Earlier this month, The New York Times reported that Holocaust education is lacking among younger generations. Some can't even identify what Auschwitz was. At Facing History, we've always known there is more to remembering the past than just reciting names and dates. There is an essential need to connect those details to the complex context in which they existed. The Holocaust did not just happen. Nor did other genocides before or after. Instead, they were built upon the steady unrest, hatred, and propaganda that culminated in the tragic loss of human lives. All were based on trivial characteristics deemed unworthy by a society.
Yesterday we watched as thousands of students across the nation banded together in solidarity one month after the Parkland, Florida school shooting that left 17 dead. As part of National Walkout Day, they flooded the streets with messages for elected officials: enough is enough. Something needs to change.
Topics: current events
"What does it mean to be American?" is a timely question amidst the immigration debate but it's also one the United States has been struggling with for years. In 2014, New York Times reporter Damien Cave traveled the length of highway I-35, which runs south to north through the middle of the United States, for his “The Way North” project. Along the way, he asked 35 people this question. In 1997, the PBS documentary, A More Perfect Union, addressed the same issue. The complexity of these answers over time still resonates today.
Sonari Glinton is a journalist who read Night as a young boy and went on to study with Elie Wiesel when he was a student at Boston University. In a 2016 essay written right after Wiesel's death, Glinton describes how he was first drawn to Night simply because it looked like a quick read for a book report he’d been assigned to write. He was surprised to discover that he identified with its protagonist, even though, as a black boy growing up in Chicago, he and Eliezer would seem to have little in common. Still, Glinton saw himself in Eliezer’s love of books and theology and his status as part of an out-group in his society. Eliezer’s sense of fragility and vulnerability felt familiar.
Topics: Race and Membership
It's the season for resolutions. The beginning of a new year makes us promise ourselves to be more healthy or to get more sleep or to spend more time with family. But what about practicing more empathy—that is, the ability to sincerely understand and share someone else’s feelings? Jane McGonigal, world-renowned game designer and Director of Game Research and Development for the Institute for the Future, says you can. And she can tell you how.
In response to the recent events in Charlottesville, Facing History and Ourselves, Teaching Tolerance, the Anti-Defamation League, the American Federation of Teachers, and EduColor teamed up to support educators as they return to the classroom.
Topics: current events
Topics: Professional Development
Can you practice being more empathetic—that is, the ability to sincerely understand and share someone else’s feelings? Jane McGonigal, world-renowned game designer and Director of Game Research and Development for the Institute for the Future, says you can. And she can tell you how.
November 9 marked the 78th anniversary of a series of violent attacks against Jews spread across Germany, Austria, and Czechoslovakia. Known as Kristallnacht, or “the night of broken glass,” it was the most open and violent attack on Jews by the Nazi regime up until that time. The aftermath was devastating: between 1,500 and 3,000 Jews were killed; 30,000 were sent to concentration camps; over 7,000 Jewish businesses were destroyed; and synagogues across Germany were burned down.
In this increasingly globalized world, we can learn a lot from each other. That's why in July, Facing History facilitated a weeklong Advanced International Seminar hosted by North Shore Country Day School. Teachers from Northern Ireland, South Africa, England, Mexico, France, and the United States gathered in Winnetka, Illinois to discuss the issues and challenges educators struggle with and to exchange best practices.
Karen Murphy, Facing History's international director, recently shared her experience on the Global Learning blog, hosted by Education Week and the Asia Society. Read about the eight lessons she learned from facilitating the Advanced International Seminar.