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Center for American Progress

ADVISORY: Strange Bed Fellows? Anti-immigration Organizations and Hate Groups
Press Advisory

ADVISORY: Strange Bed Fellows? Anti-immigration Organizations and Hate Groups

Panelists:

Mark Potok, Director, Intelligence Project at the Southern Poverty Law Center. Devin Burghart, Director, Building Democracy Initiative, The Center for New Community.

Moderated by:

Henry Fernandez, Senior Fellow at the Center for American Progress

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Anti-immigrant groups have gotten a lot of attention for their cause lately, but what do we really know about these groups? The Center for American Progress welcomes experts who have researched the connections between leading anti-immigrant organizations, white nationalists and racist hate groups. Recent studies by the Center for American Progress indicate that the mainstream press regularly quote national anti-immigration organizations without acknowledging these connections. What have the researchers found and how does this influence the public debate?

Thursday, October 18, 2007 Program: 9:30am to 10:30am Admission is free.

Center for American Progress 1333 H St. NW, 10th Floor Washington, DC 20005 Map & Directions

Nearest Metro: Blue/Orange Line to McPherson Square or Red Line to Metro Center

Biographies

Mark A. Potok is the director of the Southern Poverty Law Center’s Intelligence Project and Editor of its award-winning Intelligence Report magazine. Mark Potok leads one of the most highly regarded operations monitoring the extreme right in the world today. In addition to editing the magazine, Potok acts as a key spokesman for the SPLC, a well-known civil rights organization based in Alabama, and has testified before the Senate, the United Nations High Commission on Human Rights and in other venues. Before coming to SPLC in 1997, Potok spent almost 20 years as an award-winning reporter at newspapers including USA Today, the Dallas Times Herald and The Miami Herald. While at USA Today, he covered the 1993 siege in Waco, the rise of militias, the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing and the trial of Timothy McVeigh. In 1996, his editors nominated him for a Pulitzer Prize for a package of stories on racism in Texas public housing. In his current position, Potok is regularly quoted by major media, scholars and book authors in both the United States and abroad.

Devin Burghart is director of the Center for New Community’s Building Democracy Initiative – a national program to defend civil and human rights based in Chicago. He joined the Center in 1997. Devin is an internationally recognized expert on nativism and white nationalist movements. He has researched, written, and organized on all facets of the anti-immigrant movement for more than a decade. His latest book, Lady Liberty No More: The New Nativism in the United States will be published later this year. He also co-wrote and edited Soundtracks to the White Revolution: White Supremacist Assaults on Youth Music Subcultures, and the Turn It Down Resource Kit – two vital elements in the Center’s hugely successful campaign with young people to address organized racism.

In 2002, he helped develop the groundbreaking Welcoming Iowa Coalition, a statewide organizing model for addressing anti-immigrant sentiment that has now been emulated in several states. He is also campaign director for the Campaign for a United America.

In addition to his work as an analyst, organizer and writer, he is frequently quoted as an expert, appearing in the New York Times, Washington Post, Chicago Tribune, Los Angeles Times, the Wall Street Journal, The Nation, Rolling Stone and numerous other periodicals. He has also made appearances on CNN, MSNBC, CBS News, the Discovery Times Channel, the BBC, and National Public Radio, among other broadcast media outlets.

In 2007, he was named a Petra Foundation Fellow for his distinctive contributions to the rights, autonomy, and dignity of others. Devin presently serves on the board of the Institute for Research and Education on Human Rights and the advisory board of the Institute for the Study of Academic Racism.

Henry Fernandez is a Senior Fellow at the Center for American Progress focusing on state and municipal policy.

Fernandez has worked broadly in local government, including as Economic Development Administrator for New Haven, Connecticut where he oversaw the city’s seven development departments as well as the Port Authority, Development Commission, and Redevelopment Agency. He led downtown and neighborhood growth strategies, negotiated deals, and represented the city to investors, developers, and community groups. He was responsible for lobbying the Board of Aldermen as well as state and federal governments. He supervised housing, retail, higher education, theater, public infrastructure, and commercial development projects totaling over $1 billion.

Fernandez has helped lead local and state political campaigns, including the early campaigns of Ken Reeves, Cambridge, Massachusetts’ first African American mayor and John DeStefano’s primary and general election campaigns for governor of Connecticut.

Fernandez was the founding Executive Director of LEAP, a nationally recognized child development program serving over 1,200 low income youth, primarily public housing residents, in Connecticut. He is principal of Fernandez Advisors, LLC a strategic and management consulting firm counseling businesses, foundations, non-profits, and government agencies. He has been interviewed by a diverse set of media ranging from The New York Times, The Boston Globe, and The Wall Street Journal, to Variety, Black Enterprise, and “Good Morning America;” as well as local print, television, and radio news.

Fernandez graduated from Yale Law School and Harvard College. He taught high school in Zimbabwe, worked for a rural organizing group in Mississippi, and was the Stupski Fellow at Yale Law School. He has served on numerous boards and commissions, including the National Commission on Civic Renewal; the Connecticut Commission on Arts, Culture, and Tourism; and the National Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty. He was Vice-Chair of the Center for Community Change and is Chair of the Campaign for Community Change.

Fernandez lives with his wife Kica Matos and their son in New Haven, Connecticut.