PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — The third annual Eradicate Hate Global Summit opened in Pittsburgh on Wednesday morning.
As KDKA-TV's Jon Delano reports, its mission is an ambitious one.
Over a thousand individuals from around the world gathered at the David L. Lawrence Convention Center to hear experts from around the world on how to combat hate crimes that now surpass 11,000 in the United States alone.
"We know that we can't eradicate hate overnight," said Chuck Moellenberg, president of the summit. "This will be a long struggle. It will take many steps, many people working on this effort."
A long-time attorney in Pittsburgh, Moellenberg is the president of the Eradicate Hate Global Summit, which is bringing together worldwide experts in government, law enforcement, medicine, social work, tech platforms, video games, academia, and families who have experienced hate-motivated violence.
"The goal is to break down silos between the various professions and sectors that used to meet by themselves at conferences. We want to bring them all together," he said.
Along with Pittsburgh attorney Laura Ellsworth, the conference is co-chaired by Mark Nordenberg, the former chancellor of the University of Pittsburgh who said the attack on three Jewish congregations at Tree of Life five years ago triggered the idea that it was time for action.
"It's grounded in the belief that we ought to do something about the spread of hate-fueled violence, and we also ought to do something that makes Pittsburgh better known for the way it responded to that hate and not just the site of that attack," Nordenberg said.
Nordenberg, a former law professor, said the United States has some unique challenges because the First Amendment protects the right to hate and say hateful things as long as it does not incite violence, unlike other countries that can and do outlaw speech.
"We're not into that," he said. "We love the First Amendment. We believe in freedom of speech, but you know you can change people's minds."
Finding new multi-disciplinary strategies to change minds and to develop solutions that reduce the spread of hate-fueled violence are key goals of the conference.
U.S. Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas also made a quick stop at the summit, but he would not go on camera to answer questions. The DHS has identified domestic terrorism as a high-risk threat to this nation.
The Eradicate Hate Global Summit continues through Friday. To attend, click here for more.
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