Community of strangers — Lady Khadija Trust
Ciara Arnot Senior Community Advisor •
Lady Khadija Charitable Trust was among those who received an on-demand grant last year. This funding aimed to support communities affected by online harm.
The Trust was established in 2016 with the charitable objective of "Empowering communities through compassion." They often act as a bridge, working collaboratively with organisations supporting individuals and communities in Aotearoa.
At the outset of this initiative, Lady Khadija Trust hoped to move beyond hate and bias to a place of trust and compassion. Throughout the initiative, protecting contributors was crucial. It meant they made a decision early on to start by showcasing experts rather than people with lived experiences of this kind of abuse and those people directly impacted by online hate. Therefore, this first phase of the project explores why online hate has increased, its impacts and examines the debate around the hate speech law reform.
The Trust interviewed five individuals to delve deeper into this topic and has created five 10-minute video interviews. Offering a range of perspectives and expertise, these people provide insight into why online hate gets amplified online, defining hate and harm and looking to understand the legislations around it. Only a tiny proportion of New Zealand internet users are classified as online extremists. Yet the harm caused by hate speech and disinformation is now so widespread it’s a clear and present danger to anyone online. Social media and its use dominate our lives as we use these platforms to construct our virtual identities, develop friendships and spread hate. Cyberhate is real and increasing, and it is now easier than ever to espouse a hateful message and reach audiences worldwide in seconds.
With this first phase complete, Lady Khadija Trust is moving into the next stage, which will focus on hope.
They plan to delve deeper into shared foundations, humanity, and search for belonging as well as the precursors to prejudice. They will seek to understand the causes of isolation, exclusion, rejection, and illegitimacy. They will explore the contrast between indifference and discrimination versus acceptance and belonging to look at the primary drivers that pull us together and push us apart. The Trust hopes to reveal a common struggle at the heart of what it means to be human, to move towards possible solutions that might help mitigate the causes of radicalisation and hate.
Check out the videos at https://communityofstrangers.org.nz/