The data scientist exposing US white supremacists: ‘This is how you fight Nazis’

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10/02/2020

The far-right Proud Boys group, whom Donald Trump refused to denounce this week, have been linked to assaults on protesters, white supremacist organizing, the spread of Covid misinformation and other threats against Americans. Emily Gorcenski has been tracking them every step of the way. Since 2018, the 38-year-old data scientist has been exposing members of the far right and cataloguing white supremacist violence across the US through her site, First Vigil. The project grew out of the attack on her Charlottesville, Virginia, community the year prior – the deadly Unite the Right rally, which brought Gorcenski face to face with neo-Nazis bearing torches and swastikas, shouting racist and transphobic vitriol at her. One of her attackers was later revealed to be an active service US marine. Using court files and other public records, the anti-fascist researcher has catalogued hundreds of criminal cases, connected the dots of dangerous neo-Nazi networks, and revealed links that journalists and authorities have missed. These days, it can be difficult to keep up. Far-right violence has escalated dramatically under Trump, who has ignored his own government’s domestic terrorism warnings and encouraged vigilante violence against leftists.

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