George and Amal Clooney donated $1 million to fight right-wing extremism after Charlottesville violence

George and Amal Clooney have donated $US1 million in a partnership with the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) to help fight hate groups in the US after the violence in Charlottesville, Virginia, according to The Guardian.

The Clooney Foundation for Justice — which has helped fund schools for Syrian refugees in Lebanon in the past — was co-founded by the actor and his wife, a human rights lawyer, in 2016 “to advance justice in courtrooms, classrooms and communities around the world.” The $US1 million grant will help the SPLC monitor and combat extremist groups and white supremacist organisations in the US — the nonprofit organisation currently tracks over 1,600 extremist groups.

“We are proud to support the Southern Poverty Law Center in its efforts to prevent violent extremism in the United States. What happened in Charlottesville, and what is happening in communities across our country, demands our collective engagement to stand up to hate,” George and Amal Clooney said in a statement.

In a controversial rebranding move, the Trump administration decided to steer current government counter-extremism efforts that target all forms of violent extremism — including violence committed by white supremacy groups — toward a sole focus on countering Islamic extremism. Trump’s decision to cut funding that targets right-wing extremism has left a void that organisations like the Clooney Foundation are working to fill.

Trump has faced plenty of backlash following his lukewarm response to the violence that transpired after white nationalists staged a rally in Charlottesville, Virginia. SPLC president Richard Cohen praised the Clooney Foundation’s support and condemned Trump’s campaign for enabling the radical right.

“Like George and Amal Clooney, we were shocked by the size, ugliness, and ferocity of the white supremacist gathering in Charlottesville,” said Cohen. “It was a reflection of just how much Trump’s incendiary campaign and presidency has energised the radical right. We are deeply grateful to the Clooney Foundation for standing with us at this critical moment in our country’s fight against hate.”

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