On Tuesday, May 17, the media was given a preview of the three-part series, “Hate in America” at an invitation-only screening at the Newseum in Washington, D.C.”Hate in America” airs Saturday, May 21on Investigation Discovery. The series is a collaboration between Investigation Discovery in partnership with The Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) who opened their case files to the network.
Morris Dees, Jr. co-founder and chief trial counsel for the Southern Poverty Law Center introduced the film and reminded the audience to, “Go without hate, but not without rage and you will heal the world.”
Following the preview, there was a Q&A moderated by host Tony Harris featuring speakers a panel discussion that included Congressman Jim Clyburn, Richard Cohen (President, SPLC), Heidi Beirich (Intelligence Project Director, SPLC), Alana Simmons, granddaughter of Rev. Daniel Simmons who was slain at Emmanuel AME Church and Jonathan Hutson, a former spokesman for the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence.
Congressman Clyburn spoke about hate crimes and the divisiveness of presidential campaign rhetoric. “We must break our silence. ” he said. He evoked laughter as he recalled that he met his wife in jail in 1960 when they were both fighting for civil rights.
One of the high points of the evening was hearing from Alana Simmons whose grandfather was slain at Emmanuel AME Church. During the killer’s arraignment she coined the phrase “hate won’t win” which has become symbolic of the forgiveness the victims were able to show after such a great tragedy. In the aftermath, Simmons founded the Hate Won’t Win foundation. Her thought on fighting hate were buoyed by her faith. She also felt in order to combat social media should be leveraged and says the internet should be used to radicalize everyone to love everyone in the similar fashion that the killer was radicalized to hate.The preview was moving and peeled back the layers of hate and its various forms. However, it also showed those who have been and continue to stand up and speak up about hate-based violence and victory. It is a timely series in light of the current concerns about race and ethnic relations in America.
The series will include “Lone Wolves,” which explores the rise of “lone wolf” attackers, focusing on the anti-Semitic attack at the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum in 2009, the 2014 ambush of two police officers and a bystander by anti-government extremists in Las Vegas, and the 2015 white supremacist tragedy at Emanuel AME Church in Charleston, South Carolina. Hate in America will also explore the anti-government radicals in Flathead Valley, Montana.
The Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) has been one of the groups fighting for racial and social justice since 1971, and teamed up with Investigation Discovery and Emmy award-winning journalist Tony Harris for ID’s latest series. Through its partnership with SPLC’s legendary founder, Morris Dees ID will be the first network to produce a series showcasing stories from the organization’s case files in a new series.
Congressman Charles Rangel and Congressman John Conyers also attended the screening.
“Hate in America” airs Saturday, May 21 @ 8 p.m. EST on Investigation Discovery.