The stories are heartbreaking and chilling. In the first few weeks of 2017, identity-based hatred appears to be pervasive and on the rise. Two immigrants from India were shot in Kansas allegedly by a man who confronted them about their visa status; historical Jewish cemeteries were vandalized in St. Louis and Philadelphia; and, in Rockville, Maryland, a Jewish couple, who put up a Black Lives Matter banner outside their home, received a threatening note with the word “Jew” written in German and the ominous promise of “mayhem.” On January 29th, six people were killed and 19 were injured in a mass-shooting at a mosque in Quebec City. The victims included fathers, an academic, and local businessmen. They were in the midst of evening prayers.
Sadly, the Brussels bombings show us that humanity is deeply fractured. Although many of us want to join together and bind wounds, we must also acknowledge that something is very wrong.
Today - International Holocaust Remembrance Day - marks the 71st anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz-Birkenau, the concentration camp that became the unofficial symbol of World War II. Yet, beyond the sobering images that typically come to mind, there is a complexity to understanding the choices people made that led to such death and destruction.
This winter has been full of stark contrasts around the world. Frightening hate and violence dominated the news, yet, even in the face of the brutality, we have seen people from different walks of life bridge differences and come together to speak up against intolerance. As an educator and parent, I am always thinking about why some people learn to come together during difficult times, to be kind in the face of unkindness, and to stand up for what is right.
Issues of civil rights and religious tolerance are as relevant today as they were during the American civil rights movement in the 1960s and ’70s, and in the years before, during, and after the Holocaust. How do we make these issues relevant to young people?
Just because an episode in history took place long ago does not mean that we stop asking questions about it, about whose stories are told as we remember, and about what our assumptions about history mean for our lives today.
National Anti-Bullying Week takes place in the United Kingdom 17th to 21st of November. This year's theme is "let's stop bullying for all."
Topics: Classrooms, United Kingdom, Webinar, Online Tools, Professional Development, Film, Teaching Strategies, Bullying and Ostracism, Choosing to Participate, Human Behavior, Human Rights, Facing History Resources, Safe Schools, Teaching, Schools, Identity, Facing History and Ourselves, Teaching Resources
The recent row over Bill Maher and Ben Affleck's heated discussion of Islam on HBO's Real Time with Bill Maher strikes me as an opportunity for a civic lesson–one rooted not in debating who is right or wrong, or who is bigoted or not, but one, that, in true Facing History and Ourselves fashion, is rooted in history. At Facing History, we have learned that history often provides a needed distance from which we can illuminate the present and inform more productive civic dialogue.
Topics: Antisemitism, Choosing to Participate, Human Behavior, Human Rights, Facing History Resources, Religious Tolerance, News, Readings, Identity, Facing History and Ourselves, Teaching Resources, History