Vote for Human Rights First’s SXSW PanelPicker Ideas

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Last March we set out for Austin, Texas to talk about using corporate data to fight modern slavery at SXSW (South by Southwest). Now we’re setting up for 2017 – but we need your help to get there. Human Rights First is organizing three panels for the epic conference, and public voting is open. Check out the descriptions below and vote for your favorite panel, or all three! See you in Austin!

Countering Extremism Online from ISIS to Neo-Nazis

The Internet is a powerful tool. Violent extremists, from ISIS militants to the far-right, have used it to devastating effect. But can it be equally powerful when harnessed for human rights? As hate speech and violent ideologies spread online, we need new counter-messaging strategies to combat extremism. This panel will examine the ideological underpinnings of these groups as well as why their propaganda is often so effective. It will explore methods of countering hate, online and off, and ask tough questions about tech companies’ responsibilities for dealing with hate speech on their platforms while considering the implications for free speech and censorship in online spaces.

Syrian Refugee Stories: Maximizing Reach & Impact

Refugee resettlement has become a lightning rod issue, with many Americans hesitant to welcome Syrian refugees over fears about terrorism. Yet Syrian refugees are themselves victims of ISIS terrorism—as well as the brutality of the Syrian government. Those who believe the United States should welcome Syrian refugees need to humanize the crisis by telling the heartbreaking and inspiring stories of refugees. Statistics rarely have impact, and a compelling story alone is not enough if few people hear it. And going “viral” doesn’t necessarily change minds. How do we tell the stories of Syrian refugees in such a way that both reach and impact are maximized?

Veterans Taking Up the Fight for Social Good

For many of our veterans coming home from active duty, the uniform may come off but service never stops. Veterans are looking for ways to contribute to their communities, and thanks to the ever-increasing availability of technology worldwide these men and women can not only connect with fellow veterans to improve lives at home, but they can extend service to their former allies still in areas of conflict. Through online video, social media, and web initiatives, veterans are creating a groundswell of support for issues they believe in and driving public policy aimed at honoring the American ideals that made them put on the uniform in the first place.

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Published on August 16, 2016

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