Concordia Anti-Hate Project Receives Funding from Canadian Government

Project SOMEONE to Fight Against Radicalization Within the Community

  • Project SOMEONE is an initiative focused on combating online bullying and hate. Photo Kelsey Litwin

Canada’s Centre for Community Engagement and Prevention of Violence will provide more than $360,000 of funding over two years for Concordia’s Project SOMEONE.

Also known as Social Media Education Every Day, it is an initiative focused on combating online bullying and hate.

Project SOMEONE is funded through research grants and Concordia’s own research funds. They have also received $187,000 in funding from Public Safety Canada in the past.

Since it was started in April 2016, its objective has been to maintain a site that includes videos, articles, and questions to help users to think critically about online hate speech, and foster resilience against it. The project is tailored to those in all levels of education, from primary to post-secondary.

“I’m confident that the funding announced today will help raise the profile of this forward thinking and inspiring project and build on its ever expanding content,” said Marc Miller and member of parliament.

Miller added that Canada’s best way to fight radicalization is to prevent it from happening, and projects like SOMEONE are vital in seeing where the threats are.

Dr. Vivek Venkatesh, a associate professor of education at Concordia and one of the researchers on the project, said that he wanted to pursue this project because he wanted to understand his own feelings of hate.

“I lost a very close family member in the Kanishka tragedy, the Air India plane that was blown up in 1984. As someone who was at the time living in India, waiting for my cousin to arrive, you try to to think about the feelings of detachment, anger, and hate,” Venkatesh said. “[Those feelings] need to be allowed to be expressed.”

In 1984, terrorists planted a bomb that exploded mid-air on Air India Flight 182, taking the plan down and claiming the lives of 329 people.

With this project, Venkatesh said that he wants to encourage critical dialogue about hate online and offline hate in our society.

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