Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2023, $399,432)
The growing strength of white nationalist militias and other hate groups in the last several years is a major threat to the stability of the United States. Hate crimes have skyrocketed since 2019, jumping 31% in Massachusetts in 2022 alone, with more than 200 neo-Nazi events in the state in the last two years. UMass Boston’s Center for Peace, Democracy, and Development (CPDD) proposes a four-phase project to address hate crimes by gathering missing hate incident and hate crime data in ways that enable primordial prevention, primary prevention, secondary prevention, and tertiary prevention. CPDD will work with partner Code+Impact to develop an AI based hate crime data analytics platform capable of participatory data collection, “scraping” digital trace data, dashboarding and analyzing data. We will then train community-based conflict resolution organizations, religious congregations and other community-based groups on how to use the tool to collect hate group data. We will follow up with these groups continuously to ensure proper reporting and responses. CPDD partner Police2Peace will also train up to 500 Boston-area police officers and fusion centers and community members to become “Peace Officers” capable of building greater trust and better hate crimes prevention capacity. In addition, CPDD will train up to 100 community members to convene and facilitate dialogues and community conversations oriented towards identifying and preventing hate crimes, and to prevent potential radicalization and pursue data sharing arrangements with all relevant stakeholders. The data gathered by this network will then be shared with a larger circle of key government stakeholders, including the Massachusetts Hate Crimes Task Force, the Boston Human Rights Commission, law enforcement, the DHS Center for Prevention Programs and Partnerships (CP3), as well as additional religious and civil society organizations, in order to increase awareness and to encourage coordinated responses at the city and state levels. Throughout the project, CPDD will collect data from community members and train them to evaluate the impact of their responses to hate crimes. The project will be evaluated through community engaged data collection, reflection, and continuous improvement practices, to utilize the collected hate crimes data for broader conflict prevention and policy input regarding hate crimes laws and programs. Deliverables also include a hate crime data collection instructional video, a resource guide on investigating hate crime suspects, and an early warning database, maps, and reports, a data collection tool, data dashboard, dialogue moderator trainings, Peace Officer training, and evaluation reports.