The Media School

Abby Ang, local activist, founder of No Space for Hate, exposes local hate groups and protests white supremacy

April 1st, 2021 by
Photograph courtesy of Abby Ang

Founder of No Space for Hate Abby Ang leads an organization that protests white supremacy in Southern Indiana. Ang has contributed to many activist efforts by different organizations throughout her graduate school career to combat racism in Bloomington.

In August 2019, the scene at the Bloomington Farmer’s Market alarmed Abby Ang. While she protested Schooner Creek Farm, a vendor at the market who support white supremacy, she stood fearful. Armed members of a conservative militia group counter-protested her condemnation of the white supremacists. Some singled-out Ang by name.

Ang was known for protesting white supremacist groups. Just three months after she began protesting Schooner Creek Farm, she no longer attended the Bloomington Farmer’s Market, worried for her safety. The presence of the President of American Identity Movement, a neo-Nazi white supremacist extremist group concerned her especially.

“People are a lot of talk,” she said. “But there’s always a risk of actual physical harm and violence involved. It’s hard to know when the talk will actually become action. I think that scares me the most.”

Ang, 28, is the founder of No Space for Hate, an organization that provides information about local hate groups and petitions to remove their social media accounts and other online platforms. It also provides community relief in Bloomington.

Since COVID-19, she expanded the group to host the Monroe County Mutual Aid network, which supplies vital resources such as aid with shelter or food for those affected by the pandemic.

Ang established the group in May 2019, after white supremacist flyers circulated the Bloomington community.

“It felt like there was a real gap in people’s awareness of what kind of white supremacist activity is actually going on,” she said.  “It was mainly a need to educate people and keep them up to date on who these white supremacist groups are so they could avoid them.”

Photograph by Esha Gourikrishna

Abby Ang, founder of No Space for Hate, found herself at her busiest when protests occurred at the Bloomington Farmers’ Market in August 2019. She protested the vendor, Schooner Creek Farms, after the owner was revealed to be a white supremacist.

Since March 2020, Ang shifted her work to mainly online formats because of COVID-19.

“What has really helped is that I’m not currently in Bloomington,” she said. “The risk is kind of mitigated, but I have to continue to be careful.”

Ang keeps her location undisclosed for her personal safety.

Ang did not always feel a personal need to fight against white supremacy. Growing up in Cumberland, Rhode Island, diversity was not an issue she encountered. In Bloomington, she felt isolated.

“It was definitely a different experience,” she said. “Bloomington, Indiana, in some ways, feels like a culture shock. It’s a lot more white, a lot less diverse.”

After moving to Bloomington in 2014, Ang felt tokenized as an Asian American woman.

“People often view things in a black and white lens,” she said. “They don’t think about it in more complex terms, and that means a lot of work by Asian American people gets ignored. That definitely wears down on me.”

Ang is also involved in many other organizations working for political activism.

Jessica Hoopengardner, fellow activist, worked with Ang on the board of directors for the local chapter of the National Organization for Women (NOW) in 2020. She said she saw a lot of the coalition building Ang did in Bloomington.

“I really see her work as connecting people and groups to grow a stronger organizing community,” Hoopengardner said.

“The white supremacist threat isn’t really going away. I try to take breaks as much as possible, but that’s easier said than done.” – Abby Ang, founder, No Space for Hate

Since COVID-19, Ang was surprised to find her friends sending her resources on anti-Asian racism, brought on by racial tensions towards Asian Americans.

“When COVID started, a lot of people were very well meaning,” she said. “They started sending me articles on how to educate myself on anti-Asian racism and I was like, ‘I’m Asian, I get this already, I don’t need to learn more about it.’”

Ang finds self-care to be difficult when leading her organization, where the work seems never-ending.

“The white supremacist threat isn’t really going away,” she said. “I try to take breaks as much as possible, but that’s easier said than done.”

Ang continues to work towards her doctorate in English Literature at IU. After graduation, she hopes to find a job outside of Indiana to take a break from her activist work. For now, she continues to research white supremacist activity and expand the Monroe County Mutual Aid organization through government aid.

“The insurrection on Jan. 6 actually proved that white supremacy is a threat to be taken seriously,” she said. “For the future, I hope we continue to do the research we do.”