s culture.
“Hate is something that we deplore and condemn,” said Arbulu.
In 2018, officials with the Southern Poverty Law Center say they counted a total of 1,020 hate groups in the United States.
This number is on the rise from previous years, being 954 in 2017 and 917 in 2016.
Patriot Front, the group behind the poster, prides itself in maintaining heritage to their European ancestors who they say conquered America.
“If we don’t allow them to be important, they won’t be important,” said Oscar Castaneda with the Action of Greater Lansing.
Castaneda says the best way to combat hate is to ignore it.
“We just need to show these people that we don’t care about them and just show them that the Lansing people is about something else, and something different,” said Castaneda.
But in the meantime, Arbulu says they’re going to continue to work to raise awareness about issues they say are unjust.
“We have to be able to speak out when it occurs and it’s important so that we address it and really in many ways aim to shame it,” said Arbulu.
Arbulu also mentioned that in Michigan, there’s not a set way to keep track of incidents like this one, being that they’re not necessarily criminal.
But his organization, among others, are working to create a database that would do just that.