Transcript of PREVENT HATE Twitter Chat with U.S. Assistant Secretary of Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity

PREVENT HATE is beginning to offer the general public access to various leaders, movers, and shakers globally in order for all of you to gain additional insight as to what is happening throughout the world, and how you can get involved making your own communities better for all its inhabitants. Part of this is through our Twitter account by hosting chats with various officials so that you can make your voices heard, and have your questions answered.

On September 15, 2009, PREVENT HATE hosted a Twitter chat with John Trasviña, the United States Assistant Secretary of Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity. The full transcript of the chat is as follows.

10:01 AM We are beginning our chat with the US Asst. of Fair Housing, John Trasvina. Welcome Assistant Secretary!

10:01 AM For the next hour, our Tweets will be from the US Assistant Secretary … Begin now
10:02 AM I am happy to be with you in Los Angeles and across the country

10:04 AM Q1) Section 3 requires low income people to get job training, but what about about people with disabilities who can’t work?


10:06 AM A1) Just b/c someone has a disability does not disqualify him/her from work and the point of Sec. 3 is to promote job options for low income


10:07 AM Not options … job opportunities for low income

10:08 AM Does housing law extend to the #LGBT community?
10:09 AM A2) Currently does not cover GLBT. We are looking at the experiences in the 22 states and DC where such discrimination is illegal.
10:10 AM A2 cont’d) In CA you can go to for more info.


10:11 AM  @Najia7 @WyreDragon Please go ahead
10:16 AM Q3) Are you aware that there increase in homeless female veterans who have PTSD from rape by other military colleagues?
10:17 AM A3) VA and HUD together Sec. Shiseki and Sec. Donavan are collaborating on programs to support homeless vets. DHHS SAMSA has trauma network.

10:18 AM @Najia7 Does your dept focus on green building/improve indoor air quality/saving energy/creating jobs with #SOLAR public housing?


10:19 AM in reply to Najia7 We focus on sustainable communities. Some focus is on energy innovation w/in home and making sure transportation and housing are in synch

10:20 AM @WyreDragon What actions are being taken to prevent predatory lending practices?
10:21 AM in reply to WyreDragon HUD focuses on making homes affordable, which means we try to keep ppl in homes and prevent forclosures, and help modify their situations

10:22 AM 61% of ppl who had subprime mortgages qualified for traditional loans and did not have to be in the situation they now find themselves in


10:22 AM Go to for more info.

10:23 AM @Najia7 how about mobilizing communities with diverse groups to work together on green housing projects to release possible tensions?

10:24 AM We all have a stake & role in doing that. I will be speaking to a group later this wk – Building One America – which revitalizes communities

10:27 AM Q4) How can someone who is currently homeless get into public housing?


10:28 AM A4) They should go to local housing authority to see if they qualify for Sec. 8 voucher. There are local programs and types of assistance.
10:29 AM Also, you can go to to learn about various types of programs and assistance available for homeless individuals and families.


10:30 AM Q5) Is all public housing ADA compliant?
10:32 AM A5) Accessibility to housing is protected by the Amer. w Disabilities act. Also …

10:33 AM Our off. enforces Sec. 504 of Rehab Act & 1988’s Fair Housing amendments, which ensures access to units of 4+ unit buildings built after ’91


10:36 AM Q6) The LA Riots of 1991 were based on bad lending, by allowing immigrants to get loans more easily than locals. Any comment?


10:38 AM A6) I disagree with the premise that this is what happened. African-Americans and immigrants both have been victimized by predatory lending


10:39 AM Q7) Does preventing discrimination based on sex include people who have changed their sex medically?

10:40 AM A7) If one can prove that discrimination is against sex, then yes If based on sexual orientation, more likely covered by state or local laws
10:41 AM One of most compelling arguments to expand the law is research that many LGBT people have to hide their identity to get a home.

10:42 AM Nobody should have to hide their identity in USA


10:43 AM Q8) What would it take to have sexual orientation to be covered as a category that cannot be discriminated against?

10:44 AM A8) It would take a bill approved by Congress and signed by the President

10:45 AM Q9) Why don’t people have to speak English to get federal funds and public housing?

10:47 AM A9) The protection of Constitution extends to all who speak other languages as well as those born with English on the tongue — Meyer vs. NE
10:47 AM Meyer vs. Nebraska is the case

10:48 AM Q10) Does your office work with community groups to provide services and programs in public housing?


10:49 AM A10) We focus on fair housing. Yes we work with community grps and offer funding to prevent discrimination in housing


10:50 AM Q11) Does your office consider AIDS related discrimination as disability discrimination?


10:51 AM A11) AIDS discrimination may be considered discrimination against a disability according to the law


10:53 AM Q12) Have you seen an increase in people requesting public housing?


10:54 AM A12) For more information about this, please visit


10:56 AM After 41 years of law, housing discrimination still persists. I encourage people to check out, or call 1-800-669-9777.

10:57 AM @NAMIMass There has always been a public housing shortage in MA. Housing is the hardest need to fulfill for the mentally ill

10:58 AM in reply to @NAMIMass Many thought the work was over in ’88 when we expanded the Fair Housing law to protect ppl with disabilities but we need more work

10:58 AM @NAMIMass NAMI is a valuable leader in the effort!

10:59 AM And so is Matt Rosenthal of PREVENT HATE. Thank you! — End chat.

11:01 AM PREVENT HATE sincerely thanks Asst. Secretary Trasvina of Fair Housing at HUD for his time, wisdom, and dedication, and for this chat.

Make Music Not Hate

By now, just about everybody who has ever heard of MTV knows about what happened last Sunday 9/13 at the Video Music Awards — better known as the VMAs — when Kanye West interrupted Taylor Swift’s speech to give a shout-out to Beyonce. There is a lot of blog talk about whether Kanye did what he did because he is prejudiced against white people. Many people are asking whether Kanye was motivated by racial differences since Taylor is white and Beyonce and Kanye are both black. But, what about how this incident suggests that sexism, which is too often prevalent in parts of the music industry and society-at-large, may have played a role? Since women are generally physically weaker than men, and their needs socially accepted as less important, the end result is that they often get pushed around. Although it is difficult to draw definite conclusions, one cannot help but wonder if this is what what we saw happen at Sunday’s VMAs.

Is there also a racial element to Kanye’s motives? Based upon some of his past comments, I think he could use some healing in that area; and since that is doable, let’s not give up on him. Let’s not hate Kanye.

I think there is something else we should talk about, which is a lack of appreciation for country music by many followers of hip hop — something we all know also occurs robustly in the reverse. This is a two-way street. Yet, where hip hop and country music are concerned, they are not just a combination of melody and harmony, but reflective of culture. Both are uniquely American, and yet, seem so disparate from each other. But who ever said somebody cannot like both hip hop and country music? Somehow it became a self-perpetuating part of how some people do things without even thinking about it. It feels natural to them to like only one or the other, but not both. To me, that makes as much sense as having to choose between Chinese food and Italian food. I love both. I don’t want to limit my choices, so why not do the same with music?

Music should bring people together, not divide them.

Kanye’s behavior at the VMAs presents us with an interesting opportunity. Rather than bemoan his behavior, scold him, and then go back to business as usual (and I do mean business), which is how things are usually done, let’s get proactive. Let’s prevent hate already. What we need is to bring lovers of hip hop and country music together in a way where they stop and say to each other, “You know what? I changed my mind about you. You’re cool!” We can do this. It’s not hard. It just takes leadership, creativity, and the will to do so.

It is no secret that social tensions in this country have increased this past year. People are polarizing more and more. Fear is high in a bad economy, which often manifests itself among racial lines. Tensions are up, and therefore, so too is domestic violence because when some men are upset, who do they take their problems out on? Family.

See how this works? The economy goes down, social tensions go up, people blame “the other” for their problems, and the result is that women get pushed around … and worse. Furthermore, when tensions go up, Americans take their problems out on each other. It’s comprehensive familial abuse. So, rather than blame the people who get caught up in tension and frustration, let’s actually do something that brings tangible results by using music as a tool for goodness. Let’s use Kanye’s behavior as a catalyst for a more cooperative future.

Think of what happened at the VMAs as manure, from which we could grow an amazing garden. The VMAs gave us an opportunity to encourage … persuade … insist that the hip hop and country music industries bring those who love their music together to bridge the gaps that divide too many of them. This work is crucial because of how these divisions play out in mainstream society.

If music is anything, it’s creative. It’s the ability to make something memorable out of nothing. We don’t need to despair because the music industry has the power to change people’s minds and hearts. Now that it is Woodstock’s fortieth anniversary, the time has come for us to make beautiful music together. The time is now to prevent hate.

Would you Like to Blog for PREVENT HATE?

Are you interested in making a difference in the world through blogging about relevant social issues? Do you have a lot to say, and are looking for a platform to say it?

If so, PREVENT HATE may be looking for you! We are now recruiting bloggers to engage the public in discussion about issues involving hate crimes, violence, genocide, war, conflict, domestic violence … you name it … as long as it fosters, or results, in hate, we are willing to discuss it, and offer solutions.

PREVENT HATE is a nonprofit organization with a global outreach headquartered in Los Angeles. We are a premier provider of customized programs and services that foster social development. We actively provide strategic resources and partners to struggling communities and individuals in order to diminish motives for conflict and violence.

PREVENT HATE does not merely identify social problems, but actively gets engaged whenever possible to solve them. 

Our Witness Humanity program brings adversaries together, teaches them a curriculum in sustainable development, and then takes them to an area in need of urgent assistance where they work hand in hand healing the environment and providing “green”solutions to communities-in-need. 

Our Genocide Survivors Engaging At-Risk Youth program brings survivors of genocide, war crimes, and severe crimes against humanity to schools with high populations of at-risk youth to provide the students with real-life role models who understand the destructive properties of hate, and who dedicate themselves to make a positive contribution to society even after experiencing the worst forms of adversity. These are just two examples of what we do.

PREVENT HATE offers numerous other innovative programs and services, which you can view on our website. We are now looking to build our blog into the internet’s foremost site for people to come and learn about problematic conflicts in the world, as well as best practices to solve them, promote healing, and of course, to prevent hate! If you would like to become a PREVENT HATE blogger and social media expert, contact us.

This is a volunteer opportunity to begin with. For more information about PREVENT HATE, visit us online at:

Contact us a to express your interest!

We look forward to hearing from you!


Twitter Chat with US Assistant Secretary of Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity

PREVENT HATE is pleased to announce that we will host a Twitter Chat with United States Assistant Secretary of Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity, John Trasviña.

You can find us at

Date: Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Time: 10:00 a.m. PST/1:00 p.m. EST

Duration: 1 Hour

If you have a Twitter account, log on and ask Assistant Secretary Trasviña your questions directly. Otherwise, feel free to send them to us in advance and we will pass them along. This will be an open forum, and an opportunity for you to talk with a senior federal official about issues such as: discrimination; homelessness (should crimes against homeless people be considered hate crimes?); housing and services for people with disabilities (including returning war veterans); and much more! Don’t be left out. Make your voice heard, and have your questions answered.

We look forward to hearing from you!