Youth workers invited to training on tackling hate speech

The Church of Scotland's interfaith officer, Mirella Yandoli, is inviting youth workers to attend a training event aimed at helping them tackle hate speech.

Outside In project
The Outside In project brought together interfaith partners from across Europe to develop training for youth workers on tackling hate speech.

Transforming Hate in Youth Settings will run from 1:30-4:30pm on Wednesday 30 April in Glasgow. The event will share the lessons learned from the Outside In project, which brought together partners from across Europe to explore the challenges posed by hate speech and the key role that youth workers can play in transforming attitudes.

Interfaith Scotland will launch a training manual for youth workers at the event as well as an online platform offering learning material and resources.

Mirella worked with more than 100 youth workers, Church of Scotland ministers and elders during 2018, in partnership with Interfaith Scotland. The interactive training focused on recognising, managing and transforming hate speech targeted at religious beliefs.

The training sessions looked at the deep seated inequalities that feed hate speech. They also explored how youth workers could look below the surface-level behaviour in order to help young people address the deeper issues and unmet needs that caused them to reach for harmful language and stereotypes.

Minority groups are particularly vulnerable to hate speech as it dehumanises them, undermining their claim to basic rights and protections, Mirella says.

"In Rwanda this week, memorial ceremonies will commemorate 25 years since the 1994 genocide when more than 800,000 Tutsi people were killed by their Hutu neighbours. The terrible brutality and violence was unleashed by a campaign of hate speech against the Tutsis.

"Hate speech has been used in schools, the media, propaganda and everyday language to justify and encourage prejudice, suspicion and stereotypes. In Nazi Germany it resulted in the systematic murder of millions of people."

The term hate speech covers all forms of expression which spread, incite, promote or attempt to justify any form of hatred, stereotyping or discrimination that is based on intolerance. It has been used by states, governments and the media to pit groups against one another and to justify discrimination and violence.

Rt Rev Susan Brown, who took part in one of the trainings encouraged everyone working with young people to attend.

"This was a fascinating and ambitious project to get a small glimpse of," she said.

"It really helped open up some of the difficult discussions around confusing the way that faith and culture influence one another and helped put a human face on some of the assumptions and stereotypes we all have of one another.

"Focusing on the needs of young people, and indeed anyone who either has used or has been affected by hate speech, also offers an insight into how we might face some of these issues in a way that might make a longer and lasting impact."

The Glasgow event will include a presentation of key achievements as well as interactive activities to help bring the methodology to life. It will also offer access to a European network of trainers who can deliver training by request.

Register for free at Eventbrite