BAY RIDGE — Energized by its highly successful protest against a white nationalist organization’s attempts to recruit new members here last month, the grass-roots group Fight Back Bay Ridge is taking its battle against hate groups a step further.
FBBR is sponsoring an educational forum to discuss ways to combat hate.
The forum will take place on Thursday, Feb. 6, at the Fourth Avenue Presbyterian Church, 6753 Fourth Ave., from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m.
The guest speaker, Daryle Lamont Jenkins, founder and executive director of One People’s Project, a group that works with communities to identify hate groups and assists members of have groups wishing to leave the organizations, will offer tips on how to recognize the signs that hate groups are operating in a local community and how to spot signs that young people are coming under the influence of these groups.
The latter is vitally important, according to FBBR Co-Founder Mallory McMahon, who said the average age of recruits for hate groups is between 15 and 25. “We want to provide help for those who are caught up in these groups and show them how to leave,” she told the Home Reporter.
The Feb. 6 forum is an outgrowth of a major anti-hate rally FBBR and 10 other groups sponsored early last month in response to a pair of disturbing incidents in Bay Ridge.
In one of the incidents, a banner advertising Patriot Front, an organization identified by the Southern Poverty Law Center as a white nationalist hate group, was draped across a pedestrian bridge on the Belt Parkway near 80th Street.
The other incident involved the sighting of a Patriot Front poster in the wall of a building on Third Avenue and 86th Street.
FBBR and other groups responded by forming a human chain across several blocks along Third Avenue and holding hands in a symbol of Bay Ridge’s solidarity against hate groups. The protest took place on Jan. 5.
“Our rally energized everyone in Fight Back Bay Ridge. But we’re realistic. We realize that one rally is not going to change everything. We wanted to take another step, educate people, look deeper at these groups, bring in an expert and give people information on what they can do,” McMahon said.
McMahon said she hopes those who attend Thursday’s informational forum will come away with valuable knowledge of how hate groups operate, including the types of code words group leaders use to communicate with each other while hiding in plain sight.
Participants will obtain practical tools from Jenkins on how to combat these groups, McMahon said.
“We also want to help you know what to do if you are a parent and you suspect your kid is being indoctrinated,” she said.
Jenkins founded One People’s Project in 2000 following a counter-protest mounted against a nationalist movement in New Jersey. He has also helped members of the alt-right leave those groups. His work has been featured in a documentary, “Erasing Hate.” His story inspired a feature-length film in 2018 called “Skin.”
The Southern Poverty Law Center counted 1,020 hate groups in the U.S. in 2018. There were 7,036 hate crime incidents targeting 8,646 victims across the country in 2018, according to the U.S. Department of Justice.
The FBBR forum is important, according to Jenkins. “I believe that this is a discussion that we are going to have to have if we’re going to go forward with this political climate as it is, and we are going to have to get control of it,” he said in a statement.
Anyone planning to attend the forum is asked to RSVP at: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/bay-ridge-forum-with-daryle-lamont-jenkins-tickets-90990558209