Emerson students and faculty are a driving force behind Team Harmony, a global movement to eradicate hate.
Founded in 1994, the Team Harmony Foundation is an international nonprofit organization and multicultural forum devoted to uniting, educating, inspiring, and engaging youth to address and eradicate worldwide hate in all its forms. Created by The Rendon Group, a Boston-based marketing agency, Team Harmony brings together a diverse set of civil rights, community, and educational organizations to provide networking and training for youth groups during year-round engagements and coalition-building.
This year, Team Harmony is getting considerable help from Emerson College’s Communication Studies department, under the leadership of its chair, Gregory Payne, to carry out three powerful virtual programs: the HATE: “What are YOU going to DO? web series; the Team Harmony Virtual Institute for Activism; and an Activism Tool Kit.
The name of the web series was inspired by Emerson College President Lee Pelton’s letter to the Emerson community about his experiences as a Black man, in which he wrote,“This is not a black problem, but a structural issue built on white supremacy and centuries of racism. It’s your problem. And until you understand that, we are doomed to relive this week’s tragic events over and over again. What changes will you make in your own life? Begin with answering that question and maybe, just maybe we will get somewhere.”
The HATE: What Are YOU Going to DO? monthly web series is being produced by Emerson student group Common Collective, with guidance by Communication Studies affiliated faculty member Mark Brodie, MA ’99.
“Suffice it to say, we are taking Lee Pelton’s words about fighting hatred literally,” says Brodie. “Instead of just talking about it, we are actually using our communication skills, resources, and passion for social justice — to do something about it on a global scale.”
Created by students for students, each 45-minute virtual episode in the series will report on how young people around the world are promoting tolerance and inclusion, and peacefully combating racism and prejudice in their own communities.
“We have now recruited 96 global student reports in 36 countries. The roster grows daily,” says Brodie. “These contributors will cover assignments regarding the fight against hate in their countries. We will include their stories on the web series, along with having them interview global leaders, celebrities, sports figures, and more.”
Emerson students Khary Higgins ’21 and Angel Salcedo ‘21 will host the series, along with Miranda Andreson, a student from another college.
The programs will feature interviews and discussions with prominent political leaders, civic leaders and celebrities; segments recognizing youth from around the world conducting efforts to promote social and racial justice; reports from youth reporters worldwide. Applicants must be high school-aged students (14-18 years) and be nominated by an educator or community leader when completing their application.
This virtual web series will include the following special guests:
- Jonathan Greenblatt, CEO, Anti Defamation League
- Ayanna Pressley, U.S. Representative, D-MA
- Marty Walsh, Mayor of Boston
- Josh Zakim, Boston political leader, attorney, and community activist
- Christian Picciolini, Counter-extremism specialist
Virtual Institute for Activism
Communication Studies Executive-in-Residence Cathryn Cushner Edelstein is leading the creation of the Virtual Institute for Activism. She has recruited many of her colleagues to help, knowing the range of expertise they each could bring to the global conversation.
“If you are motivated for the cause [to eradicate hate] then you get the ‘why’ — or the purpose behind these courses,” says Edelstein.
Starting in mid-January and over the span of 10 weeks, the Virtual Institute for Activism will offer 10 one-hour courses created to encourage and educate high school youth with effective tools and tactics for racial and social justice activism. Two hundred students from around the world will join the institute, and each will design a project they want to start in their own communites, based on everything they have learned.
Emerson faculty and the Virtual Institute courses they will teach include:
- Cathy Edelstein and community development activist Christopher Ryan, “Building Bridges”
- Israela-Brill Cass and Phillip Glenn, “The Art of the Difficult Discussion”
- Robert Brown and Maria Scott, “PR 101”
- Owen Eagan, “The Art of Organizing”
- Deion Hawkins and Jane Pierce Saulnier, “The Art of Public Speaking”
- Cheryl Owsley-Jackson, “Creating Visibility for the Cause”
- Vincent Raynauld, “Using Social Media for Social Good”
- Emerson graduate students Margaret Whims and Kimberly Tecce, “Starting a Campaign”
An Activism Tool Kit
For curious students and teachers interested in learning how to be proactive in the ongoing efforts to combat hate and promote social and racial justice, this downloadable tool kit offers activities and the “how-to’s” towards these efforts. The kit was developed in collaboration with Emerson professors along with civic and social organization Generation Citizen, and with input from Team Harmony’s coalition partners.
Adding expert insight to the kit were Communication Studies professor Sharifa Simon-Roberts, in collaboration with Marketing Communication professor Randy Harrison and students in his digital marketing class, who designed their summer session project specifically for Team Harmony. The cohort built a customer relationship management and digital marketing platform and have secured licenses for Team Harmony through their connections at Salesforce.com.
Visit the Activist Tool Kit here.