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Mobilizing Target Communities

 

Mobilizing Target Communities

"I swore never to be silent whenever and wherever

human beings endure suffering and humiliation. We

must always take sides. Neutrality helps the oppressor,

never the victim. Silence encourages the tormentor,

never the tormented."

Elie Wiesel


 



Anyone, anywhere, can become a victim of a hate crime. Even if you are not a member of a target group, you can be perceived to be, or you may be with friends who are targeted because of their membership in a group. This is why countering hate is something all of us must do, and the best way to move forward is to join hands with communities that are often the main target of hate activity and crime.

 

These groups are Aboriginal (First Nations), Gender & Sexually Diverse Groups, People with Disabilities, Religious Groups (Jewish, Muslim, other), Minority Ethnic Communities and others. See the 2009 Alberta Hate/Bias Crime Report for an overview of targeted communities.


 

As well, the 2007 report Combating Hate and Bias Crime and Incidents in Alberta has a good overview of some of these communities’ experiences with and their perceptions of hate activity perpetrated against them. See pages 10 - 14.

 

Mobilizing for Safe Communities a conference held in Calgary in 2011, produced a report with a number of tips and challenges in mobilizing communities.


Some tips: 

1.       Use cultural brokers or agencies that work with the target community to open the dialogue.

2.       Understand protocols or information access styles of different communities. For example, in Aboriginal communities, you may have to talk with an elder first. With seniors, face to face conversations will be most effective, while with youth, you may want to employ social media such as Twitter or Facebook.

Be sure to hear and understand the experiences of the target community and move forward in a way that respects its concerns (e.g., safety) and issues (e.g., fear of police).

 

An Example of Police/Community Collaboration

 

The Edmonton Police Service has liaison committees with members from a number of vulnerable ethnic, disability, and gender sexual identity groups. These groups discuss concerns in their communities and develop strategies for policing and community partnerships. A member from each group also sits on an advisory committee that meets directly with the Chief of Police.  A similar collaboration is being developed by The Calgary Police Service.

 



Reaching Vulnerable Populations

It is often difficult to reach and engage vulnerable populations in a respectful way. A good source for planning this kind of outreach can be found here.

 

While its focus is on health promotion, the tips are applicable to all sorts of issues.  In our consultations with vulnerable populations in Alberta many noted that this is not an issue that is discussed much within the community and most members do not have a good idea of what hate crime and their rights are. From this it is clear that the place to start for all of us is with education so that we can recognize and respond appropriately to hate activity in our communities. By working through this toolkit, communities should have a better understanding of how to move forward.


Suggested Activities

 

A number of activities can be found in the Alberta Hate Crime Awareness Day Planning Guide. See under Resources -

http://www.albertahatecrimes.ca

 

See activities for the ‘Not in Our Town’ movement.


 

http://www.niot.org/front