In the past six months, Vanguard America—a white supremacist group—has expanded beyond Internet-based activity to attending violent protests nationwide, distributing propaganda, and intimidating minority populations. The leader of the group claims there are approximately 200 members in 20 states, including New Jersey.
On August 12, Vanguard America members attended a rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, protesting the planned removal of a Confederate statue. During the rally, James Alex Fields Jr.—who drove his vehicle into a group of counter-protesters, killing one and injuring 19—was photographed with Vanguard America members, wearing their signature uniform of khakis and a white polo, and carrying a shield with an image affiliated with the group. Vanguard America has since stated that Fields is not a member of the organization.
Over the last year, Vanguard America has distributed fliers nationally to recruit new members—primarily targeting educated males 18-24. The group has also posted fliers at universities in at least 10 states—including at Rutgers University, New Brunswick (Middlesex County) and Princeton University, Princeton (Mercer County).
The group actively distributes hate-related propaganda targeting synagogues, Islamic centers, and cultural institutions to intimidate minority populations. On July 1, a Vanguard America banner was posted in front of a Holocaust memorial in Lakewood Township (Ocean County). The banner stated, “(((HEEBS))) will not divide us,” referencing a derogatory name for Jews and the echo—three parentheses with a name inside—used to label individuals as Jewish.
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