1st Annual Pan-African Global Trade Conference

Matt Rosenthal, PREVENT HATE’s president, will be a panelist on “Negotiations, Conflict Resolution & Peace Building Programs” at the 1st annual pan-African global trade conference, which will be held in Los Angeles on October 21-22, 2010. Amina Salum Ali, the
African Union Ambassador to the USA, will be the keynote speaker.

This first of its kind landmark event in California will provide
opportunities for conference participants to:
— Network with private and public sector leaders and
potential business partners from the U.S., Africa and the
African Diaspora in roundtable business panels and private
business meetings;
— Learn about current small business opportunities in
Africa’s emerging markets;
— Learn about current financing and investment programs for
international trade & commerce with Africa;
— Strengthen business and cultural relations between the
U.S., Africa and the African Diaspora through bilateral
business and economic development. 

Ensuring peaceful coexistence is crucial to successful socioeconomic development. For more information on the conference, check out this flyer.

1st Pan-African Global Trade Conference Flyer

Update: July 26, 2010 Program at Los Angeles City Hall: Empowering People With Disabilities

Have you ever seen a group of people with disabilities build an entire house in just three hours? We did it!

On Monday, July 26, 2010, PREVENT HATE, in partnership with the City of Los Angeles Department on Disability, commemorated the 20th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) with an empowerment program directly on the lawn of Los Angeles City Hall at which U.S. veterans with disabilities built a house in just three hours. This was a public demonstration of PREVENT HATE and the Los Angeles Department on Disability’s joint training program that empowers at-risk and marginalized populations.

If a picture paints a thousand words, then a public demonstration paints millions. In just a few hours, we disproved many reasons for discrimination against people living with disabilities because we successfully demonstrated that when they are provided with adequate tools, training, and resources, they do contribute to their communities, including the workforce, productively.

Much thanks to the Veterans Affairs (VA) health center in Long Beach, CA for bringing vets with disabilities to build the house — all volunteers. They were awesome, worked hard, and showed that they are ready to conquer their obstacles and get back to work. In addition, here is a big THANK YOU to all of our sponsors, particularly SolarWorld, the event’s premier sponsor, who additionally provided solar panels for the program. For more information, here is SolarWorld’s press release.

Some of the specs about the house we built, which is an original design by PREVENT HATE’s training director, Barry Leneman, are as follows:

  • Low cost at $10.00 per square foot;
  • High strength compliance with UBC (Uniform Building Code) and IBC (International Building Code) for earthquake and hurricane;
  • Built rapidly with little to no waste;
  • Relocatable with minimal damage;
  • Well lighted and ventilated;
  • Ready for solar installation;
  • Eco-friendly materials;
  • Rapidly deployable;
  • Could be used during widespread emergencies, and/or to reduce homelessness, and/or to provide shelter during large infrastructure projects;
  • Easily constructed by people with disabilities;
  • Universally accessible and ADA-compliant;
  • Now available to be produced and used immediately anywhere in the world (contact us for inquiries).

This is how we prevent hate… through best practices in socioeconomic development. See for yourselves (and ignore the time stamps on the photos).

Getting started...

Barry Leneman, PREVENT HATE's training director, directing the vets.

Rapidly constructed

Los Angeles City Councilmember, Jan Perry, stopped by to check out the program and greet the vets

Constant teamwork builds houses and unity at the same time

The house is ADA-compliant and universally accessible to accommodate physical disabilities so that, even during widespread emergencies, the house will provide shelter to whomever needs it upon demand

New friends were made that day, and the vets felt extremely empowered by being of service to people who are disadvantaged other than themselves

New friends preventing hate together (Matt Rosenthal, PREVENT HATE's president, center)

Ready for solar installation

In just 3 hours, the house is finished!

A job well done.

Our sponsors

PREVENT HATE Speakers Bureau for At-Risk Youth Going Strong

On Tuesday, May 25, 2010, PREVENT HATE brought one of our speakers to Canoga High School in Los Angeles, CA for a program to inspire youth away from hate and violence, and to open their minds to creative outlets for their frustrations.

Mr. Zuhdi Sardar, a brilliant artist from the Kurdistan region of Iraq, spoke for approximately 45 minutes to a large group of students about his experiences with institutionalized discrimination and intergroup violence under Saddam Hussein’s regime, as well as his determination to channel his anger into productive methods. Today, Zuhdi Sardar’s smile is irrepresible, as well as is the love for humanity that he exudes.

An ethnic minority in the Middle East, the Kurds have been subjected to systemic violations of their human rights by various political parties representing ethnic majorities in the region. Mr. Sardar’s story is one of hope and inspiration, explaining how the friendships he cultivated across ethnic lines saved his life at a time when nearly all his childhood friends were murdered by government forces. At the end of the program, he opened his portfolio and shared some of his art with the students. The swarm of youth that approached Mr. Sardar at the end of his speech was a strong testimony to his message and his ability to speak directly to the hearts of at-risk youth.

For more information on Zuhdi Sardar’s art, please visit zuhdisardar.com.

PREVENT HATE’s speakers bureau brings survivors of genocide and severe crimes against humanity to speak to students about overcoming their differences, rejecting violence, and making a productive contribution to society. Our speakers are role models who have been through the worst hellfire, and yet, celebrate life.  As is always the case, at the end of the program, we were asked to come back.

Remaining in Control of One’s Better Self

As our nation’s economy continues to sputter like an old car that is badly in need of maintenance and repair, an increasing number of people are suffering – jobs are being eliminated, workers are being laid off, employees’ hours on the job are being reduced, cash reserves are being depleted, home owners’ ability to keep current on mortgage payments and other on-going obligations is being weakened, and the mood of the average American is souring.

One of the concerns that many of us ought to have is that this fiscal condition may prompt grossly affected folks to try to point fingers and blame innocent “others” for this on-going human and national tragedy. After all, history records the fact that in the midst of financial turmoil there is an increase in discrimination, hate and prejudice – these are but some of the ways that people act out their anxiety, fear and worry. 

Under these circumstances, we would do well to constantly monitor our own feelings and to gauge our reactions to situations not of our own making. If we are usually calm and deliberate, and we discover that some of our coping skills have become less effective simply because the flow of bad economic news – accompanied by our own uncertainty – is playing havoc with our emotional strength to endure adversity, there are steps for us to take.

Should we feel that we are under siege, rather than suffering in silence or uncharacteristically lashing out at others, it would be very helpful if we turn to people whom we trust (such as a psychotherapist, a clergyperson, et al.) and not only seek time to articulate our deepest fears but to seek guidance before we drown in these uncharted waters.

In like manner, if we find that a loved one or friend is showing signs of great angst – and we think that this condition is the manifestation of fiscal upheaval – out of concern and with compassion we need to be emotionally supportive and let that individual know that we are nearby – certainly not to interfere but to provide empathic comfort whenever that would be welcome and useful.

Each of us is endowed with a “better self;” it is sometimes very difficult to remain in control of it when we are scared. Thus, awareness and acknowledging what’s really happening are essential as we interact with others in the most wholesome ways even when challenged by a most awesome monetary crisis.

Rabbi Allen I. Freehling

PREVENT HATE Update: First Lady of Zambia in Los Angeles

From Jan. 21-28, the First Lady of the Republic of Zambia, together with Zambia’s Minister of Tourism, Environment, and Natural Resources, were in Los Angeles for a week of strategic outreach and programming. PREVENT HATE coordinated their professional schedule, with the aim of assisting them connect with greater Los Angeles to foster socioeconomic development and women’s empowerment in their country. Their trip was a big success. We laid down the foundation for L.A. to engage Zambia constructively and productively; and will continue to follow up.

They met with leaders and executives from the Jenesse Center, which is a state-of-the-art shelter for victims of domestic violence;

First Lady (Rt.) with Karen Earl (L), Executive Director of the Jenesse Center

UCLA Medical Center;

First Lady with UCLA medical staff and administration (From L to R: Dr. Gautam Chaudhuri, Chair of OB/GYN; First Lady Banda; Dr. David Feinberg, UCLA Vice Chancellor and CEO of Hospital Systems; Dr. Amy Stenson, Lead Faculty of Global Health program)

UCLA Anderson School of Management;

Catherine Namugala, Minister of Tourism, Environment, and Natural Resources for Zambia, speaking to business leaders in Los Angeles at UCLA business school

the Los Angeles Museum of the Holocaust;

First Lady at Los Angeles Holocaust Museum

Los Angeles City Hall;

Catherine Namugala, Minister of Tourism, Environment, and Natural Resources (L.), and First Lady Banda (C.) meeting with Miriam Long (Rt.), Deputy Mayor of Los Angeles for Education, Youth, and Families

First Lady ringing Los Angeles City Hall bell with Los Angeles City Councilmember, Tom LaBonge

and the Los Angeles World Affairs Council as part of their overall agenda.

As you probably remember, PREVENT HATE loves to party with first ladies. For the First Lady of Zambia, we partnered with FOX ENTERTAINMENT to host a social gathering on their studio lot. The First Lady first was interviewed in the Shirley Temple Room by Susan Hirasuna, and then met over one hundred PREVENT HATE guests in the executive commissary.

Invitation to social gathering with First Lady at FOX

First Lady (in red) and Minister of Tourism, Environment, and Natural Resources (in blue/green) at FOX studios party

PREVENT HATE continues to work with developing communities and emerging economies to provide them with best practices in socioeconomic development across ethnic and cultural lines.

Modern Technology and the Spread of Hate

Nearly one quarter of the world’s population uses the internet and it has become the prime means of communication and marketing around the world. I, for example, am able to easily share the details of my daily life with my friends and family in California, the United Kingdom, Germany and Taiwan in the blink of an eye. Unfortunately, this fantastic technology that unites us can be used just as easily to spread hatred.
In fact, as the World Wide Web has expanded, so have hate based websites. In 2007, there were 7000 sites, 8000 sites were identified in 2008. This year, some 10,000 websites advocating hate and terrorism have been identified.
More troubling is the existence of online games that perpetuate stereotypes and encourage violence. Such games are bright, colorful cartoons designed to appeal to children. Games like Border Patrol, the objective of which is to “keep them out at any cost”, are hosted or reviewed on mainstream gaming sites such as eBaum’s World. To a child, they seem like harmless fun; in reality they plant a sinister message in impressionable minds.
The use of technology goes beyond the World Wide Web. In 2008, Kenyans were bombarded with text messages encouraging them to participate in tribal attacks which lead to immediate, widespread violence against certain ethnic groups in the country. Last month, the Oklahoman reported that gangs in Oklahoma City and Tulsa have started using cell phones and text messaging to conduct criminal activities in addition to using Facebook and YouTube to recruit members as young as seven years old.
Our constitution guarantees our right to freedom of speech while other countries, such as Germany and the United Kingdom, have criminalized hate speech. It’s unlikely we can pass similar laws in this country, so what can we do to prevent the proliferation of hate? We can use the same tools to share messages of tolerance and compassion. In other words, spread the love, not the hate.

What Triggered Major Hasan’s Massacre at Fort Hood?

How could Major Hasan have turned against his own colleagues in the army? Was this terrorism? A hate crime against non-Muslims? The act of a crazy man? All of the preceding? None of them? WHY did he do it?

These questions continue today, analyzed, brainstormed, and debated by a wide variety of people.

Chances are that Major Hasan’s actions were due to a combination of deep motives that enraged him. But the actual trigger for the violence is becoming more clear as the evidence comes out and we are allowed to analyze it for ourselves.

The Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life, for example, asks whether Major Hasan was motivated by sexual frustration. They note that he, like some of the 9/11 hijackers, went to strip clubs before his violent rampage. With this question, they begin to approach what triggered his rampage, but they don’t actually get it.

Essentially, Major Hasan has the same motivations as a homophobe who commits a hate crime against a gay person. In 1996, the Journal of Abnormal Psychology published a breakthrough study that showed, for the first time, that homophobic men have some level of homosexual arousal. This has been anecdotal for a long time … that homophobes are often motivated to commit violence against gay men because they, themselves, have same-sex attraction, but social factors repress their ability to express that attraction, so they, like all of us, try to construct a world around them that makes them feel more comfortable. The thinking goes that by eliminating the physical presence of gay people, homophobes A) do not have to be continuously reminded of what they themselves cannot have, and B) will not be tempted to step outside of their social “box” and explore behaviors they crave, but are deemed unacceptable and even sinful. Basically, if it’s out of sight, it’s out of mind.

Similar motives likely come into play with Major Hasan. I believe that Major Hasan was frustrated by cultural behaviors allowed in western societies that did not fit in with his strict religious views. He experienced temptation around him, but felt guilty participating in it. (One thing I have come to realize is that some people deal with guilt through hostility. They don’t know how to cope with guilt so they resent whatever causes it rather than work through the issues themselves.)

This explanation also provides insight as to why Major Hasan would be in contact with militant Islamists who hate the USA … not because he was a pawn doing their bidding, but because they reinforced the restrictive socio-religious box in which he felt the need to live, and gave him the internal strength to resist the enticement to participate in what Hasan viewed as sinful, westernized behavior … behavior he nevertheless desired.

Why did Major Hasan go to strip clubs? Because he was horny and wanted to be with women, but since he couldn’t let himself do it, he turned on the society that constantly tempted him and made him feel guilty for exploring those urges. Major Hasan needs to repress and control his internal urges for sex and perhaps other “decadent” behavior more readily allowed in the west by directly confronting the external society that cultivated them (and also to confront the external society that he felt perpetuated these values and behaviors abroad). This is why he turned violent. It’s almost as if he had a temper tantrum on steroids because he couldn’t allow himself to have what he truly wanted — he just couldn’t give himself permission for it. That level of internal conflict between what he wanted to do, and what he felt he was supposed to do, was too much to bear so he snapped.

Undoubtedly there are some other factors that come into play, such as mental capacity, etc., which we will find out as more evidence is brought to light. However, I do feel certain that the immediate trigger for Major Hasan’s rampage was that he no longer could deal with his internal conflict between his strict Islamic values and the behaviors allowed by western society, so he turned against the society that he believed is responsible for creating the confusion and guilt — in this case, the USA.

This article was written by Matthew Rosenthal, PREVENT HATE’s president.