Press Release

ADL Joins King Family and Civil Rights Leaders in Briefing President Biden and VP Harris on Priorities to Confront Domestic Extremism

Following March on Washington anniversary commemoration and racist shooting in Jacksonville, FL, leaders urge additional action on domestic extremism

Washington, D.C., August 28, 2023 … At a meeting at the White House today attended by President Biden and Vice President Harris held in the wake of this weekend’s 60th Anniversary of the March on Washington and the hate-fueled racist attack in Jacksonville, Florida, leaders from ADL (the Anti-Defamation League) joined with the King family, Rev. Al Sharpton and other civil rights leaders in urging the Administration to remain fully committed to building a comprehensive plan to fight hate, antisemitism and extremism – including one that specifically addresses the ongoing, lethal threat of hate-motivated violence.

“This weekend’s racially motivated shooting in Jacksonville, which happened just as we were marching on the National Mall for an end to racism and hatred, is a sad and sobering reminder of the uphill battle ahead of us. It demonstrates the lethal threat still posed by far-right extremists six decades after the original march,” said Jonathan A. Greenblatt, ADL CEO and National Director. “The normalization of extremism and mainstreaming of hate affects all of us, and reminds us of the shared bonds between the African Americans and Jewish Americans. Indeed, we see this attack on the Black community as an attack on the Jewish community because none of us can be safe if all of us aren’t all safe. Today, we joined together in calling on the White House to dedicate new resources to combat the threat of violent extremism.”

At the White House meeting, ADL joined civil rights leaders in thanking the President for his leadership fighting extremism, which has so far included delivering comprehensive plans to fight domestic terrorism, anti-AAPI Hate and antisemitism. They also urged the President to take further action in the aftermath of the racist shooting in Jacksonville, where a white gunman who, according to authorities, “hated Black people” opened fire at a store in Jacksonville, killing three people.

Specifically, ADL urged the President to take the following steps:

  • Create a Czar dedicated to fighting domestic extremism and hate motivated violence, including fully implementing the National Strategy for Countering Domestic Terrorism. This senior-level czar would ensure momentum on the issues and promote coordination to ensure that the strategy is executed in full.
  • Publicly commit to addressing extremism in government service, given that a number of violent extremist groups and leaders, including white supremacists and anti-government extremists, are explicit about their desire to recruit current and former law enforcement personnel.
  • Address online hate through a Presidential Study Directive made up of public and private entities, to conduct an urgent comprehensive review of the existing mechanisms in government to tackle online hate, extremism and racism while identifying specific actions for the federal government to undertake to tackle the issue in a coordinated manner.

ADL also supported its partners in asking the White House to reconvene United We Stand summits in communities around the country, dedicated resourcing for DEI in the federal government, and a strong government response to the Jacksonville shooting. 

“This weekend, we all came together to stand as one in the ongoing struggle to live up to the promise of who we are as a nation,” said Ben Sax, ADL Board Chair, who represented ADL at the briefing alongside Greenblatt. “And yet in that same moment a shooter was motivated by hate to murder innocent people Florida. We need to say: Enough is enough.”

Present at the meeting, in addition to ADL leaders, were the heads of major civil rights organizations including members of the King Family – among them Rev. Dr. Bernice King, Martin Luther King III, Arndrea Waters King and Yolanda Renee King – Rev. Al Sharpton from the National Action Network, Asian Americans Advancing Justice, the National Urban League, the National Coalition on Black Civic Participation. The Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, the NAACP Legal Defense Fund, the National Council of Negro Women, the AFL-CIO and UnidosUS.

ADL is the leading anti-hate organization in the world. Founded in 1913, its timeless mission is “to stop the defamation of the Jewish people and to secure justice and fair treatment to all.” Today, ADL continues to fight all forms of antisemitism and bias, using innovation and partnerships to drive impact. A global leader in combating antisemitism, countering extremism and battling bigotry wherever and whenever it happens, ADL works to protect democracy and ensure a just and inclusive society for all.