A civil rights watchdog, which tracks hate groups and extremism, says Florida has become a hotbed of hatred.
This month the Southern Poverty Law Center released its annual report, The Year in Hate and Extremism.
It found 1,225 active hate and anti-government extremist groups operating in the U.S. in 2022, a slight increase from 2021.
But Florida saw a nearly 40% jump with 89 hate and extremist groups in the state, second in the country behind only California.
“We’ve been tracking a number of trends in Florida that have been troubling,” said Susan Corke, the Director of Intelligence for the SPLC.
Among those trends the SPLC found troubling include Florida leading the nation in arrests tied to the Capitol insurrection on January 6th, to a 16% increase in the number of hate crimes in the state.
“The pandemic was a particular period where the drivers of radicalization were very present. The isolation, the fear, increasing amounts of time online,” Corke said.
But there’s another Florida trend that caught the eye of the SPLC for the first time, which critics have argued isn’t credible.
Soon after the COVID-19 pandemic shut down schools across the country, parents started fighting back.
Local school board meetings were their battlegrounds.
Moms for Liberty started at school board meetings in Florida and quickly grew to more than 100,000 members in 40 states.
The SPLC listed Moms for Liberty and nearly a dozen other parental-rights organizations as “anti-government extremists.”
Hate map: https://www.splcenter.org/hate-map
Florida hate map: https://www.splcenter.org/hate-map?state=FL
Year in hate: https://www.splcenter.org/year-hate-extremism-2022