Young Aussies, digital industry and Australian Government partner to counter hate, racism and isolation

Thursday June 25, 2020: A partnership between the Australian Government and the digital industry will see 80 young changemakers connect for an immersive virtual youth summit to counter hate and extremism at DIGI Engage: Bridging divides in isolation and beyond, over two half-days today and tomorrow.

Participants from all over Australia, who applied to take part, will learn from each other and a line-up of international and local speakers about the root causes of societal polarisation, hate speech and extremism. They will also workshop strategies to effectively build bridges offline and online in the face of social division, such as empathy and effective counterspeech.

DIGI Engage 2020 takes place with the backdrop of an important international and national conversation about racism and also at a time when people are at risk of retreating away from community because of the global pandemic.

This year’s keynote address will be a joint presentation broadcast from the US called “A Bridge Between Black Commonalities and White Supremacy”, featuring Daryl Davis, the renowned black author and race reconciliator who came to fame by interviewing KKK leaders and members and has successfully persuaded 200 clan members them to renounce their racist ideology.

Davis’ presentation will be in collaboration with TM Garrett, a former white supremacist leader turned human rights activist, where they will together empower participants with the skills to bridge divides and engage in difficult conversations with friends, co-workers and family members.

“When two enemies are talking, they’re not fighting. It’s when the conversation ceases that the ground becomes fertile for violence. So, we need to keep the conversation going. At DIGI Engage, I hope to help empower young people to have those conversations, because conversation is one of the most powerful tools we have in the fight against the ignorance that breeds fear and hatred” Daryl Davis said.

DIGI Engage is hosted by The Digital Industry Group Inc. (DIGI), and is supported by the Department of Home Affairs as part of a digital industry and Australian Government partnership that is now in its fourth year.

“We’re in a time where there is an incredibly important conversation happening about racism, which also happens to be taking place when COVID-19 has the potential to exacerbate risk factors for extremism because of isolation and an anti-globalist sentiment,” DIGI Managing Director Sunita Bose said.

“Bringing people together to find ways of overcoming divisions has always been the purpose of DIGI’s flagship youth conference DIGI Engage.

“Hate speech and extremism are highly complex issues both offline and online, and governments, industry and the community all have crucial roles to play in addressing them. We’ll be working together at DIGI Engage to deepen our understanding of the problems and workshopping solutions, including exploring how the online world can increase a sense of community as it has done through the pandemic.”

This year’s DIGI Engage has an incredible line up of skills-building workshops, including presentations from founder of Indigenous female empowerment movement ‘Tiddas 4 Tiddas’ Marlee Silva, CEO & Founder of IndigenousX Luke Pearson, creator of the award-winning podcast Conversations with people who hate me Dylan Morran and leading US campaign strategist Sara El-Amine on the art of persuasion.

About DIGI: DIGI is a non-profit industry association that advocates for the interests of the digital industry in Australia, with founding members including Google, Facebook, Twitter and Verizon Media. DIGI’s vision is a thriving Australian digitally-enabled economy that fosters innovation, a growing selection of digital products and services, and where online safety and privacy are protected. DIGI’s mission is to advocate for policies that enable a growing Australian technology sector that supports businesses and Internet users, in partnership with industry, governments and the community.

CONTACT: Ranya Alkadamani | +61 434 664 589 | ranya@impactgroupinternational.com