From Arkansas to Boston: Learning Across the Conservative/Liberal Divide

Posted by Cherese Smith on July 9, 2018

Last summer, Catherine Epstein, a Facing History middle school teacher in Boston, Massachusetts, posted a request on Facebook. She was looking for teachers who might be interested in starting a pen pal project with her students. She wanted to give young people the chance to interact with other peers from an entirely different background, with the goal of building empathy. As a teacher in Ozark, Arkansas, a rural, conservative town, I thought my class would offer the right contrast to Catherine’s urban, liberal environment. It was a refreshing idea and the start of a wonderful friendship for the two of us—and our students.

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The Supreme Court Ruling on the Muslim Travel Ban Highlights a Complicated Past

Posted by Daniel Osborn on June 27, 2018

On Tuesday, June 26, the US Supreme Court announced its decision to uphold President Trump's travel ban. His 2017 executive order banned travel from eight countries, six with majority-Muslim populations and is often referred to as the “Muslim Travel Ban.” This contemporary moment illustrates the importance of court systems in fostering climates of inclusion or exclusion within a country.

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Topics: Democracy

STUDENT VOICES: "The Youth Movement Extends Beyond Gun violence"

Posted by Suraya Buffong on June 26, 2018

Students are the future. My generation has opinions, a voice and power at our fingertips.

We use social media, political protests and other methods to share our views with our peers and with anyone else who will listen.

We start movements and lead teach-ins. We use technology, our opportunities and our privileges to effect change in society.

The March for Our Lives protest against gun violence galvanized a population of young people to say #Enough and #NeverAgain to gun violence.

But the youth movement extends beyond gun violence.

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Topics: Student Voices

Dehumanization at the Border

Posted by Roger Brooks on June 22, 2018

At the end of a heart-wrenching week, I want to share my perspective on the ongoing humanitarian crisis unfolding on the southern border of the United States.

As you know, Facing History and Ourselves has devoted our attention and concern to similar debates over immigration, the border, and DACA over the last several years. Yet this latest news compels me to reaffirm one of the most profoundly held values of our organization:

We oppose the dehumanization of any group of people, in any form.

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Topics: Immigration

Addressing the Real Challenges Refugee Students Face in the Classroom

Posted by Leah Shafer on June 20, 2018

Today is World Refugee Day. Read this guest post from Leah Shafer to consider the unique challenges refugee students face everyday in the classroom.  

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Topics: Refugees

Uncovered: Denmark's New Burqa Ban

Posted by Daniel Osborn on June 18, 2018

On August 1, a Danish law will ban full-face veils such as niqabs and burqas worn by some Muslim women. This restriction raises questions about national identity and the tensions that arise as migration alters demographics and cultural expressions. At the center of this law are assumptions about what it means to be Danish, concerns raised by religious pluralism, and decisions regarding the treatment of minorities.

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Topics: current events

Engaging Reads For Those Long Summer Days

Posted by Tracy O'Brien on June 13, 2018

Often, summer is a time for relaxation. However, many of us also seek stories that will immerse us in the experiences of others or will help us stay engaged in making a better world. Here are a few picks that will teach, challenge, and inspire us this summer.

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10 Steps for Organizing a Whole-School Read In Your School Community

Posted by Molly Schen on June 11, 2018

The right book can bring a school community together. That's why we encourage whole-school reads. The book itself will offer a powerful theme, an inspiring character, or a memorable moment that can bring everyone together and help students and teachers strengthen their bond as a community. The process of reading and discussing the book as a school builds shared understanding, reference points, and memories. They even help open up difficult conversations. Even though this school year is winding down, consider how you can organize a whole-school read for next year by checking out these 10 easy steps!

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Topics: Reading

Taking a Knee and the Right To Protest in the NFL

Posted by Stacey Perlman on June 6, 2018

Last month, the NFL announced its plan to fine teams if their players kneel in protest during the National Anthem. Sparked by incidents of police violence and brutality towards people of color, mainly black men, this movement started in the fall of 2016 with then San Francisco 49-er Colin Kaepernick. As kneeling has gained momentum in the year and a half since, it has thrust sports and politics into the line of fire, distracting from the protest's original intent: to bring awareness to the everyday racial injustices people of color face in the United States—particularly police brutality.

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Topics: current events

Stonewall Was Important But Not Because it Was First

Posted by Mark Krone on June 4, 2018

In June 1969, when I was 12, I walked into my mother’s bedroom late one night when news broke on her radio that homosexuals were rioting in Greenwich Village. She was incredulous that people she viewed as physically reticent could be knocking over garbage cans and rocking police cars. “Now, they’re rioting? Even them?” My mother did not mention who “they” were and certainly did not know that her own son was one of “them.” And no one knew that night that a bunch of runaways and street kids who hung out at a gay dive bar called The Stonewall Inn, would inspire LGBTQ people and others to this day.

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Topics: LGBTQ

At Facing History and Ourselves, we value conversation—in classrooms, in our professional development for educators, and online. When you comment on Facing Today, you're engaging with our worldwide community of learners, so please take care that your contributions are constructive, civil, and advance the conversation.

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Welcome to Facing Today, a Facing History blog. Facing History and Ourselves combats racism and antisemitism by using history to teach tolerance in classrooms around the globe.

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