The Southern Poverty Law Center had 867 bias motivated incidents reported to them in the first 10 days after the 2016 presidential election; and this trend is expected to continue under the Trump administration. In the months since the election, social media has been used to document and share the frightening increase of incidents of violence and speech motivated by hate. In order to document these acts—and bear witness to them as a means of not normalizing such actions—the Witnessing Hate archive will bring together and further elaborate accounts that might otherwise disperse into the ocean of social media attention. This collection will provide powerful evidence in aggregate for future historians but also for victims whose stories might be discredited in isolation or for victims too afraid to report on their own.
By offering a method for the victims of hate crimes to securely map and document the enactments of hate, the Witnessing Hate archive will provide the potential for deeper understanding and ultimately public redress. The Witnessing Hate archive will also provide a collaborative context for students and fellows in both labs to build upon their own expertise as well as establish exchanges among them. Rhetorical, critical, and philosophical perspectives will inform and shape the archive as much as the aspects of the criminal law issues that may affect the scope of the project. The NuLawLab team is honored to be working on Witnessing Hate with Northeastern faculty members Ryan Cordell (English), Élika Ortega Guzman (Cultures, Societies & Global Studies), and Richard Daynard (Law).
This project was awarded a 2018 TIER 1: Seed Grant/Proof of Concept Program from Northeastern University. This competitive program provides funds to support and encourage individual faculty members to form multidisciplinary teams to secure proof of concept, with a goal of successfully competing for future sponsored research opportunities. Funds are also available as seed grants for multidisciplinary teams to develop new and innovative research directions. An explicit strategy for securing external funding must be outlined.
Image credit: Fibonacci Blue from Minnesota, USA (Protesters march against Donald Trump) [CC BY 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons