Hate crimes site revamped
- By Nicholas Morehead
- Jul 04, 2001
The Massachusetts Governor's Task Force on Hate Crimes has redesigned its
Web site to help educate a wider audience and enable victims to report such
In addition to the task force, the state's Student Civil Rights Project
and Web design firm RDVO worked on the site, Stop the Hate.Org (www.stopthehate.org).
Christina Bouras, executive director of the task force, said the idea
behind the redesign was to create a youth-oriented feel while making the
site more comprehensive and inclusive of sectors of society that deal with
"Our old site catered primarily to students and educators. We wanted
to expand the site to include areas for law enforcement and the community
in particular," Bouras said, adding that officials also wanted to take advantage
of new technologies. She said they've done more to provide access to documents
and now offer online tutorials.
Another site highlight is an online form that victims can use to report hate crimes. Members of the Student
Civil Rights Project monitor the site.
"This is the only Web site of this type in the nation that allows you
to file a hate crime [report] online," said Greg Lanza, assistant student
civil rights director for the task force. "You can make it as detailed and
anonymous as you want. It comes directly to us, which is a great feature
because it allows people who don't feel comfortable going to a police officer
or a principal to have a place where they can turn to and say, "Help.'"
Teachers who want to teach students about hate crimes can find sample
curriculums on the site. Also included are tips from students, scholars,
experts and police officers on how to deal with and/or report a hate crime,
as well as information on relevant laws.
Benjamin Zipkin, RDVO's managing director, said that to make the revamped
site appeal to young people, designers aimed for "fresh and interesting."
"When you look at most hate crime sites, they're pretty boring, and
they load up on the negative imagery the swastikas and the burning crosses
to really make their point," Zipkin said. "We stayed away from that and
tried to create an image of unity, which is what the task force wanted to
emphasize as well."
To get word out about the site, the task force has sent pamphlets to
every high school in the state. Also, more than 20,000 cards announcing
the relaunch were sent to organizations, businesses and governments statewide.