It takes big ideas to combat a beast as big as hate. Tasked with the mission to implement a big idea that will confront and respond to the growing campus presence of hate groups and hate speech, students from across the country competed in ADL’s inaugural Innovate Against Hate Competition.
Designed to empower young people affected most by hateful content on social media, Innovate Against Hate incubated a student-led wave of creative messaging and innovation in response to the hate and extremism they see in communities across the country. The semester-long challenge was comprised of 19 schools countering hate online and in their local communities, culminating in the top three teams competing in a final challenge, hosted by New America.
“We were seeing a problem on our campus and in our community, where misogyny and violence are acting as a gateway to other forms of extremism which were growing and needed to be confronted,” said Janice Witherspoon, 21, one of the student project leaders of S.A.M.E. “We’re seeing that people are starting to take the issue more realistically, and we hope to take our mission to a national level, combating this on other campuses and communities across the country.”
And the winner is….
Congratulations to four students from Boise State University who were selected by a panel of experts and leaders as the first-prize winners of the contest. The Boise State University student project, called S.A.M.E. (Students Against Misogynistic Establishments) focused on combating violence against women by targeting at-risk men who might be recruited to misogynistic and male supremacist hate groups perpetuating and normalizing violent misogyny. The group was declared the winner of the top prize of $5,000, after competing at a live event in Washington, D.C. against two other student groups from the University of Maryland and the University of Nebraska.
“I have seen similar programs dedicated to countering extremism, but in this era of heightened hate and bias across a broad spectrum of ideologies, it demanded a broadened scope – and these students rose to the challenge,” said George Selim, Senior Vice President of Programs at ADL and former national security official. “It is critical that issues like misogyny receive more attention for their role in a broader spectrum of hate and extremism. We are also inspired by the results of the other student campaigns, including the other two teams who countered bias against immigrants and refugees.”
Help us continue to fight hate for good through more creative competitions like this!