The Department of Homeland Security has awarded a $699,763 grant to terrorism and security researchers to study the cross section of extremism and gaming, Vice reported. That may sound strange, at first, but it is part of a program that The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has started.
The DHS Targeted Violence and Terrorism Prevention Grant Program (TVTP) provides funding for state, local, tribal, and territorial governments, nonprofits, and institutions of higher education with funds to establish or enhance capabilities to prevent targeted violence and terrorism. Developing local prevention capabilities is a key element of Goal 3 of the Strategic Framework to Counter Terrorism and Targeted Violence. The TVTP Grant Program provides assistance to implement that goal and develops innovative solutions to prevent terrorism and targeted violence.
You can find a list on the DHS website that shows which groups were given grants to fight extremism and terrorism. One of them is the United States Esports Association.
“The present project is an out-of-school (OST) program for college students that comprises leadership, activism, and development components in relation to competitive video gaming and esports. The leadership component focuses on character-building and development of grit and rigor in students’ academic, personal, and professional lives. The development component focuses on workforce development activities, including skills training and experiential learning with on-the-job and projects-based activities.
The present project achieves resilience to radicalization within local communities and online by leveraging young people’s participation in esports as well as their self-drive and aspirations for success as vehicles for developing, integrating, and delivering a TVTP framework particular to their unique risk profile. As esports grows in cultural impact, comorbid risk factors must be addressed early before bad form sets in. Esports’ immense sociocultural diversity opens the door for malign state and non state actors to radicalize our young people, especially through esports washing by authoritarian regimes. The present project, therefore, is a comprehensive hedge against the emergence of esports-based TVT throughout the United States by matching TVIP efforts to lifespan development and cultural interests”
There is also a grant for The Children’s Hospital Corporation. The goal here is to equip and empower four local school districts to be able to better identify and help youth at risk for radicalization to violence or targeted violence and terrorism. This will be done through the establishment of school-based threat assessment teams (TATs), increasing awareness of signs of violence risk, facilitating referral pathways to the school-based TATs, and supporting robust assessment, management and intervention of referred youth through coordination and connection with Massachusetts Area Prevention (MAP) Program at Boston Children’s Hospital.
A grant was given to onePULSE Foundation, which was created to memorialize the Pulse Nightclub shooting in 2016 to ensure Pulse’s legacy of love, acceptance and hope is never lost. Since this attack, onePULSE has been increasing societal awareness of the shooting, and stretching the boundaries on controversial topics and increasing dialogue around the LGBTQ+ community and resilience. onePULSE Academy is the education arm of onePULSE, whose purpose is to promote acceptance and inclusion through innovation, reflective, experiential learning methods. onePULSE aims to positively impact social change at the individual, group, and community levels.
Those are just a few of the groups who received grants from the DHS. You can read about more of them on the DHS website. Personally, I think that this is a really great way to prevent kids and young adults to become radicalized. Sometimes, all it takes to prevent a young person from going down that road is for good people to give them a more positive, healthy, way to live their lives.