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START Director to co-lead anti-hate discussions at the White House, worldwide summit

William Braniff will speak at the White House’s United We Stand Summit on Sept. 15, and on three panels at the Eradicate Hate Global Summit Sept. 19-21

William Braniff, Director of the National Consortium for the Study of Terrorism and Responses to Terrorism (START) and a University of Maryland Professor of the Practice, is a leading expert on violent extremism and other subjects related to the theme of two events he’s been asked to speak at this month: Anti-hate.

The first event Braniff has been asked to speak at is the White House’s United We Stand Summit, which will take place from 10 A.M. - 5 P.M. on Thursday, Sept. 15.

“President Biden will host at the White House the United We Stand Summit to counter the corrosive effects of hate-fueled violence on our democracy and public safety, highlight the response of the Biden-Harris Administration and communities nationwide to these dangers, and put forward a shared vision for a more united America,” Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said in a statement.

Braniff and co-presenter Cynthia Miller-Idress, a Professor in the School of Public Affairs and School of Education at American University, will help kick off the United We Stand event by shedding light on the current state of violent extremism in the United States. Braniff will speak about the impact that hate crimes and terrorism have on American communities and American national security, and highlight data from START’s Bias Incidents and Actors Study and Global Terrorism Database

“START data and findings have been important contributors to the increased attention that the U.S. Government is placing on hate crime,” said Braniff, citing the framing of the White House Summit and the inclusion of hate crime considerations into two recent government reports START consulted on. “As a country, we tend to consider terrorism as a strategic, national security issue, but we relegate hate crime to a local issue. This leads to inequity in a number of ways, such as how resources are allocated to keep people safe, but it also negatively impacts our national security in ways that are underappreciated.” 

Braniff and Miller-Ildress’ remarks will begin around 10:35 a.m. and can be viewed via livestream on the United We Stand event website.

The second event Braniff has been asked to speak at is the Sept. 19-21, 2022 Eradicate Hate Global Summit in Pittsburg, Pa.

At the Eradicate Hate Summit, the mission is to identify and implement effective anti-hate solutions by bringing together leaders from around the world. Braniff was asked to serve as a co-organizer of the Summit based on START’s contributions to extremist violence prevention efforts—including work regarding the military and veterans led by Dr. Michael Jensen, START’s Radicalization and Disengagement (RaD) team senior researcher, and Braniff’s experience as a co-founder and board member of We the Veterans. We the Veterans is a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization harnessing the strength of veterans and military families to support the pillars of American democracy, and to crowd out vulnerabilities to violent extremism and polarizing misinformation. We the Veterans’ programming is informed directly by START research. 

Braniff will be speaking on three Eradicate Hate panels, discussing the hate-fueled violence that has taken place since 2021 in the Summit Overview panel; how veterans and military family members can minimize extremism in their communities in the second; and a We the Veterans civics initiative called Vet the Vote in a third panel on “Strategies for Protecting the Election Process.”  

Dr. Jensen will also be speaking on several panels at the Eradicate Hate Summit, including “Research on Violent Extremism, the Military and Veterans,” “The next Chapter for Oath Keepers and Proud Boys” and “Democracy as a Target of Hate: The Role of Organized Hate Groups in the Events of January 6.” Dr. Jensen’s research has been instrumental in supporting the Department of Defense Counter Extremist Activity Working Group as well as the January 6 Committee investigation in recent years. 

“It’s exciting to see START’s research into strengths-based, public health approaches to violence prevention inform the thinking and programming of We the Veterans, and then to have that powerful combination be recognized at a highly impactful and prestigious summit,” said Braniff of the Eradicate Hate Summit. “We intend to drum up opportunities for future research and programs to help minimize the threat posed by hate-fueled and anti-democratic violence.” 

Watch the United We Stand event here

Register for the Eradicate Hate Summit here

This article originally appeared on the University of Maryland’s College of Behavioral & Social Sciences (BSOS) website.