The SEL activities enabled learners to consider wider hate speech issues and prejudices in society towards protected characteristics, how the media and public respond to stories of hate speech/hate crimes, and the importance of ensuring dialogue around these issues (with online and offline stakeholders) is respectful, meaningful and constructive.
In the Media analysis unit, learners had the opportunity to analyse media sources that have drawn attention to protected characteristics (both positively and negatively). They explored the features of these campaigns that made them effective in gaining attention/sparking discussion/affecting change, and considered how they can develop these features in their own campaigns or actions around online hate speech.
The Media production unit provided learners with the opportunity to explore how successful campaigns amplify a message, sustain momentum and grow over a longer period of time. Learners also considered the different ways to make a message memorable and the importance of language use to convey that message.
In this Citizenship unit, learners will develop an understanding of the roles within an activist community, and the strategies that can be employed to develop people’s roles and responsibilities to create a sustainable programme of activism to work towards the aims of a campaign.
These questions are provided as examples to initiate and guide discussions around the topic in this focus area.
- How could you start/grow a following of people who share the same views and beliefs as you?
- How could you do this online?
- How could you do this offline?
- What would you want people to do to help further your campaign?
- What is realistic to expect of people - will all people be as committed as you?
- How could you keep a following going? For example, how could you ensure a message/campaign continues if you were unable to be a part of it in the future?
The SELMA project short definition of hate speech is:
“Any online content targeting someone based on protected characteristics with the intent or likely effect of inciting, spreading or promoting hatred or other forms of discrimination.”
Mobilising your online community
If you’ve made it here by completing other SELMA activities by now your learners should have something they feel passionate about changing. They know the basics of campaign planning, who their changemakers are, and what makes a campaign successful. But, it’s only them; what they need are more people to support their cause and amplify their voice so that those in a position of power can hear their issue and engage with them in making a change.
This activity helps learners identify how to engage others and build a supportive community. Some of the ideas come from the excellent Advocates for Youth - Youth activist toolkit.
Building a community of supporters can be broken down into:
- Relationship building.
- New engagement opportunities.
- Developing leaders.
And there are three main groups within an activist community:
- Leaders - strong supporters, a key role in campaigns, decisions, recruitment and training.
- Members - good supporters with less time available to commit.
- Supporters - good supporters, much less active, but can be mobilised through a mailing list or hashtag.
Explain the the goal for this type of activity is to recruit more supporters and move supporters to members and members to leaders.
Using the provided Community of supporters worksheet, take the group through the following steps to grow their supporters. Ask the learners to complete the activities as you work through the sheet.
Step one - identify possible leaders, members and supporters and target those who you want to move to the “next level”.
Step two - outreach
Mini-campaign to mobilise members. Anger-Hope-Action. Think about charity videos you may have seen; these are good examples of the Anger-Hope-Action phrase.
- Anger - what is the injustice? What is the threat?
- Hope - what change is possible? What change to you want to see? Explain the demand and its impact on the issue.
- Action - what’s the action you want from the person? Sign-up to a list? Re-tweet or share a post? Sign a petition? Get contact information so you can follow up with them later.
Step three - build relationships
Spend time talking with and listening to the individual. Find new people to ask to join you. Follow up with a message, phone call, email.
- A table wherever your potential members may be, in school, in a club, or a “virtual table” online.
- Regular face-to-face member meetings is good, but online works too.
- Canvassing where relevant in your local area or in your online community, post flyers, memes or videos.
- Identify partner organisations.
- Host social events.
- Use online platforms - Twitter, Instagram, SnapChat. Create a hashtag and share content. Create a Facebook page and post regularly. Use the platform where most of your members (or potential members are).
- Email, call or speak to the person directly.
Step four - develop more leaders
This great video from Fierce in NYC explains how they engage and move members towards becoming a leader.
A key to the success of any campaign is capacity; you can’t do it all on your own, so your learners need to identify who they should mobilise and invest in as leaders. This distributed leadership increases capacity and enables greater outreach and wider campaigning, so it’s well worth investing time in leaders.
It is worthwhile considering what your ladder of engagement will look like and the role and timing of one-to-ones and any further leadership development activity your learners may wish to implement.
Within the guided activity, learners complete their own analysis of the targets and the players in the ecosystem.
Complete a community of supporters plan. Understand the importance of a community of supporters in achieving the aims of the campaign.