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Civil rights strategist Eric K. Ward will speak on why antisemitism forms the theoretical core of white nationalism. In his work, Ward argues that we must come to terms with the centrality of antisemitism to white nationalist ideology so that we can identify the fuel that White nationalist ideology uses to power its anti-Black racism, contempt of people of color and xenophobia.

Eric K. Ward, a nationally recognized expert on the relationship between authoritarian movements, hate violence and preserving inclusive democracy, is the recipient of the 2021 Civil Courage Prize—the first American in the award’s 21-year history. In his 30-plus-year civil rights career, Ward has worked with community groups, government and business leaders, human rights advocates, and philanthropy as an organizer, director, program officer, consultant and board member. Ward’s widely quoted writings and speeches are credited with key narrative shifts. He currently serves as executive vice president of Race Forward, a national organization that catalyzes movement building for racial justice; as a member of the President’s Leadership Council for the Search for Common Good; as chair of The Proteus Fund; and as advisor to the Bridge Entertainment Labs.

Ward is one of a small group of leaders of color who have been working to counter organized hate since the 1980s. During his career, he traveled by bus across thousands of miles of predominantly white, rural areas to support and establish hundreds of anti-hate task forces. Among Ward’s concerns are the backlash against Black America, anti-LGBTQ violence, the growing influence of xenophobia on public policy, antisemitism across the political spectrum and the impact these issues have on the gains of the 1960s Civil Rights movement. Ward is the author of multiple written works credited with key narrative shifts, including Skin in the Game: How Antisemitism Animates White Nationalism.

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