Statistics for major cities in the U.S. show more than a 20% increase in hate crimes in 2017, on top of a 5% increase nationally in 2016. The prevalence of the 21st century post-racial myth and divisive discourse in our country around racial justice make this an exceedingly important time to reframe conversations. For many people, narratives involving racism produce feelings of pity, at best, and at worst, dangerous behavior with life changing consequences, rather than creating a sustained empathic connection, or a feeling of shared humanity.
Goal: ICAAD is creating and piloting a new initiative designed to effectively incorporate virtual reality technology and experiential learning into workshops that will help mitigate racism, foster a better methodology to effectively promote mutual understanding, and establish a replicable template for expansion beyond an initial pilot phase.
Expertise: Our development team includes a psychologist, two Emmy award winning VR filmmakers, a behavioral scientist, human-centered design expert, and two human rights lawyers.
- Studies show that virtual reality (VR) experiences can help bridge the empathy gap and allow people to connect more viscerally to others’ stories.
- ICAAD Board Member and Psychology Professor at Columbia University Courtney D. Cogburn, PhD, in conjunction with Stanford University, produced the VR film, 1000 Cut Journey, to explore VR’s impact on generating empathy and whether it can prompt behavioral change. The VR film was featured at the Tribeca Film Festival, and tracks the journey of a black man such that the viewer is able to “walk in his shoes” and experience how he faces racism in various ways as his life unfolds.
- Creation of the methodology and toolkit.
- Implementation of four full pilot launches for 40-60 participants.
- The post-pilot phase is expected to exponentially impact a wide audience of students and community members across the geographic and cultural span of the United States.
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What else has ICAAD done to advocate against hate crimes?
In late 2017, Courtney Cogburn, Professor at Columbia University and ICAAD Board Member recently created a project, 1000 Cut Journey, which uses an HTC Vive virtual reality headset to put users in the body of a black man, Michael Sterling, at four different stages of his life. The experience "reveals the myriad ways race infiltrates one's quotidian experiences." ICAAD hopes to develop a similar experience involving a Sikh, with YOUR support. Read more about 1000 Cut Journey here: https://www.engadget.com/2017/09/28/changing-your-race-in-virtual-reality/
In early 2017, ICAAD provided a landscape analysis to the Open Society Foundations (OSF) for its Communities Against Hate initiative. The summary analysis included data on public opinion on minorities and immigrants in America, activist movements, and research on prejudice reduction strategies.
ICAAD was part of a coalition of advocacy organizations, that convinced the FBI to record crimes against Sikhs, Arabs, and Hindus on the Uniform Crime Reporting (UCR) form. While this was an important victory, it is shocking to note that the FBI only documents 3% of all hate crimes in the U.S., according to the National Crime Victimization Survey. Furthermore, 65% of all hate crimes are not being reported.
The U.S. has ratified the ICCPR and ICERD and the Committees, within these Int'l treaty bodies, ensure that the U.S. is complying with its responsibilities. We submitted a number of Shadow Reports to hold the U.S. government accountable for failing to protect vulnerable communities in the U.S. from bias-based crimes.
Universal Periodic Review (UPR) Report on the United States for the 22nd UPR Session before the UN Human Rights Council http://www.icaad.ngo/USUPR was cited by the Office of the High Commissioner on Human Rights.
ICAAD's Shadow Report recommendations were highlighted by the CERD Committee in their Concluding Observations - http://bit.ly/11piNtw
Filing a Shadow Report before the Human Rights Committee (CERD) - http://www.icaad.ngo/icerdhatecrimes
Shadow Report Filed to the Human Rights Committee that monitors the ICCPR - http://www.icaad.ngo/iccprhatecrimes
PUBLICATION - September 2013:
Law review article in Berkeley's Asian American Law Journal on ICAAD's systems approach to addressing structural discrimination. The journal article focuses on gaps in hate crimes documentation - http://www.icaad.ngo/lawreviewhatecrimes
2012: Conducted bullying survey and analysis of Sikh children on behalf of the Sikh Coalition, uncovering the fact that turbaned Sikh children face bullying at more than double the rate of the national average, and helping produce this report: https://icaad.ngo/gohometerrorist
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