A sign from a pandemic protest in Columbus in 2020
According to an annual study released by the Anti-Defamation League's Center on Extremism
, in 2021, extremist groups in Ohio accounted for 270 incidents, including one extremist murder, two police shootouts, 48 antisemitic incidents, and 219 instances of propaganda distribution. In all cases, the data likely represents an undercount but still represents a climb from 2020, which itself saw a record number of incidents.
Data from the ADL shows that the bulk of these incidents were performed by white supremacist and neo-Nazi groups, like Patriot Front, the National Socialist Movement and the antisemitic Goyim Defense League.
Additionally, "In 2021, ADL documented 108 white supremacist events, more than double the 53 events held in 2020, and the most events recorded in any of the past five years. The surge in white supremacist events was partially due to the formation of a network of White Lives Matter activists who have organized small, monthly demonstrations around the country since April 2021. White Lives Matter (WLM), a network of white supremacists who engage in 'pro-white activism' on a particular day each month, were responsible for 31 (or 9 percent) of antisemitic propaganda distributions in 2021. The WLM network was responsible for 3 percent (or 140 incidents) of white supremacist propaganda distributions nationwide and were active in 23 different states," including Ohio.
Cleveland's incidents involving propaganda distribution, and the messaging it contained, were on par with national trends, says the ADL.
"In 2021, white supremacists used propaganda to spread hate, promote themselves, attack their perceived enemies and present themselves as victims of an 'anti-white' society. In some cases, they used current events to legitimize their hateful views," wrote the ADL.
"Shortly after the insurrection against the U.S. Capitol, white supremacists created propaganda pieces presenting January 6 insurrectionist Ashli Babbitt as a martyr for their cause. Similarly, they threw their support behind Kyle Rittenhouse, creating propaganda claiming 'Kyle was right.'"
Massachusetts (298), Texas (336), Virginia (379), and Pennsylvania (488) experienced the most activity, according to the ADL.
The entire report, including the interactive map
, can be viewed here.