Saturday, 9 September 2023

Biden’s DHS awards millions to LGBT, minority groups for ‘targeted violence and terrorism prevention’

 The Biden administration’s Department of Homeland Security announced on Wednesday that $20 million would be awarded to a number of organizations, including minority and LGBT groups, for “targeted violence and terrorism prevention.”

The grants, awarded in the name of “equity,” will be provided to 34 organizations through the Targeted Violence and Terrorism Prevention Grant Program for Fiscal Year 2023 and administered by the DHS Center for Prevention Programs and Partnerships and the Federal Emergency Management Agency.  

In a Wednesday press release, the DHS said the funding aimed to help local communities “develop and strengthen their capabilities in combatting targeted violence and terrorism.”

The DHS reported that 41% of the $20 million would be awarded to “underserved populations,” a 16% increase from the previous year’s grant.

“Grant recipients include one Historically Black College and University (HBCU) among seven Minority Serving Institutions (MSI), one organization serving indigenous/Native American persons, one organization serving the LGBTQIA+, and five organizations serving rural communities,” the DHS stated. 

The funds will create 50 new violence and terrorism prevention jobs and dozens of other related positions. The program aims to allow organizations “to develop sustainable, multidisciplinary targeted violence and terrorism prevention capabilities in local communities, to pilot innovative prevention approaches, and to identify prevention best practices that can be replicated in communities across the country.“ 

Some of the grant program’s priorities include “advancing equity,” “addressing online aspects of targeted violence and terrorism,” and “preventing domestic violent extremism.”

“Both domestic violent extremists (DVEs) and those associated with foreign terrorist organizations continue to attempt to motivate supporters to conduct attacks, including through violent extremist messaging and online calls for violence,” the DHS said.

More about the awards

Boise State University will be awarded $265,000 to create a “suite of digital products” to be used as a classroom resource for grades eight through 12, aimed to “increas[e] individual resilience to recruitment narratives for hate- and violence-based ideologies, strengthening human rights educational outcomes, and improving individuals’ abilities to understand violent content.”

The Cherokee Nation will receive $290,000 to train educators, students, and the community on violence prevention and “raise awareness and develop skills to improve school climate and culture.”

The most significant sum, $1,185,153, will be provided to Washington-based Education Services District 123 to develop two learning projects focused on preventing escalation to violence among college students and 12- to 18-year-olds.

Hampton University, a historically black research college, will use $150,000 to raise community awareness of “racially motivated violent extremism, terrorism, and gun violence in digital and physical spaces.”

The Minneapolis Health Department will be awarded $287,147 to develop a campaign to decrease “risk factors for radicalization and violent extremism to keep communities safe.”

The second-highest award, $1,140,067, will go to One World Strong to “mitigate a rise in violent extremist challenges in school settings, particularly misogynistic, racially, and ethnically motivated violent extremism.”

Parents for Peace will receive $832,000 to “build awareness about violent extremism, behavioral signs of radicalization, and the P4P helpline.”

Sexual Minority Youth Assistance League will be granted $530,000 to “address the risk of violence and negative mental health outcomes faced by LGBTQ+ youth” by providing “in-school support” and training to school staff and students in Washington, D.C., and Montgomery County, Maryland.

The University of Illinois at Chicago’s School of Medicine will use $981,916 to “focus on training and capacity building around diversity, equity, and inclusion practices.”

“As the recent racially-motivated shooting in Jacksonville made painfully clear, targeted violence and terrorism can impact any community, anywhere,” said Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas, referring to the shooting at a Dollar General store in Jacksonville, Florida, in late August that resulted in the death of three black people.

“The Department of Homeland Security is committed to confronting this threat. Through the partnership and collaboration this grant program helps build, the Department will continue to work with communities to prevent such abhorrent targeted acts from occurring,” Mayorkas added.

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