The HeARTwork Against Hate is a creative initiative for New York City youth launched by the Office for the Prevention of Hate Crimes in September 2020.
It is important to support young New Yorkers at a time of great stress resulting from the combination of a global pandemic, economic uncertainty, school changes, scapegoating, and issues of systemic racism that have come to the fore. HeARTwork Against Hate is an opportunity and a platform for young New Yorkers to use artistic expression as an outlet.
The NYC Department of Youth and Community Development (DYCD) in partnership with NYC-based comic book artist Michael O’Shea, created the Comic Book Project, and, in partnership with OPHC, focused the 2020 project on the theme, “Heroes Against Hate.”
The comic book tells the story of young New Yorkers joining forces with “Nurse Healthy” to battle the villain “Mr. No Mask” to bring New Yorkers together against hate, discrimination, and harassment.
The OPHC joined the NYC Youth Leadership Councils (YLCs) organized by NYC Service & Generation NYC to form its own Youth Leadership Council Against Hate (YLCAH). The YLCs are a network of youth groups focused on policy, practice, and advocacy to make local change happen—each YLC is a space to team up with others, share ideas, create solutions, and put those solutions into action with support from City agencies, schools, and community organizations.
The OPHC invited youth leaders (grades 9-12) from New York City schools to serve as advisors on the development of a hate crime curriculum. In this new initiative, the Youth Leadership Council Against Hate (YLCAH) provides close feedback on the curriculum, as well as provides input on other issues highlighted by the OPHC, including restorative justice, victim services, education resources, and strategies to enhance incident reporting. YLCAH members learn skills to be upstanders against hate, providing their peers with educational resources on how to prevent and respond to hate crimes and bias incidents in their own schools.
If you are interested in learning more about OPHC’s YLC, email OPHCEducation@cityhall.nyc.gov.
Required by New York City Council local law to create anti-hate curricular resources in consultation with the NYC Department of Education, the OPHC interpreted this mandate broadly, designing in-house a comprehensive curriculum for all NYC middle- and high-school students. Seizing an opportunity during the COVID-19 pandemic to create a curriculum adaptable to a variety of settings, the curriculum will be both fully online and designed for both remote and in-person teaching.
If you would be interested in introducing the OPHC Hate Crimes Curriculum in your school or have any other inquiries regarding our curriculum, please connect with us at OPHCEducation@cityhall.nyc.gov.