This week, we are faced with the tragic news of two mass shootings involving perpetrators who targeted innocent people going about their daily lives, for no other reason than their identities or group membership. On Sunday, May 15, after we sent our response to the horrific attack in Buffalo, New York, a gunman in Laguna Woods, California, opened fire on a group of parishioners attending a luncheon after a service held by the Irvine Taiwanese Presbyterian Church. Most of the members of the congregation are retired and originally from Taiwan. Officials are now investigating the shooting as a hate crime.
It’s Teacher Appreciation Week—a time for our communities to celebrate the vital roles that teachers play in the lives of people young and old. Though First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt insisted that Congress establish an annual day dedicated to teacher recognition in 1953, it was not until 1980 that the first Teacher Appreciation Day was held and 1984 when it was expanded into the Teacher Appreciation Week we have come to know.
This week, people around the world are observing Yom HaShoah or Holocaust Remembrance Day. At Facing History, we take this occasion each spring to remember the six million Jews murdered in the Holocaust, and the Jewish resistance that accompanied and followed these events. Today, we remember the pain, suffering, and loss sustained by the victims, their families, and the generations that have followed them.
On February 20th, Russia launched a military invasion of the neighboring nation of Ukraine, prompting 1.5 million Ukrainians to flee the country in the immediate aftermath. As Ukrainian men are forced to stay behind and defend the country as part of their nation’s military, an unprecedented number of women and children have fled Ukraine, prompting what is projected to become the greatest European refugee crisis in a century. The reasons for the present invasion of Ukraine are highly complex and therefore difficult to teach in American classrooms. In our new Teaching Idea, we share some recommendations designed to help educators teach about the unfolding refugee crisis in Ukraine, but we also have resources designed to help you teach your students about the broader global refugee crisis of which this is a part. Below, we offer some complementary teaching tools that can help educators situate the Ukrainian refugee crisis in broader global histories of displacement and highlight its connections to other refugee crises.
Now during the Olympics, and throughout each academic year, we have the opportunity to explore a number of themes that connect the lives and contributions of Black athletes past and present. Beyond the 1988 Jamaican Bobsled Team immortalized in the film Cool Runnings, Black athletes have played more central roles at the Winter Olympics than many people might realize. As we cheer on the 2022 Black Olympians, Black History Month is a great time to look back on the impact that Black Olympians and other Black athletes have beyond the world of sports.
2022 is an election year in the U.S. and a period in which teachers can help students understand the political process and significance of voting. One way to deepen our understanding of voting rights is to consider the experiences of people who have been disenfranchised over the course of our nation’s history and into the present. The Black community is one that has faced immense barriers to voting, both in the distant past and even into the present. But Black people also continue to be pioneers in the movement to ensure that all Americans are able to exercise their right to vote.
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 Coalition—a 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 contracting—as well as re-contracting—in January each year:
Every October is National Bullying Prevention Month--an important time to call attention to the fact that bullying affects 20% of young people ages 12 to 18 across social groups. Research also reveals that most of this bullying takes place in school environments. Due to the pervasiveness of bullying and its lasting negative impacts on victims throughout their lifespans, preventing and disrupting bullying behavior ought to remain important areas of priority within middle and high schools.
Pamela E. Donaldson, Facing History's Associate Program Director for Equity and Inclusion, and Laura Tavares, Program Director for Organizational Learning and Thought Leadership, recently published an article on the School Library Journal website. There, they offer educators an invitation into equity work within their own school communities centered around personal introspection and self-education, as well as collaborative learning and reflection with fellow teacher colleagues. Below is an excerpt from the piece:
Topics: Equity in Education
In late July, Facing History was proud to present Identity, Membership, and Belonging: A Summit on Teaching Immigration. The three-day virtual summit welcomed hundreds of educators from around the United States and featured presentations from historian and #ImmigrationSyllabus creator Dr. Erika Lee as well as Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Jose Antonio Vargas.