Today, at the White House, President Biden is hosting the United We Stand Summit to counter the corrosive effects of hate-fueled violence on our democracy and public safety. The Summit will honor the resilience of communities who are healing from hateful attacks, including mass shootings, from Oak Creek to Orlando, Charleston, Pittsburgh, El Paso, Atlanta, Buffalo, and beyond. The Summit will put forward a shared vision for a more united America, demonstrating that the vast majority of Americans agree that there is no place for hate-fueled violence in our country, and that when Americans stand united to renew civic bonds and heal divides, we can help prevent acts of hate and violence. Today’s Summit is just the beginning of this work and every American has a role to play in this cause. Today at the Summit, President Biden will rally a whole-of-society response to prevent, respond to, and recover from hate-fueled violence, and to foster national unity.
New Actions by the Federal Government
To help meet these challenges, the Administration will take new steps, including the following:
Actions to strengthen federal coordination on preventing, confronting, and recovering from hate-motivated violence and fostering unity
The White House Initiative on Hate-Motivated Violence established today will strengthen interagency coordination in preventing and responding to hate-motivated violence, leverage federal research and resources, and enhance engagement and consultation with diverse stakeholders, including communities targeted for who they are or what they believe.
Actions to help prevent hate-fueled violence
- Support educational authorities and educational institutions to improve their ability to prevent hate-based threats and bullying and recover from hate-based violence. The Department of Education and the Department of Health and Human Services will issue a call to action to education and health leaders and partners across the country – including public health agencies and health providers – to develop and strengthen evidence-informed strategies that prevent and respond to hate-based threats, bullying, and harassment in schools. The Departments will support that call to action in several ways. Today, the Department of Education is informing states of their share of $1 billion in new funds made available through the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act to support safer and healthier learning environments. The Department of Health and Human Services will also soon announce additional funds from the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act to support student wellbeing and resilience in the face of hate and trauma. And both Departments will issue guidance about the ways in which their funding, including the funding released today, may be used for these purposes. The Departments will also offer expanded assistance in helping states, school districts, schools, and other youth-serving providers effectively access, navigate, and leverage evidence-based federal resources that support prevention, recovery, and resilience. Finally, the Departments will lift up a variety of best practices among innovative education and health leaders and partners that respond to the call to action.
The Department of Education will issue a parallel call to action for institutions of higher education, to strengthen their efforts to prevent and respond to hate-based violence on their campuses and in their surrounding communities. In addition, the Department will gather leaders from institutions of higher education in communities that have experienced hate-fueled violence, including HBCUs subjected to recent threats, to spotlight effective practices in prevention and response. The Department will also expedite applications for its grants assisting higher-education institutions in preventing and responding to hate-motivated violence, including Project SERV, which funds short-term education-related services for local education agencies and institutions of higher education to help them recover from a violent or traumatic event in which the learning environment has been disrupted. In addition to the Project SERV grant to the Southern University Law Center awarded earlier this year, the Department announced today Project SERV grant awards to Tougaloo College and Fayetteville State University, and will further support HBCUs and other Project SERV applicants by providing technical assistance, such as providing sample methods to demonstrate the impact on students and examples of allowable recovery activities, to help expedite the application process.
- Increase access to federal prevention resources for organizations and local communities. The Administration will launch an online resource finder for federal resources to prevent targeted violence in support of the 2021 National Strategy for Countering Domestic Terrorism. This website will be a user-friendly website for diverse institutional, governmental and organizational users. It will provide access to federal grants, program guidance, information sharing platforms, research, training, and community support efforts related to preventing targeted violence, including hate-based targeted violence.
The Department of Homeland Security is also announcing the awarding of $20 million in grants for state, local, Tribal, and territorial governments, nonprofits, and colleges and universities establish or enhance capabilities to prevent targeted violence. This year, DHS grantees for the program include, for the first time, two Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) and two organizations working in the LGBTQI+ community.
In December 2022, the U.S. Secret Service’s National Threat Assessment Center (NTAC), a source of deep expertise for identifying, assessing, and preventing targeted violence, will release a comprehensive analysis of mass attacks in public spaces from 2016 to 2020, providing a better understanding of the circumstances and factors that lead to mass violence, including identifying and addressing the connections between online abuse and violence in communities. In addition, NTAC will collaborate with federal partners and national groups to provide threat assessment guidance and training to communities throughout the United States. NTAC training on threat assessment and prevention of targeted violence will be available to state, local, Tribal, and territorial law enforcement, schools, universities, workplaces, faith-based organizations, public health agencies, and other agencies and organizations with public safety responsibilities. NTAC is also adding to its research on the nexus between online misogyny and targeted violence by preparing a report examining the role of domestic violence as a motive and precursor to mass violence.
- Assist financial institutions and law enforcement to detect and combat the financing of domestic violent extremism. The Department of Treasury’s Office of Terrorism and Financial Intelligence will develop a website of key reports and resources on financing domestic violent extremism to help inform the public and private sectors. Treasury will also undertake strategic engagement with regional financial institutions across the United States to discuss risks associated with financing domestic violent extremism, and hold a workshop with virtual currency firms on domestic violent extremist use of virtual assets.
- Support information literacy to improve resilience against online attempts to foment hate-motivated violence. In the coming months, the National Telecommunications and Information Administration will award up to $69 million from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law to assist states, Tribal entities, and U.S. territories as they develop programs to improve digital literacy and online skills. These programs include improving Americans’ ability to locate, evaluate, and effectively use information online. The Institute of Museum and Library Services will also announce new federal funding and support to advance information literacy. Additionally, IMLS will launch an interagency taskforce facilitating the development of a portal of resources bridging information literacy research and practice for how to advance information literacy within communities.
- Enhance school safety. The Departments of Justice, Homeland Security, Education, and Health and Human Services will release a summary of federal resources for parents, caregivers, and community members designed to provide information on how to improve incident preparedness; promote and expand programs for secure firearm storage at home; and access trauma-informed services and other resources for children, parents, and communities in the aftermath of an incident. The summary will be published on SchoolSafety.gov, a collaborative, interagency website that provides K-12 schools and districts with resources, guidance, and best practices for creating a safe and supportive learning environment.
Actions to improve the federal response when violence occurs and to help communities recover
- Strengthen ties between law enforcement and impacted communities. The Department of Justice is announcing the national expansion of its United Against Hate initiative, convening local forums that connect community groups to federal, state, and local law enforcement to increase community understanding and reporting of hate crimes; build trust between law enforcement and communities; and create and strengthen alliances between law enforcement and other government partners and groups to combat hate. DOJ successfully piloted the program earlier this year in the U.S. Attorney’s Offices for Massachusetts, New Jersey, and the Eastern District of Washington. The Department is expanding to 16 additional U.S. Attorney’s Offices this fall and will expand to all 94 U.S. Attorney’s Offices next year.
- Improve federal government assistance and support responding to hate-based incidents. Agencies across the Administration, with feedback and consultation from the communities involved, will carefully evaluate government support following past incidents and offer recommendations for improvements in the delivery of government assistance to affected individuals and communities, including legislative changes where necessary.
- Commit cultural resources at the local and national levels for prevention and community healing in the face of hate-based violence. The arts and humanities help us develop the skills needed to find connection, common purpose, and recognition of our shared humanity. They strengthen mutual understanding and remind us of the norms and agreements that we rely on to care for one another. The National Endowment for the Arts and the National Endowment for the Humanities are launching a new initiative to connect communities through cultural engagement. This initiative will include funding opportunities for partners in every state, the District of Columbia, and all U.S. jurisdictions for programming promoting civic and social engagement, and cross-cultural understanding. The initiative will also include resources and capacity building to protect cultural institutions targeted by ongoing domestic extremism and hate-based violence, like cultural centers serving groups victimized by hate; partnerships with local organizations to host communal gatherings such as meals, concerts, and convenings to help process grief and build resilience after hate-based incidents; and emergency “second responder” relief assisting local cultural and educational institutions with programming, such as oral history projects that document survivors’ experiences.
Actions to promote civic renewal and foster national unity
- Facilitate expanded access to national service and volunteerism through a United We Serve campaign. The campaign, launched through serve.gov, will encourage and create opportunities for Americans to come together in common purpose, with an emphasis on bridgebuilding and social cohesion, around a Presidential call to action to engage in service and volunteerism. Building on the model of FEMA Corps, the National Partnership for Student Success, and Public Health AmeriCorps, agencies across the federal government will evaluate opportunities for service partnerships, including leveraging agency authorities to deliver service in underserved communities with tools like outreach and training. Recognizing the skills and capacity of national service alumni, and the need to attract the next generation of talent to the federal government, the Office of Personnel Management will review opportunities to enhance pathways from national service into federal service. AmeriCorps, working with Peace Corps, will also will develop new training opportunities for members in skills like bridgebuilding, promoting civic engagement, and fostering social cohesion, and will develop new mechanisms to evaluate the impact and cost-effectiveness of national service and volunteerism interventions.
In addition to the executive and agency actions outlined above, President Biden is calling on Congress to enact substantially increased investments in national service and civics education, which are vital to strengthening our social fabric and forging a deeper sense of common purpose and national unity.
- President Biden believes that Americans from all walks of life should have the opportunity to serve their country and community through programs like AmeriCorps, including AmeriCorps Seniors. When Americans of all backgrounds and beliefs work side-by-side to tackle our nation’s toughest challenges, they come to know one another, to bridge differences, and understand that there is more we have in common than divides us.
- The Biden-Harris Administration has already increased AmeriCorps members’ living allowance, including with funds provided by the American Rescue Plan, but we must do more to make service an accessible pathway to success for all Americans. President Biden urges Congress to raise the AmeriCorps education award to follow increases in Pell grants and to increase the AmeriCorps living allowance to the equivalent of $15 per hour over FY24 and FY25.
- It is essential to equip Americans with the tools to engage effectively as citizens by improving understanding of our Constitution and our unique democratic system of government. Civics education builds the skills required for full participation in local and national civic life, while strengthening our communities as we work together in self-governance. The President calls on Congress to significantly expand federal support for civics education, through a competitive grant program that will help states and school districts to design and develop new programs or expand programs grounded in evidence-based strategies.
President Biden also calls on Congress to build on the landmark public safety legislation he signed over the last year, including the COVID-19 Hate Crimes Act and the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act, with new legislation to make the country safer by helping to prevent hate-motivated violence.
- The Department of Homeland Security’s Nonprofit Security Grant Program helps protect houses of worship and nonprofit institutions serving at-risk communities against terrorist attacks and targeted violence, including security enhancements that can help deter attacks against people and property. It is available to help safeguard houses of worship including Catholic, Evangelical, or Mainline churches; synagogues; mosques, temples, gurdwaras, and other sacred spaces. This program is also available to assist community centers and recreational centers as well as other bulwarks of civil society, including the Historically Black Colleges and Universities subject to appalling threats this year. The Biden-Harris Administration appreciates the need to keep all such institutions safe and secure. President Biden’s FY23 budget request significantly increases funding for this program, and calls on Congress to deliver that vital increase and to continue significant investments in the program into the future.
- Tech platforms currently have special legal protections under Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act that broadly shield them from liability. This immunity extends beyond what the First Amendment requires and what newspapers and other media receive. It also effectively permits hate-fueled content mobilizing users to violence to be amplified on large tech platforms. President Biden has long urged fundamental reforms to Section 230, and consistent with the Principles for Enhancing Competition and Tech Platform Accountability released on September 8, he reiterates his call for Congress to fundamentally reform Section 230.
- Americans deserve to know how the algorithms that drive large tech platforms may amplify divisions and contribute to hate-fueled violence, among other critical harms. Consistent with those same principles for accountability, President Biden supports requiring platform transparency sufficient to allow the public and researchers to understand how and why such decisions are made, their potential effects on users, and the very real dangers these decisions may pose.
New Actions from Non-Federal Public and Private Institutions to Foster Civic Unity
President Biden understands that addressing hate-based violence takes an all-of-society effort. That is why it is so important to have engagement from non-federal public and private institutions to prevent, respond to, and recover from hate-fueled violence, and to build bridges and foster greater social cohesion:
- Dignity.us, A Citizens’ Initiative to Address Hate-Fueled Violence in America. Four former Directors of the White House Domestic Policy Council under Presidents George W. Bush, Barack Obama, and Donald J. Trump — together with four Presidential Centers or Foundations (Presidents Barack Obama, George W. Bush, William J. Clinton, and Gerald R. Ford) — are launching Dignity.us, a Citizens’ Initiative to address our growing national crisis of hate-fueled violence. This initiative will build on the work of the Summit by continuing the conversation in communities around the country, conducting an exhaustive national search for first-hand testimonials, insights, and solutions on preventing and responding to hate-fueled violence. The Initiative will begin with an initial phase of listening and learning, by engaging:
- Communities across 50 states, D.C., the territories, and Tribal lands that have directly experienced hate-fueled violence and those that are working to address it—including leaders in schools, workplaces, faith-based institutions, law enforcement, and government, and among youth;
- Researchers and experts who have studied the problem and have evidence of effective solutions;
- Nonprofits, associations, and foundations that have worked to address hatred, violence and division and build bridges across differences; and
- Those who have left groups affiliated with hatred and violence, to understand their motivations for joining and why they left.
As part of this effort to gather inputs from Americans of all regions and backgrounds, the Citizens’ Initiative will host virtual and in-person public listening sessions this fall, with details to come in the weeks ahead. The public – especially individuals in communities that have suffered hate-motivated violence – are invited to share their experiences and recommendations for addressing this shared challenge at Dignity.us.
After several months of this learning, the Citizens’ Initiative will develop a set of recommendations and drive the implementation of a plan of action “from the nation, for the nation,” with a focus on greatly scaling effective community-based efforts. This effort is supported by a diverse group of foundations, including the David and Lucile Packard Foundation, Democracy Fund, Ford Foundation, Kettering Foundation, MacArthur Foundation, Omidyar Network, Open Society Foundations, Rockefeller Brothers Fund, Silicon Valley Community Foundation, Stand Together, W.K. Kellogg Foundation, William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, and more than 40 community foundations across the country.
- More than 140 mayors have signed a new Mayors’ Compact to Combat Hate and Extremism. For decades, America’s mayors have fought for civil rights and in opposition to racism and discrimination. Today, city leaders from across the country and from both parties are continuing this tradition by joining a new Compact, organized by the U.S. Conference of Mayors and the Anti-Defamation League, committing to taking key actions to prevent and address hate-fueled violence and build bridges across differences to create respect for and inclusion of all peoples within their communities.
- Leading civic institutions will launch A Nation of Bridgebuilders initiative. Interfaith America, Habitat for Humanity, and the YMCA of the USA are responding to the President’s call to action by engaging tens of thousands of Americans in rural, urban, and suburban communities across the nation in meaningful opportunities to bridge diverse identities and divergent ideologies. Through A Nation of Bridgebuilders, these organizations will train 10,000 leaders across the nation in bridgebuilding skills and host over 1,000 events with a bridgebuilding focus in over 300 communities. Those trained in bridgebuilding will be equipped to play leadership roles in civic and service activities, such as a Habitat build where diverse Americans discuss shared values while building homes for their community or a local YMCA incorporating age-appropriate listening and empathy-building activities into summer camp activities. This approach—focusing on personal relationships, shared values, storytelling, and working together in common purpose—leverages longstanding research demonstrating the power of personal encounter to build bonds among Americans with different backgrounds and perspectives.
- New Pluralists will galvanize funders to invest $1 billion toward building a culture of respect, peace, and cooperation. New Pluralists, a cross-ideological group of philanthropists, social changemakers, and local leaders working together to build a culture of respect, belonging and collaboration in communities and organizations across America, is announcing today that they will galvanize funders to invest $1 billion over 10 years to support the field and stand behind the essential work of courageous uniters, healers, and bridgers. This work will enable millions of Americans to better understand and collaborate with their neighbors to solve their communities’ most significant challenges.
- Foundations and philanthropists commit to launch the Trust for Civic Infrastructure. A group of foundations and philanthropists will launch a new Trust for Civic Infrastructure to bring the nation closer together and build a vibrant, diverse democracy for generations to come, as recently recommended in the American Academy of Arts and Sciences report, Our Common Purpose. The Trust will support community-led eﬀorts to strengthen and expand the places, programs, people, and information that bolster civic capacity and create opportunities for communities to build common ground and solve problems together. The group has set a goal of at least $30 million for a pilot phase, during which the Trust will invest in local innovations to strengthen and expand existing civic infrastructure, inspire the invention of new civic infrastructure models, and explore ways to harness the digital age.
- McCain Institute builds a Prevention Practitioners Network. Funded in part by a Department of Homeland Security grant, the McCain Institute at Arizona State University has built the Prevention Practitioners Network. The PPN is a resource repository and learning network for practitioners from various disciplines interested in expanding their knowledge related to risk assessment and prevention approaches to address targeted violence. The Network will also host intensive workshops that address common challenges among professionals in this area, including privacy concerns in interactions with law enforcement. Today, in support of the Network, the McCain Institute is launching SCREEN Hate, a national campaign for parents and concerned adults to raise awareness about how youth may be exposed to violent extremism online.
Commitments from the Technology Sector: As the President and Vice President have underscored, technology plays a critical and necessary role in Americans’ lives, but advancements in digital technologies, including social media and other online platforms, have also led to unintended consequences—including the spread of violent extremist ideologies and mobilization to violence—for which the technology sector must bear responsibility. Americans know how the internet can fuel hate, misogyny, and abuse with spillover effects that threaten the safety of our communities offline. Today’s announcements from the tech sector take a step towards recognizing the important role companies play in designing their products and platforms to curb the spread of hate-fueled violence both online and off.
- YouTube is expanding its policies to combat violent extremism by removing content glorifying violent acts for the purpose of inspiring others to commit harm, fundraise, or recruit, even if the creators of such content are not related to a designated terrorist group. YouTube will also launch an educational media literacy campaign across its platform to assist younger users in particular in identifying different manipulation tactics used to spread misinformation – from using emotional language to cherry picking information. This campaign will first launch in the U.S. before expanding to other countries over time. Finally, YouTube will support the McCain Institute and EdVenture Partners’ Invent2Prevent program with ongoing funding and training. The program challenges college students to develop their own dynamic products, tools, or initiatives to prevent targeted violence and terrorism.]
- Twitch will accelerate its ongoing commitment to deterring hate in the livestreaming space this year by releasing a new tool that empowers its streamers and their communities to help counter hate and harassment and further individualize the safety experience of their channels. Twitch will also launch new community education initiatives on topics including identifying harmful misinformation and deterring hateful violence.
- Microsoft is expanding its application of violence detection and prevention artificial intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML) tools and using gaming to build empathy in young people. The company has developed AI/ML tools with appropriate privacy protections that can help detect credible threats of violence or to public safety, and is making a basic, more affordable version of these tools accessible to schools and smaller organizations to assist in violence prevention. Microsoft is also developing a new experience on Minecraft: Education Edition to help students, families and educators learn ways to build a better and safer online and offline world through respect, empathy, trust and safety.
- Meta is forging a new research partnership with the Middlebury Institute of International Studies’ Center on Terrorism, Extremism, and Counterterrorism to analyze trends in violent extremism and tools that help communities combat it. Meta will also partner with Search For Common Ground to provide trainings, workshops, and skill-building to equip community-based partners working locally to counter hate-fueled violence with tools to help amplify their work.