ALABAMA (WHNT) – The United States has seen a dramatic spike in hate crimes in eight of the 10 largest cities in the country. According to the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), there were more than eight thousand hate crimes “reported” in 2021.

That’s 55% more than the previous year. But experts and advocacy groups say those numbers are probably much higher as the alarming trend continues.

The FBI also says statistics show white supremacists and far-right killers have dominated the extremist homicide totals since 2018. Human rights groups say the recent hate-filled shooting in Buffalo, N.Y. highlights a new generation of radical extremists.   

As police investigate the shooting in Buffalo that killed 10 people and injured others, investigators identified the goal of the shooter as taking as many Black lives as possible after being radicalized by misinformation.  

“It can spur the worst mass violence,” noted Heidi Beirich, co-founder of The Global Project Against Hate and Extremism (GPAHE) in Montgomery. 

The GPAHE has closely tracked and exposed the footprint of white supremacy.  

Bierich says the Buffalo shooting suspect, Payton Gendron, used the violence to promote a radical ideology rooted in racism, known as ‘The Great Replacement.” She said the theory “argues that there is a plot that blames elites, sometimes it’s anti-Semitic and blames Jews, a plot to replace white people in what they consider their own countries with people of color.”

Rachel Carroll-Rivas of the Southern Poverty Law Center says that it’s time for Alabama lawmakers to speak out against this radical hate.  

“We have to say that this is not okay,” Carroll-Rivas said. “We have to stand up against hate and we have to center the people who are being victimized.”  

The Buffalo shooting and other recent racial crimes have spurred lawmakers to pass legislation to combat the rising threat of domestic terrorism.

The U.S. House of Representatives is moving toward passing a domestic terrorism bill that would devote more federal resources to help streamline communication between federal agencies to better identify and respond to the threat of white extremism terrorism. 

Alabama human rights groups say violence like this should be a driving force this election season for people to call for change when submitting their ballot. 

“You combine that with a glorification of weapons and a display of weapons and it’s not surprising that you find an 18-year-old young white man walking into a grocery store and killing Black people in Buffalo,” Bierich said. “I mean, it’s a toxic mix.” 

Carroll-Rivas agreed. 

“It includes our leaders at every single level from the local to the federal level to our business leaders, our elected officials, our faith leaders. because in the silence thrives this hate,” she stated.

While the House works to pass the domestic terrorism bill as quickly as possible, it remains unlikely that it will garner the necessary support from Republican senators, who oppose bolstering the Justice Department’s power in domestic surveillance.