What I've Learned Along the Way

Posted by Karen Murphy on January 28, 2022

After 25 years of distinguished service to our organization, Dr. Karen Murphy, Facing History’s Director of International Strategy, will join our partner organization High Resolves as CEO of an initiative called The Human Responsibility Accelerator. Stay tuned for news of our deepening partnership with High Resolves. Today we invited Karen to share a bit of what she has learned in more than two decades at Facing History.

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Topics: International

Holocaust Denial: How Teachers Can Turn the Tide

Posted by Kaitlin Smith on January 26, 2022

Tomorrow, Thursday, January 27th is International Holocaust Remembrance Day—a time to remember the 6 million Jews whose lives were stolen from this world, the impact on the global Jewish community forever transformed by these events, and also on all who witnessed or study it. On the 77th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz, the continuing urgency of genocide prevention around the world is clear. Despite the incontrovertibility of this historical record, Holocaust denial and the antisemitism that helps to drive it remain pervasive. Research released by the Claims Conference found that 49% of U.S. millennials and generation Z have seen Holocaust denial or distortion content online—and that one in five U.S. millennials and generation Z surveyed in New York believe that Jews caused the Holocaust. This toxic combination of ignorance allied with antisemitic hatred continue to permeate global consciousness, and teachers have an important part to play in turning the tide. As the group of remaining Holocaust survivors dwindles and their voices become less immediately accessible, innovative classroom strategies like using primary sources can help to bring their stories to life in ways that foster critical thinking, drive ethical reflection, and prepare the young person to navigate an increasingly fraught information landscape.

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Topics: Holocaust and Human Behaviour

7 Classroom Resources on the Holocaust

Posted by Kaitlin Smith on January 25, 2022

International Holocaust Remembrance Day is Thursday, January 27th. This is a day when we remember the 6 million Jews murdered in the Holocaust, their loved ones, and the ways in which this incalculable tragedy has transformed our world. It is also a time for educators to ensure their readiness to integrate instruction on the Holocaust into their annual teaching plans. Research released by the Claims Conference reveals alarming levels of ignorance amongst millennials and generation Z regarding the Holocaust, as well as profoundly harmful notions of Jewish culpability fueled by antisemitic hatred. Teachers have an essential role to play in disrupting these twin evils of ignorance and hatred, and Facing History materials are here to help educators invite students into this learning in middle and high school classrooms.

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Topics: Holocaust and Human Behaviour, international holocaust remembrance day

Contracting and Re-Contracting in the New Year

Posted by Facing History and Ourselves on January 20, 2022

Contracting is an essential teaching strategy for aligning a group of students around shared values and practices. Elizabeth Carroll, New England Program Director at Facing History, recently wrote a piece on this crucial topic for the Massachusetts Civic Learning Coalitiona non-partisan coalition of nonprofits, educators, think tanks, universities, and other partners committed to preparing all students to become more civically aware and involved. Below is an excerpt from her piece on the value of contractingas well as re-contractingin January each year:

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Topics: Teaching Strategy, Brave Space

Facing History on Martin Luther King Day: A message to our educators

Posted by Roger Brooks on January 17, 2022

Today, Americans across the country are observing Martin Luther King Day. It’s a moment for reflection and service; for considering the life and legacy of an extraordinary individual; and for recommitting ourselves to the unfinished work he championed. At a time of extraordinary bigotry and violence, Dr. King challenged all Americans to confront our history of racial discrimination, to open our eyes to injustice, and to be intentional about building a better future. His message – of clear-eyed understanding and unlimited possibility – is as resonant today as it was when he lived more than half a century ago.

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Topics: American History, Black History

9 Resources for Teaching about MLK's Legacy

Posted by Julie Halterman on January 13, 2022

This Monday, we will celebrate Martin Luther King, Jr.’s transformative life and legacy. The day provides an important opportunity for students to study the Civil Rights Movement in the United States, as well as our country’s continuing struggle to create a more just society and representative democracy. Here are 9 Facing History resources that can help you reflect on your own teaching practices, teach the history of the Civil Rights Movement, and explore contemporary issues around racial justice and democracy in the United States.

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Topics: American History, Black History

bell hooks Taught Us to Transgress

Posted by Kaitlin Smith on January 12, 2022

Like many people of my generation who cut their teeth on the critical insights of bell hooks, news of her passing in December unleashed a wave of reflection for me about the ways she’s impacted me as a person and public scholar. Beyond the many moments of resonance I experienced while reading her writings over the years, her impact on me is most powerfully encapsulated in an experience I had in 2008 when I met her.

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Topics: Social Justice, Black History, Equity in Education

January 6th

Posted by Kaitlin Smith on January 6, 2022

As we mark the anniversary of the January 6th insurrection at the U.S. Capitol, revelations from the ongoing congressional investigations are beginning to mount, raising fundamental questions about forces that may imperil U.S. democracy. This investigation has deepened widespread concerns about rising threats of fascism, racism, white nationalism, and other phenomena that undermine justice for all. But in analyses that focus primarily on the role of white nationalism fomented within media echo chambers, for example, commentators have overlooked what may be a more pervasive parallel phenomenon: the widespread crisis of faith in U.S. media and institutions at large. Though these dynamics were on display during the insurrection and in the coverage that followed, January 6th offers a rich case study for interrogating the complex role of media in shaping public opinion and how those opinions have become so wildly divergent. For educators tasked with the vital work of helping young people sift fact from fiction in the present information landscape, this anniversary also raises an important challenge to expand the scope of instruction on media literacy for young people.

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Topics: American History, media literacy, civic education

COP26, Environmental Justice, and Human Rights

Posted by Kaitlin Smith on December 19, 2021

The 26th U.N. Climate Change Conference of the Parties (COP26) that took place in Glasgow, Scotland from October to November 2021 was, in many ways, a historic event. It was the first COP convening to formally acknowledge the role of fossil fuels in climate change—a significant step in a global climate discourse filled with conflicting narratives and agendas surrounding fossil fuel use. In addition, 200 countries adopted an unprecedented agreement to “phase down” their use of coal as an energy source. Despite the historic nature of these developments, these outcomes have faced strong criticism from a wide array of stakeholder groups, and one area of dissension centers around the issue of environmental justice. While situations such as the Flint water crisis and Standing Rock have raised concern about environmental justice within the U.S., conversations emerging from COP26 pose questions of environmental justice at an international scale. While COP remains a crucial space for international cooperation in the fight against climate disaster, there is notable consternation over the unique burdens that various policies may place on poorer nations and those most vulnerable to adverse climate events. The nature of the debate that has unfolded brings the complicated relationship between human rights, environmental justice, and environmental stewardship into focus, and reveals that the path forward is riddled with complexity. 

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Topics: Human Rights, environmental justice, climate change

Teaching about the January 6 Insurrection and its Impact on U.S. Democracy

Posted by Julie Halterman on December 17, 2021

On January 6, 2021, an estimated 2,000 people stormed the U.S. Capitol in an attempt to disrupt the peaceful transfer of power. As we mark the 1-year anniversary of the insurrection, we continue to learn more about what happened that day through the congressional investigation and ongoing trials of insurrectionists. The January 6 insurrection remains important to understand and discuss, as well as the larger questions it raises about the state of U.S. democracy. A recent poll found that 52% of young people between 18 and 29 believe that either U.S. democracy is “in trouble” or “failed,” while only 7% agree that it is “healthy,” further highlighting the need to teach students about democratic institutions.

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Topics: Democracy

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.


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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