While bigoted and anti-democracy groups have long had a presence in communities across the country, their willingness to initiate violence and target local governments has grown over the last several years. All over the country, authoritarian groups have used intimidation, misinformation, white nationalist appeals, and outright violence to attack or undermine our democratic institutions and shared values of an inclusive, multiracial democracy.
Local governments are on the front lines facing attacks on democracy, and they are therefore one of the most important places to strengthen inclusive democracy and counter bigoted political violence. This resource is designed to provide a starting point for local government officials who are interested in taking the first step to counter groups working to undermine democracy, as well as for those working to take their existing efforts to the next level. Every jurisdiction is different, and these recommendations are intended to provide ideas, examples, and inspiration for local officials to decide what would work best in their own communities.
Local leaders have the power to confront hate and bigotry. Many have shown bravery and commitment in working to counter these dangerous forces in their communities. At Western States Center, we hope these recommendations provide one more tool to support these critical efforts.