After I read the news, I often feel powerless. What can any of us do to prevent genocide, to dismantle structural inequalities, or to stop the other horrors we hear about in the news? The massive scale of the problems in the world can feel overwhelming, but we shouldn’t let it be paralyzing. My own involvement in activism changed dramatically in high school, when a human rights activist inspired me to hope.
Today’s News, Tomorrow’s History is an ongoing series with Listenwise. This series connects Facing History’s themes with today’s current events using public radio to guide and facilitate discussions around the social issues of our time. We will take a look at the current responses to the Syrian refugee crisis.
Over the last few weeks, South Africa has been rocked by xenophobic violence.
According to The New York Times, approximately five million immigrants have settled in South Africa since the end of the apartheid in 1994. Many are refugees, or are pursuing economic opportunities in the country, which has become a relatively stable multiracial democracy. Many native South Africans are greeting these newcomers with prejudice, hatred, and violence—destroying local businesses and in some cases committing murder. Today, South Africa’s immigrant population lives in fear.
Unfortunately, the trend is not new. In 2007, a year before xenophobic attacks would break out nationwide, violence erupted in the small township of Zwelethemba, about two hours from Cape Town.
A Facing History teacher at the local high school recognized that his community was in crisis.
The news around the world has been grim recently. During times of conflict and difficulty, we look to history and remember the inspirational words from upstanders of the past—those who shared our goal of creating a better, more informed, and more thoughtful society.
As I prepared to write this post, I had to confront the most difficult, yet most important, person that I would be in conversation with: myself.
December 10 is International Human Rights Day. Below are five resources that help make connections between struggles for human rights from history and our own lives today.
To Kill a Mockingbird is set in a small town in Alabama in the 1930s, a town much like the one in which author Harper Lee came of age. Although I grew up a generation later, I see much of myself in Scout, the young white girl who narrates the book.
Seventy years ago this fall, the word "genocide" made its debut into the English language, on page 79 of the 674-page Axis Rule in Occupied Europe [which you can find here in Reading 3], in a chapter called "Genocide—A New Term and New Conception for Destruction of Nations."
Topics: Books, Choosing to Participate, Armenian Genocide, Human Rights, Facing History Resources, Teaching, Upstanders, Genocide/Collective Violence, Facing History and Ourselves, Teaching Resources, Video, History