Reads for Juneteenth

Posted by Kaitlin Smith on June 17, 2021

Described as a second independence day, June 19th or Juneteenth marks the day that emancipation reached enslaved people in the furthest reaches of the American South. Though the Emancipation Proclamation established that all enslaved people held within the rebellious states were freed, plantation life continued as though no change had occurred in many parts of the slaveholding South until this day. And just yesterday, the U.S. Senate unanimously approved a bill to make Juneteenth a legal public holiday. Juneteenth is a time to reflect upon this history, as well as the steps toward freedom that have been achieved and the forces that continue to undermine the freedom of African Americans.

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Topics: Reading List, black history

LGBTQIA+ Resources from Facing History

Posted by Kaitlin Smith on June 16, 2021

It is Pride Month again this June and a great time for educators to ensure that LGBTQIA+ histories and experiences are centered throughout the year. Below are a number of Facing History resources that can help educators explore these themes with confidence and curiosity. These resources include on-demand webinars, exclusive expert interviews, classroom lessons, and reading lists for both adults and young people.

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Topics: LGBTQ

5 New YA Books with LGBTQIA+ Narrators

Posted by Kaitlin Smith on June 9, 2021

Pride Month has arrived and as schools wind down for the summer, it is a great opportunity for young people to dive into some new books that speak to the experiences of LGBTQIA+ people. Check out the following five new YA titles which address themes spanning activism, young love, school bullying, immigration, and navigating family relationships from the perspectives of a diverse array of LGBTQIA+ narrators.

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Topics: LGBTQ

Responding to Contemporary Antisemitism in the Classroom

Posted by Facing History and Ourselves on June 8, 2021

As the nation reacts to the wave of antisemitic attacks that have been occurring in cities across the country in recent weeks, educators have an opportunity to help students gain a deeper understanding of contemporary antisemitism. In these times, teachers can play a vital role in helping students and communities respond to acts of hate. 

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Topics: Antisemitism, New York, Chicago, Los Angeles

Teaching About Anti-Asian Violence: Start with Yourself and Your Community

Posted by Julie Halterman on June 4, 2021

This is the first in a series of blog posts based on interviews with nine educators and their suggestions for how you can address anti-Asian violence with your students and incorporate API histories and identities into your teaching.

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Topics: Asian American and Pacific Islander History

5 New Books on LGBTQIA+ Histories and Life

Posted by Kaitlin Smith on June 3, 2021

Pride Month each June is a fantastic time for educators to recommit to engaging with the histories and life experiences of LGBTQIA+ people all year. In addition to accessing rich curricular resources for the classroom, educators can also benefit from embracing their own arc of learning around these themes. Below are five new books that explore histories and experiences of LGBTQIA+ people, offering rich fodder for learning, reflection, and even teaching. These books address a host of themes including the unique life journeys of queer individuals with intersectional identities; the campaign to establish same-sex marriage and some of its broader consequences; and how schools can be reshaped as transformative spaces that support LGBTQIA+ youth.

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Topics: LGBTQ

Complicating "Asian Americans"

Posted by Jared Kushida and Kaitlin Smith on May 31, 2021

As violence targeting Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) peoples has grown more visible over the last year, there has been an uptick in awareness and discussion beyond AAPI communities about AAPI history and the many manifestations of racism in the lives of AAPI people. But as these conversations proliferate, reductive conceptions of who “Asian Americans” are and what the community’s history encompasses have become even more prominent. Conversations often fail to address the complicated nature of “Asian Americans” as a concept, how it emerged, and what the “American” part of the phrase may obscure. In this term, we find traces of deep, and often hidden, colonial violence as well as the coordinated resistance, ingenuity, and hope of AAPI people themselves. The complex story surrounding this term provides fertile ground for educators interested in broadening their understanding of and ability to teach about AAPI and API histories and contemporary life.

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Topics: Asian American and Pacific Islander History

Remembering Grace Lee Boggs

Posted by Kaitlin Smith on May 24, 2021

Grace Lee Boggs was a Chinese American activist and philosopher whose cross-racial organizing work called for racial justice and the radical transformation of American society. Though the only documentary on her life was released in 2013 and generated wide interest in her life story, Boggs’ legacy has been in the news of late as the nation reckons with racist violence against Asian Americans and Black Americans. Alongside the emergence of Black-Asian solidarity marches, there has been increased exploration of histories of collaboration between these communities, the various barriers that have undermined solidarity, and what future collaboration might look like. Described by Angela Davis as someone who “made more contributions to the Black struggle than most Black people have,” Boggs’ life story may provide fertile ground for reflection in these times. Though there are many stories to tell and questions to raise in this ongoing discussion, the story of Grace Lee Boggs is one inspiring example of what it can look like to discover shared stakes, commit to collective action, and leave a legacy that nurtures ongoing resistance.

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Topics: Asian American and Pacific Islander History

5 YA Books on AAPI Life

Posted by Kaitlin Smith on May 19, 2021

Asian Pacific Islander Heritage Month each May offers a valuable opportunity to evaluate the kinds of reading materials we are sharing with students throughout the year, and to consider whether Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) experiences need to have a greater presence. Particularly this year, as racism and violence targeting AAPI people becomes more visible, it can be challenging to sift through the growing body of reading material and pinpoint the texts that are presented at an appropriate reading level, and in ways that are relatable to adolescent readers.

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Topics: Reading List, Asian American and Pacific Islander History

Helen Zia on the Asian American Movement

Posted by Kaitlin Smith on May 14, 2021

Violence against Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) peoples has persisted for centuries in the United States, but it was not until a constellation of events in the 1980s that the Asian American movement as we now know it emerged onto the public stage. A leading voice in this movement for many decades has been Helen Zia—a Chinese American author and activist working at the intersections of struggles for racial and LGBTQ justice, among other issues. Zia is the author of many works including Asian American Dreams: The Emergence of an American People (2001) and Last Boat Out of Shanghai: The Epic Story of the Chinese Who Fled Mao's Revolution (2020). Zia initially came to prominence in 1982 when she became the public spokesperson and a primary organizer of the campaign that sought justice for Vincent Chin—a Chinese American man who was brutally murdered in a hate crime in Detroit, Michigan. These events and others that followed would galvanize a pan-cultural Asian American movement, providing an essential foundation for AAPI-led resistance to the racism and violence that continues to besiege the community into the present.

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Topics: Asian American and Pacific Islander History

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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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