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First Vigil Puts White Supremacists on Notice
Jason Tashea writes for the ABA Journal, “A new online data project is tracking far-right extremism by collecting and aggregating federal and state criminal cases against extremists, including white supremacists and neo-Nazis.” The project, First Vigil, was created by data scientist Emily Gorcenski in response to protests at the 2017 Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville, Va. She and another counter-protester had been pepper-sprayed by a white supremacist, who then spent several months in jail. “It’s a very brutal process to be a victim in the criminal justice system,” she tells Tashea. “What we wanted was a shared resource where people could visualize what’s going on.”
Tashea continues, “First Vigil follows the lifecycle of state and federal criminal cases against those known for their affiliation with right-wing extremist groups. Already tracking 75 cases pertaining to 54 defendants dating back to early 2017, [Gorcenski] says it’s been a challenge to standardize the information she is pulling from federal, state and local data sources.
“However, she hopes that the new project can be a resource for journalists, researchers and victims assaulted by right-wing extremists.” She says that First Vigil “can be used to tell the story about white supremacy more accurately.”
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