A global virtual community for teenagers has teamed up with the Matthew Shepard Foundation to educate young online users about dignity and respect.
From next Monday foundation staff will lead discussions twice a week in Habbo.com’s InfoBus, which is a virtual room designed to look like the inside of a high-end bus.
Users gather in the InfoBus to discuss issues of concern among young people in a safe environment.
Topics will include how to deal with bullying, discrimination and hate experienced on and offline and how to encourage respect among peers.
There are currently Habbo communities in 32 countries on six continents. To date, more than 100 million Habbo characters have been created and 9.5 million unique users worldwide visit Habbo each month.
“It is a mission of the Foundation to support young people and provide them with the resources to lead healthy, productive, hate free lives,” said Judy Shepard, executive director of the Matthew Shepard Foundation.
“Our partnership with Habbo will allow us to have ongoing conversations with young people about what they can do in the fight to replace hate with understanding, compassion, and acceptance.”
Erasing hate from schools, workplaces, and communities is the goal of the campaign, launched in America in March by the Matthew Shepard Foundation.
It aims to equip individuals with the necessary tools to discuss and address hate in society.
The foundation was created by Dennis and Judy Shepard in memory of their 21-year old son Matthew, who was murdered in an gay hate crime in Wyoming in October 1998.
It is the voice for inclusive hate crimes legislation and works to empower and ensure the safety of gay, transgender and allied youth.
Matthew’s murder was a watershed moment in the perceptions of LGBT people in America.
Then-President Bill Clinton tried to extend federal hate crime legislation to include gay and lesbian people in the aftermath of his death, but ultimately was defeated by Congress.
For more information on the Campaign to Erase Hate click here.