Hate Hurts


For more information on the Hate Hurts Program:

Presentations are booked on a “first come first served” basis.

Some charges may apply

Hate Hurts Coordinator, Elizabeth Ly

Phone: 403-428-8162

Email: albertahatecrimes@gmail.com


Grades 7, 8 and 9 student comments:

  • I really enjoyed the presentation, it was awesome! Keep up the great work, it makes me happy to know that someone cares

  • I enjoyed how the students got involved in the presentation and didn't just have to sit and listen to someone talk

  • It was a very good presentation to know how discrimination and hate hurts people

  • I really enjoyed the role plays and hearing about hate crimes/incidents, I never realized what was out there, thanks so much this was awesome!

  • This presentation is really fun, very good for teens to listen to


What is Hate Hurts?

The Hate Hurts Program is a diversity and hate-bias program for local junior and senior high school. This program provides schools with the skill development, information and resources needed to support an environment that actively addresses issues of hate, bias and discrimination.

Our presentations include information around hate/bias crimes and/or incidents, active witness skill training, a resource tool kit, role plays and scenarios, our website and a variety of interactive activities.

Throughout our presentation students will have a chance to engage in various activities which focus on how to respond to discrimination at school, home or in the community. Involvement in these activities will help empower students to respond to witnessing and victimization of hate-bias incidents/crimes and ultimately reduce the occurrence of hate-bias incidents in our community.

The students will also be presented with scenarios relating to the different levels of witnessing. Throughout this exercise students will have an opportunity to take part in different activities which promote positive community involvement relating to hate/bias incidents.

School Resource Officers (SRO) around Alberta have been trained to deliver this program in their schools; however if you do not have a trained SRO available to you,, accommodations can be made to bring Hate Hurts to your school or community group. The presentation runs approximately two hours, but the program is flexible and could be adjusted for shorter or longer time frames. The Hate Hurts program can be presented to large groups but smaller groups allow for more interactive activities and discussion.


How hate groups recruit

Through rituals, regalia and impressive ceremony, individual youth are easily impressed and recruited, often due to their lack of identifiable future, and are catapulted into an environment of violence and hatred.

Disenchanted youth who are abused, angry, unemployed, dropouts or runaways, and who may be looking for someone to blame for their problems, are prime targets. Hate groups prey on lonely youth who are socially isolated by learning their weaknesses and drawing them into a group in which they feel accepted. They befriend students and invite them to meetings, making them feel wanted and important, providing membership cards, titles and a sense of belonging.

Hate groups recruit followers by distributing flyers and leaflets at schools and on the street, attracting young people to meetings, concerts or rallies and inviting them to call a hotline for more information. Hate is the second fastest growing area on the Internet and hate groups are making use of social media to target youth with their online recruiting campaigns.

Members of racist groups provide a false camaraderie and friendship that is motivated by reasons not readily apparent to the target. They intimate that their hate group is simply a social club, or a legitimate nationalist political party or movement interested in preserving Canadian culture. They always lie to new members, never telling them of their true agenda of hatred and violence before it is too late.

Hatemongers either demand “Equal Rights for Whites” or denigrate minorities through racist and bigoted articles, newsletters, music and cartoons.

Young people are brainwashed through rituals, rallies, training camps and the dissemination of hate propaganda, until they give up their independent identity, join the cause and become hatemongers themselves.


Early warning signs

A change of behaviour or appearance of your teenager may indicate involvement with hate groups.

Some of these telltale signs include:

  • Sudden lack of interest in school.

  • Adopting new groups of friends and staying out late without any explanation.

  • Violence or secretive behaviour.

  • Overt hostility to parents and family, disobedience, rudeness.

  • Racist graffiti, drawings and doodling.

  • Playing loud, heavy rock music with violent lyrics.

  • Stereotyping and scape-goating of certain groups; name calling, racial and religious slurs in conversation at all times.

  • Making racist or bigoted comments about minorities, immigrants or foreigners.

  • A marked repugnance to consider certain ethnic or religious groups as fully Canadian or even human.

  • The wearing or displaying of Nazi propaganda and symbols such as swastikas or the Iron Cross and/or military clothing and paraphernalia.

  • Becoming a skinhead or acquiring skinhead friends wearing black or red Dr. Marten’s combat boots. (keeping in mind that just because an individual is a skinhead or wears Dr. Marten's doesn't mean they are in a hate group)


Be An Active Witness

The quickest way to fight discrimination is to be a witness for change. Do you cut someone off when they start to tell a racist joke (before the punch line)? Do you support the victims of discrimination after they have been attacked?

There are four levels of witnessing that will be defined during the presentation:

1. Dis-witnessing

2. Passive Witnessing

3. Active Witnessing

4. Ethical Witnessing

Just like a car running over someone at a crosswalk it is the witness to the accident that has all the power. They have the ability to report the driver to the police, they can help the victim or they can put their hands in their pockets and walk the other way. Sometimes the hardest thing about getting involved is knowing what to do. Knowing how to react to hate and discrimination is a skill, a skill that improves with practice.

During our Hate Hurts school presentations the students will have an opportunity to take part in a variety of scenarios/role plays that address witnessing skills and anti-discrimination responses.


What is a hate/bias crime?

Any criminal offence committed against a person or property, which is motivated in whole or in part by the suspects’ hate, prejudice, or bias against an individual or identifiable group based on real or perceived race, national or ethnic origin, language, colour, religion, sex, age, mental or physical disability, sexual orientation, or any other similar factor.

Examples of hate/bias crime include:

• Violence, threats of violence

• Vandalism, graffiti

• Threatening phone calls

• Physical assaults

• Hate mail, emails

• Destruction of religious symbols

• Fire bombings


What is a hate/bias incident?

Incidents of hate/bias also include actions such as name calling, using racial slurs or distributing material promoting prejudice. Although these incidents do not have the elements required to prove a crime, they can lead to violent or criminal behaviour.


Discrimination, Prejudice and Stereotyping


Discrimination means that someone is being treated unfairly because of a certain characteristic. The characteristic can be race, religion, nationality, sexual orientation; it can even be a physical disability. Discrimination is based on prejudice.

Prejudice is an attitude or belief which is formed or held without really considering the facts (Alberta Human Rights Commission, Human Rights: Respecting our Differences Students’ Manual at 6). Prejudice means judging in advance.

Stereotyping involves making global assumptions without knowing all the facts. A stereotype assumes that all members of a group share some general quality. (ie. They are smart, they are stupid, they are hard working, they are bad drivers, etc.) Stereotyping of people or groups can be derogatory and can lead to prejudice and discrimination. The following scenario illustrates how stereotypes can lead to discrimination.

People are often hurt by prejudicial attitudes and discriminatory behaviour. People may lose out on jobs or apartments because of discriminatory attitudes. The law cannot control stereotyping or prejudicial attitudes; however, it can address discrimination. Prejudice is not a behaviour; discrimination is. For example, a person may be prejudiced against people with brown hair. If this person keeps the feeling to himself or herself then it is prejudice, but if this person starts to beat up all people with brown hair it becomes discrimination. Prejudice is a state of mind; discrimination is a definite action which results from prejudice.

Examples of discrimination, prejudice and stereotyping:

  • “I don’t like Martians”. Joe has never met a Martian. He is prejudiced against Martians.

  • Jeff will not eat shrimp. He has never tasted a shrimp. Jeff is prejudiced against shrimp. However, this does not mean that Jeff’s prejudice against shrimp is a negative one; this prejudiced attitude is not likely to harm anyone. Prejudice attitudes are not always negative.

  • Jenny fell and hurt her leg. She was approached by a female doctor but refused help. She does not trust female doctors, even though she has never been treated by one. Jenny is prejudiced against female doctors.

  • Jill wanted to play on the boys soccer team. She is a skilled player and can easily outrun most of the boys on the team. The coach won’t even let her try out. The coach is discriminating against Jill.

  • Holly owns an apartment building in town. She makes it a policy to rent only to married people. She is discriminating against single and common law people.

  • All Asians are excellent mathematicians. This is an example of a stereotype. Although this appears to be a positive stereotype, it can still be harmful.


Asking your child “how was your day?” is more important than you may think.




The Alliance to End Violence



Alberta Civil Liberties Research Centre



Alberta Human Rights and Citizenship Commission



Calgary Police Service – Diversity Resources Unit



Canadian Race Relations Foundation



National Multicultural Institute



The Calgary Foundation (PROJECT SPONSOR)



Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness Canada – National Crime Prevention Centre (PROJECT SPONSOR)



Human Rights: Alberta Human Rights Commission (PROJECT SPONSOR)


John Humphrey Centre for Peace and Human Rights


Native Counselling Services of Alberta


Centre for Race and Culture


Rocky Mountain Civil Liberties Association


Alberta Teachers Association: Toolkit for Safe and Caring Discussions

Alberta Hate Crimes Committee initiatives are made possible by the support of:

  • Alberta Justice and Solicitor General

  • Human Rights Education and Multiculturalism Fund

  • Calgary Police Service

  • John Humphrey Centre for Peace and Human Rights

  • Coalitions Creating Equity

  • REACH Edmonton