ADL Austin Hosts First Virtual No Place For Hate Youth Summit

The Jewish Outlook

Nov 5, 2020

Texas ADL Education Directors Susan Shaw, Sherasa Thomas and Jillian Bontke collaborated for this year’s No Place For Hate Youth Summit. Photo credit: ADL Austin

By Renee Lafair

During the week of Oct. 5, ADL Texas hosted its first virtual No Place For Hate Youth Summit. Instead of a single day event, schools participated virtually over a week. The summit started with a welcome from the Austin, Dallas and Houston mayors, and a keynote from CoMeTrY, a group that combines slam poetry and stand up comedy to teach leadership and diversity skills. The week continued with two self-paced No Place for Hate activities, teacher training, and a final day Q&A with CoMeTrY.

“We had to pivot this year given virtual leaning and COVID-19. First, we combined forces with our Dallas and Houston offices. Also, we wanted this to be a user friendly, helpful and an engaging alternative for schools, who are all going through such challenging times right now,” explained Renee Lafair, ADL Austin regional director.

More than 600 schools are No Place for Hate in Texas, with over 350 located in Central Texas.

“We were really excited about the two lessons students and schools could do on their own: the identity iceberg and a self-paced mini lesson on cyberbullying and online hate,” explained Jillian Bontke, ADL Austin education director. “Both teachers and students have provided really positive feedback on both of these lessons.” 

The lessors are available free of charge at adl.org/npfhyouthsummit.

The overall message and theme was around building safe and inclusive spaces at school. 

Bontke emphasized to students and their teachers, “Remember, you have the power to use your voice to make sure we have no hate in the Lone Star state. Thank you for your work in building more inclusive space.” ■

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