Kaitlin Smith

Kaitlin Smith is a Marketing and Communications Writer for Facing History and Ourselves.

Recent Posts

On Living Deliberately

Posted by Kaitlin Smith on July 21, 2022

In the 200+ pieces I have written during my time at Facing History, I have written only one other essay in the first person. I am writing just one more to announce that I will be leaving my role at the organization at the end of July and that this will be my last essay as a primary author of content on this platform. As I have approached this transition, I have been sitting with the many lessons I have learned during my 3.5 years at the organization, both through my engagement with Facing History’s curricular offerings and with our global network of staff and collaborators. Chief among these lessons revolves around the perennial question of what it means to live deliberately. Prior to my arrival at Facing History, the organization highlighted the influence that one of my favorite historical figures—transcendentalist philosopher and naturalist Henry David Thoreau—had on the civil rights movement. His life and words have pervaded my thoughts recently as I’ve reflected upon the work of Facing History and my professional journey within and beyond the organization. 

Read More

Topics: American History

Common Ground Revisited

Posted by Kaitlin Smith on July 11, 2022

On Thursday, June 23rd, a number of Facing History staff based in New England had the rich opportunity to attend Melia Bensussen and Kirsten Greenidge’s riveting new play Common Ground Revisited at the Boston Center for the Arts. The play is a creative response to J. Anthony Lukas’ seminal book Common Ground: A Turbulent Decade in the Lives of Three American Families which delivers what is often regarded as the definitive account of the contentious period in the 1970s in which busing was used as a strategy to drive school desegregation in Boston. Bensussen and Greenidge’s play thickens the plot considerably, however, as they deconstruct the book’s contents in real time—playing, replaying, and remixing scenes from the book. 

Read More

Topics: Boston, American History, Desegregation

10 New YA Books on LGBTQIA+ Life

Posted by Kaitlin Smith on June 24, 2022

Here at Facing History, we see awareness months as opportunities to deepen our knowledge of and attention to the histories and contemporary experiences of historically marginalized communities. However, the focus on celebrating these communities over one particular month can further marginalize the very experiences we are hoping to elevate. With this in mind, what follows is an invitation to engage with important themes raised by Pride Month this June and throughout all of the months of the year.

This month, we are sharing ten young adult (YA) titles that have been released in the last year that bring important themes in LGBTQIA+ life and history to the fore for young readers. Below is promotional text excerpted from material offered by each book’s publisher along with the reading level of each text:

Read More

Topics: LGBTQ, Reading List

10 New Books on LGBTQIA+ History and Contemporary Life

Posted by Kaitlin Smith on June 7, 2022

Here at Facing History, we see awareness months as opportunities to deepen our knowledge of and attention to the histories and contemporary experiences of historically marginalized communities. However, the focus on celebrating these communities over one particular month can further marginalize the very experiences we are hoping to elevate. With this in mind, what follows is an invitation to engage with important themes raised by Pride Month this June and throughout all of the months of the year.

 

Read More

Topics: LGBTQ

10 Resources for Teaching LGBTQIA+ History

Posted by Kaitlin Smith on June 3, 2022

Pride Month each June offers educators a reminder to center the histories and experiences of LGBTQIA+ people throughout the year. But knowing which resources may offer compelling points of entry for students is a more challenging matter. Consider this rich array of online exhibitions and primary resources from archives and historical societies to open and/or revitalize reflection in your classroom about the experiences of LGBTQIA+ people across space and time.

Read More

Topics: LGBTQ

LGBTQIA+ Resources from Facing History

Posted by Kaitlin Smith on June 2, 2022

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.

Read More

Topics: LGBTQ

How AAPI Thinkers are Redefining Asianness

Posted by Kaitlin Smith on May 31, 2022

Culturally responsive teaching is a concept that is playing an increasingly important role in the training of K-12 educators and refers to an orientation that equips educators to work skillfully with students, parents, and colleagues from differing cultural backgrounds. Though culturally responsive teaching encompasses a host of components, one is the notion that it is critically important for educators to cultivate curious, expansive ways of thinking about others. It is also immensely important to invite others to define themselves for themselves. Doing this helps to curtail the ascendancy of harmful “single stories” that flatten complexity and render people’s true experiences invisible. Though the danger of a single story can be seen across American society, one community that has certainly been affected by this phenomenon is the Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) community. In two new works of media, AAPI thought leaders shed light on some of the “single stories” that have shaped their experiences and model what it can look like to push back against restrictive narratives.

Read More

Topics: Asian American and Pacific Islander History

Helen Zia on the Asian American Movement

Posted by Kaitlin Smith on May 20, 2022

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.

Read More

Topics: Asian American and Pacific Islander History

Remembering Grace Lee Boggs

Posted by Kaitlin Smith on May 16, 2022

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 over the last year 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.

Read More

Topics: Asian American and Pacific Islander History

11 Resources for Teaching About AAPI Experiences

Posted by Kaitlin Smith on May 12, 2022

Asian Pacific Islander Heritage Month each May is a great time to recommit to centering Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) experiences in the classroom. Check out the following resources from a host of cultural institutions including the Wing Luke Museum of the Asian American Experience, Japanese American National Museum, Smithsonian Institution, and California Museum to expand your pool of classroom offerings on the historical and contemporary experiences of AAPI peoples.   

Read More

Topics: Asian American and Pacific Islander History

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.
Content not found

WELCOME

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.

Subscribe to Email Updates

Recent Posts

Posts by Topic

see all