Teaching the History of Human Rights

Posted by Kaitlin Smith on December 10, 2020

"Where, after all, do human rights begin? In small places close to home-so close and
so small that they cannot be seen on any map of the world." Eleanor Roosevelt

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Topics: Human Rights, Universe of Obligation

5 New Books on Human Rights

Posted by Kaitlin Smith on December 8, 2020

Each December, we observe Universal Human Rights Month—an opportunity to reflect upon historical and ongoing struggles for human rights around the globe. Yet understandings of human rights are constantly evolving, raising new questions, and calling into question aspects of social life that some of us take for granted. In the following five books published within the last year, scholars, a biographer, and a memoirist reflect upon different dimensions of human rights, offering educators a number of areas for further exploration of this important subject. Below, the publisher of each title outlines what is to be found within each book:

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Topics: Human Rights, Reading List

8 Teaching Ideas on Human Rights

Posted by Kaitlin Smith on December 4, 2020

During Universal Human Rights Month this December, educators have an opportunity to engage their students in focused exploration of the assaults on human dignity that abound in our own national contexts and around the globe. Yet educators also have an opportunity to highlight some of the parallel efforts to protect human lives and dignity that arise in the face of violence and injustice.

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Topics: Human Rights

Halting Human Trafficking from Schoolhouse to State House: An Interview with Danny Papa

Posted by Kaitlin Smith on January 10, 2020

Since 2010, January 11th has marked National Human Trafficking Awareness Day—and is part of National Slavery and Human Trafficking Awareness Month which runs throughout January in the United States. In a recent interview, I spoke with Danny Papa—a New Jersey-based educator who inspired his middle school students to take leading roles in the movement to end human trafficking from the schoolhouse to the state house. In addition to serving as a K-12 Supervisor for Jefferson Township Public Schools, Papa serves as President of the Board of Trustees and Education Committee Chair for the NJ Coalition Against Human Trafficking.

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Topics: Choosing to Participate, Human Rights, Upstanders, Teachers

How the Global Movement to End Genocide Redefined My Local Activism

Posted by Julie Halterman on April 26, 2019

After I read the news, I often feel powerless. What can any of us do to prevent genocide, to dismantle structural inequalities, or to stop the other horrors we hear about in the news? The massive scale of the problems in the world can feel overwhelming, but we shouldn’t let it be paralyzing. My own involvement in activism changed dramatically in high school, when a human rights activist inspired me to hope.

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Topics: Human Rights, genocide, student activism

Today’s News, Tomorrow’s History: Refugees Paying to Stay

Posted by Monica Brady-Myerov on March 21, 2016

Today’s News, Tomorrow’s History is an ongoing series with Listenwise. This series connects Facing History’s themes with today’s current events using public radio to guide and facilitate discussions around the social issues of our time. We will take a look at the current responses to the Syrian refugee crisis.  

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Topics: International, Human Rights, Immigration, Refugees, Refugee Crisis, Today's News Tomorrow's History, Listenwise

Responding to a Community in Crisis

Posted by Karen Murphy on May 6, 2015

Over the last few weeks, South Africa has been rocked by xenophobic violence.

According to The New York Times, approximately five million immigrants have settled in South Africa since the end of the apartheid in 1994. Many are refugees, or are pursuing economic opportunities in the country, which has become a relatively stable multiracial democracy. Many native South Africans are greeting these newcomers with prejudice, hatred, and violence—destroying local businesses and in some cases committing murder. Today, South Africa’s immigrant population lives in fear.

Unfortunately, the trend is not new. In 2007, a year before xenophobic attacks would break out nationwide, violence erupted in the small township of Zwelethemba, about two hours from Cape Town.


A Facing History teacher at the local high school recognized that his community was in crisis. 

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Topics: Choosing to Participate, Human Rights, Immigration, Safe Schools, Teaching, Schools, Video, South Africa, Margot Stern Strom Innovation Grants

Talking About Paris: Citizenship in the Face of Division, Fear, and Hatred

Posted by Karen Murphy on January 12, 2015

Teaching after mass violence, including acts of terrorism, is incredibly challenging.

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Topics: Antisemitism, Democracy, Choosing to Participate, Human Rights, Immigration, Religious Tolerance, Teaching, Schools, News, Identity, Genocide/Collective Violence

10 Quotes from History to Inspire Empathy

Posted by Julia Rappaport on December 30, 2014

The news around the world has been grim recently. During times of conflict and difficulty, we look to history and remember the inspirational words from upstanders of the past—those who shared our goal of creating a better, more informed, and more thoughtful society.

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Topics: Democracy, Choosing to Participate, Students, Human Rights, Facing History Resources, Schools, Teachers, Civil Rights, History

After Eric Garner: One School’s Courageous Conversation

Posted by Steven Becton on December 10, 2014

As I prepared to write this post, I had to confront the most difficult, yet most important, person that I would be in conversation with: myself.

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Topics: Classrooms, Teaching Strategies, Democracy, Students, Human Rights, Safe Schools, Teaching, Schools, News, Identity, Teaching Resources, Teachers

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.

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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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