The Courage of Eric K. Ward

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”’We used early databases to assemble a picture of who these right-wingers were,’ says Jeff Malachowsky, a longtime philanthropist and social justice activist who founded WSC. In looking into who was funding them, who the organizers were and who attended their meetings, Malachowsky says WSC researchers found that the various groups were often backed and trained by the same people who were building what today are understood as precursors of the Tea Party and the alt-right. Malachowsky recalls first meeting Ward when he came down from Eugene and visited the office. ‘He was an interesting looking guy; he had dreadlocks and army pants that were cut off into frayed shorts. A big guy with a giant tattoo on his calf and a slow, wandering eye,’ says Malachowsky. Ward joined the WSC leadership program and became part of what Malachowsky calls ‘quite a crew of counter-right-wing researchers and trackers.’ This included Scot Nakagawa, later senior partner of ChangeLab, an Asian American-led racial justice laboratory; Tarso Luís Ramos, today executive director of Political Research Associates; and Glenn Harris, president of Race Forward, a bicoastal nonprofit dedicated to advancing racial justice through research, media and leadership training.”

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