Hours Against Hate was started by the U.S. State Department to combat bigotry and promote pluralism across all sectors of society, through offline social activism and online awareness-raising. It was launched in 2011 by Farah Pandith, Special Representative to Muslim Communities and Head of Strategy at the Institute for Strategic Dialogue, and Hannah Rosenthal, Special Envoy to Monitor and Combat Anti-Semitism.
The original campaign targeted young people, urging them to get involved and volunteer their time by pledging one hour to do something for someone who is different from them. Participants made their pledge online, then posted an image on social media to help spread the message and encourage others to do the same. The campaign has since expanded and taken root in Milwaukee, run by the Milwaukee Jewish Federation. In addition to its original principal of promoting engagement and dialogue between different groups in society, the Hours Against Hate website now includes access to a variety of resources for the home, school and workplace, weekly questions to prompt critical thinking and engagement, as well as a monthly “Coffee Hours Against Hate” episode featuring Coordinator Andrea Bernstein.