The violent white supremacist rallies in Charlottesville, Virginia, earlier this month have inspired The Clooney Foundation for Justice to grant $1 million to the Southern Poverty Law Center to combat hate groups in the United States.
“We are proud to support the Southern Poverty Law Center in its efforts to prevent violent extremism in the United States. What happened in Charlottesville, and what is happening in communities across our country, demands our collective engagement to stand up to hate,” George and Amal Clooney said in a statement Tuesday.
The Oscar-winning actor and his international human rights attorney wife launched their foundation in 2016 to advance justice in courtrooms, classrooms and communities around the world. They both serve as presidents.
“Like George and Amal Clooney, we were shocked by the size, ugliness, and ferocity of the white supremacist gathering in Charlottesville,” SPLC president Richard Cohen said. “It was a reflection of just how much Trump’s incendiary campaign and presidency has energized the radical right. We are deeply grateful to the Clooney Foundation for standing with us at this critical moment in our country’s fight against hate.”
The SPLC is a non-profit group that tracks more than 1,600 extremist groups in the United States.
Earlier this month, a group of white supremacists and neo-Nazis gathered in Charlottesville to protest the planned removal of a statue of Robert E. Lee at the University of Virginia. The presence of counter-protesters spurred more gatherings throughout the weekend. On Saturday, Aug. 12, a “Unite the Right” rally participant drove his car into a crowd of counter protesters, killing Heather Heyer, 32, and injuring several more.
The Clooneys recently donated $3.5 million to aid Syrian refugee children.