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Lauren Krapf, 31
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SOCIAL JUSTICE36 Under 36 2020

Lauren Krapf, 31

Backspacing Online Hate

What you do:

As national policy counsel for the Anti-Defamation League, I work at the intersection of technology policy and civil rights. In this capacity, I engage with coalition partners (state and federal lawmakers, technology experts, nonprofit professionals and community members) to mitigate the real harms and abuses that take place online every day. My job is to consider the way technology impacts marginalized communities and fight to make the internet more hospitable, so individuals can safely and equitably work, communicate and connect online.

Unexpected fun fact:

I grew up doing performing arts like dance, choreography, music and theatre. I still love arts and entertainment, so I am constantly seeking out ways to engage the “right brain” and get my creative juices flowing.

Quote you live by:

“There is a crack in everything. That’s how the light gets in.” — Leonard Cohen

How you got here:

ADL’s Backspace Hate™ initiative, launched in 2019, was our response to seeing growing trends of online hate and harassment. After engaging in both quantitative and qualitative research about the American experience of online harassment, tracking the way that it disproportionately impacts marginalized communities and discovering gaps and loopholes in the laws on the books, ADL recognized the need for legislative and advocacy work on the ground.

How does your Jewish identity/Jewish values influence the work that you do?

Three Jewish values that influence my work are anavah (living with humility), elu v’elu (holding competing truths) and rachamim (compassion). To me, anavah confirms the one thing I know for sure: there is so much I don’t know. As an attorney, elu v’elu is an invitation to fact-find, remain curious and recognize that reasonable minds can differ. There are no simple answers to tough questions and elu v’elu is what motivates me to have ongoing and open dialogue with people I respect — especially when we disagree. Finally, I think that rachamim is the key ingredient to all human-centered work. Compassion and empathy are a priority.

What do you consider unique or innovative about what you do?:

I work at an organization that is over 105 years old. Our mission — to stop the defamation of the Jewish people and secure justice and fair treatment for all — has been the same since 1913. In spite of our historic work and mission, ADL is constantly exploring new ways to win the fight against hate, bigotry and bias. Working at the intersection of civil rights and technology compels me to consider centuries-old questions and issues in new ways.

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