Fighting discrimination with innocence

News Jun 19, 2017 by Bill Jackson Kitchener Post

Some say wisdom comes from the mouths of babes, and that’s why the Waterloo Regional Police Service (WRPS) called upon children to highlight that "Hate is Learned" in a new campaign.

“It all started in my own neighbourhood with something as simple as seeing kids play together who are of all different backgrounds,” said Alana Russell, WRPS corporate communications co-ordinator.

“They all play together and always include one another,” she said.

Russell took the lead on the Hate is Learned campaign, which is supported through the Ministry of Community Safety and Correctional Services’ Hate Crime and Extremism Investigative Team — a network of 15 police services that provides specialized support into hate-motivated crimes.

A casting call through social media earlier this year was aimed at the parents of children who could speak about the topic of inclusion and be interviewed on camera at police headquarters. More than 100 parents responded to the request directly and total of 28 children were interviewed.

The campaign has culminated in a two-minute-and-30-second video, as well as a condensed version that’s being shown as a public service announcement in local movie theatres.

Russell said she was happy to read positive messages of support when she returned to the office Monday morning.

“I guess Cars 3 came out this weekend,” she laughed, adding that the public service announcement can also be used by others.

The local police service invites other law enforcement agencies, community groups and media to share the message by adopting the campaign videos or print materials and using the social media thread #hateislearned.

The basic message is simple. Kids don’t see race, culture, religion, sexual orientation, gender or ability as barriers to friendship. And so it begs the question: Why do adults?

“Really, the idea is to teach adults that it’s beneficial to be inclusive of other people despite their differences,” Russell said.

The video, which tugs at heartstrings by focusing on children’s take on friendship, inclusion and diversity, ends with the message “unlearn hate.”

A local kindergarten class also took part in the campaign, and some of their images are featured on bus shelter advertisements and commercials at various ONroute locations.

Russell says the campaign had nothing to do directly with recent data released by Statistics Canada for 2015, which shows the Kitchener-Waterloo-Cambridge area was third-highest in Canada for hate crimes reported per 100,000 people.

At 9.4, the local area trails only Hamilton (9.9) and Thunder Bay (22.3).

Russell said she thinks people are motivated to report incidents locally. “We believe people are comfortable reporting to us and also as part of the hate crime and extremism team, we have a dedicated resource to hate crime, whereas other police departments do not,” she said.

Another objective of the Hate is Learned campaign is to encourage people to report hate crimes when they occur, Russell said.

“We’re hoping that we can reinvest in this and also maybe come up with a new strategy for next year that we already have in mind.”

Fighting discrimination with innocence

Campaign encourages people to 'unlearn hate'

News Jun 19, 2017 by Bill Jackson Kitchener Post

Some say wisdom comes from the mouths of babes, and that’s why the Waterloo Regional Police Service (WRPS) called upon children to highlight that "Hate is Learned" in a new campaign.

“It all started in my own neighbourhood with something as simple as seeing kids play together who are of all different backgrounds,” said Alana Russell, WRPS corporate communications co-ordinator.

“They all play together and always include one another,” she said.

Russell took the lead on the Hate is Learned campaign, which is supported through the Ministry of Community Safety and Correctional Services’ Hate Crime and Extremism Investigative Team — a network of 15 police services that provides specialized support into hate-motivated crimes.

A casting call through social media earlier this year was aimed at the parents of children who could speak about the topic of inclusion and be interviewed on camera at police headquarters. More than 100 parents responded to the request directly and total of 28 children were interviewed.

The campaign has culminated in a two-minute-and-30-second video, as well as a condensed version that’s being shown as a public service announcement in local movie theatres.

Russell said she was happy to read positive messages of support when she returned to the office Monday morning.

“I guess Cars 3 came out this weekend,” she laughed, adding that the public service announcement can also be used by others.

The local police service invites other law enforcement agencies, community groups and media to share the message by adopting the campaign videos or print materials and using the social media thread #hateislearned.

The basic message is simple. Kids don’t see race, culture, religion, sexual orientation, gender or ability as barriers to friendship. And so it begs the question: Why do adults?

“Really, the idea is to teach adults that it’s beneficial to be inclusive of other people despite their differences,” Russell said.

The video, which tugs at heartstrings by focusing on children’s take on friendship, inclusion and diversity, ends with the message “unlearn hate.”

A local kindergarten class also took part in the campaign, and some of their images are featured on bus shelter advertisements and commercials at various ONroute locations.

Russell says the campaign had nothing to do directly with recent data released by Statistics Canada for 2015, which shows the Kitchener-Waterloo-Cambridge area was third-highest in Canada for hate crimes reported per 100,000 people.

At 9.4, the local area trails only Hamilton (9.9) and Thunder Bay (22.3).

Russell said she thinks people are motivated to report incidents locally. “We believe people are comfortable reporting to us and also as part of the hate crime and extremism team, we have a dedicated resource to hate crime, whereas other police departments do not,” she said.

Another objective of the Hate is Learned campaign is to encourage people to report hate crimes when they occur, Russell said.

“We’re hoping that we can reinvest in this and also maybe come up with a new strategy for next year that we already have in mind.”

Fighting discrimination with innocence

Campaign encourages people to 'unlearn hate'

News Jun 19, 2017 by Bill Jackson Kitchener Post

Some say wisdom comes from the mouths of babes, and that’s why the Waterloo Regional Police Service (WRPS) called upon children to highlight that "Hate is Learned" in a new campaign.

“It all started in my own neighbourhood with something as simple as seeing kids play together who are of all different backgrounds,” said Alana Russell, WRPS corporate communications co-ordinator.

“They all play together and always include one another,” she said.

Russell took the lead on the Hate is Learned campaign, which is supported through the Ministry of Community Safety and Correctional Services’ Hate Crime and Extremism Investigative Team — a network of 15 police services that provides specialized support into hate-motivated crimes.

A casting call through social media earlier this year was aimed at the parents of children who could speak about the topic of inclusion and be interviewed on camera at police headquarters. More than 100 parents responded to the request directly and total of 28 children were interviewed.

The campaign has culminated in a two-minute-and-30-second video, as well as a condensed version that’s being shown as a public service announcement in local movie theatres.

Russell said she was happy to read positive messages of support when she returned to the office Monday morning.

“I guess Cars 3 came out this weekend,” she laughed, adding that the public service announcement can also be used by others.

The local police service invites other law enforcement agencies, community groups and media to share the message by adopting the campaign videos or print materials and using the social media thread #hateislearned.

The basic message is simple. Kids don’t see race, culture, religion, sexual orientation, gender or ability as barriers to friendship. And so it begs the question: Why do adults?

“Really, the idea is to teach adults that it’s beneficial to be inclusive of other people despite their differences,” Russell said.

The video, which tugs at heartstrings by focusing on children’s take on friendship, inclusion and diversity, ends with the message “unlearn hate.”

A local kindergarten class also took part in the campaign, and some of their images are featured on bus shelter advertisements and commercials at various ONroute locations.

Russell says the campaign had nothing to do directly with recent data released by Statistics Canada for 2015, which shows the Kitchener-Waterloo-Cambridge area was third-highest in Canada for hate crimes reported per 100,000 people.

At 9.4, the local area trails only Hamilton (9.9) and Thunder Bay (22.3).

Russell said she thinks people are motivated to report incidents locally. “We believe people are comfortable reporting to us and also as part of the hate crime and extremism team, we have a dedicated resource to hate crime, whereas other police departments do not,” she said.

Another objective of the Hate is Learned campaign is to encourage people to report hate crimes when they occur, Russell said.

“We’re hoping that we can reinvest in this and also maybe come up with a new strategy for next year that we already have in mind.”