League of Women Voters

Hate crimes and hate on the internet are the subjects of two free public events in Yakima next week.

From 6 to 8 p.m. Tuesday, the Yakima Hate Crimes Forum will take place at the Henry Beauchamp Community Center, 1211 S. Seventh St. It will feature six panelists from the FBI, county and city law enforcement and the Yakama Nation along with information about hate crimes and time for informal discussion.

Organizers, which include the League of Women Voters of Yakima County, the Opportunities Industrialization Center of of Washington and the Yakima NAACP, hope to offer Spanish translation. Refreshments will be available.

They want the forum to show that hate is not welcome in Yakima County. Organizers plan to provide information about the legal definition of a hate crime is and what a hate incident is, and how to report and respond to them. Citizens and all residents should be aware of how to protect themselves from hate crime, organizers said.

According to the Southern Poverty Law Center, which tracks hate group activity nationwide, Washington is home to 26 hate groups, including white nationalist, anti-immigrant, anti-LGBT, black nationalist and anti-Muslim organizations, a news release said.

On Wednesday evening, Think & Drink: One Click Away — Hate and the Internet is set for 7 to 8:30 p.m. at Gilbert Cellars, 5 N. Front St. Registration is required. It’s open to all ages.

Presented by nonprofit Humanities Washington, Think & Drink events are hosted conversations at pubs and tasting rooms on provocative topics and new ideas. Wednesday’s event is being held in partnership with the Gonzaga Institute for Hate Studies, according to a news release, and will feature Gonzaga University professors Jim Mohr, Vik Gumbhir and Melissa A. Click.

Has the internet made hate more infectious? Personalized feeds and sophisticated algorithms can direct social media users to content and communities that reinforce their most radical ideas and worst impulses.

A rise in hate groups, along with multiple mass shootings, has raised urgent questions. How has the web affected how we treat one another? Despite the benefits of a connected world, is the internet built for hate?

Explore the mechanics of online hate, the responsibilities of tech companies and governments, and what people should and shouldn’t do to try to stem the tide.

Reach Tammy Ayer at tayer@yakimaherald.com or on Facebook.