Call to Action #StopRepeatingHistory

More than 70 years ago, three cases were heard before the Supreme Court of the United States, challenging the forced removal and incarceration of Japanese Americans.  The Supreme Court majority ruled against the three plaintiffs, Gordon Hirabayashi, Minoru Yasui, and Fred Korematsu,  essentially “rubber-stamping” the military’s bald assertion that the mass round-up was reasonable and necessary. In doing so, the Court abdicated its critical role in safeguarding fundamental freedoms guaranteed by our Constitution.

The children of Gordon Hirabayashi, Minoru Yasui, and Fred Korematsu filed an amicus brief on September 18th in the U.S. Supreme Court opposing Executive Order No. 13780, the Trump administration’s travel ban on nationals from six Muslim-majority nations, pointing to the unjust incarceration of Japanese Americans during WWII as an urgent warning against presidential powers run amok.

Human Rights Educators USA is joining the nationwide campaign to #StopRepeatingHistory. We encourage you to add your name to this call to action.

>> Learn more and join the campaign

Teaching Immigration with Immigrant Stories

The Advocates for Human Rights and the Immigration History Research Center (IHRC) are pleased to announce the release of Teaching Immigration with the Immigrant Stories Project. This free, three-unit curriculum for grades 8 to adults helps students learn about U.S. immigration, past and present, through immigrants’ personal stories.

Each unit features several digital stories from the IHRC’s Immigrant Stories project. The project helps people create 3-5 minute original videos about a personal or family immigration experience. Students study these stories within the broader contexts of the U.S. immigration system, U.S. immigration history, and global migration conditions.

Teaching Immigration includes lesson plans, classroom activities, worksheets, background summaries, and up-to-date fact sheets. Teachers may also download PowerPoints explaining complex aspects of the U.S. immigration system.

>> Download Curriculum and PowerPoints

International Day of Peace


When: Thursday, September 20th
Where: Earth

Each year the International Day of Peace is observed around the world on 21 September. The General Assembly declared this as a day devoted to strengthening the ideals of peace, both within and among all nations and peoples.

The theme for 2017 is “Together for Peace: Respect, Safety and Dignity for All.” This focus is drawn from TOGETHER, a global initiative that promotes respect, safety and dignity for refugees and migrants. TOGETHER unites the members of the United Nations, their citizens and their public and private institutions in a global partnership in support of diversity, non-discrimination and acceptance of refugees and migrants.

“In times of insecurity, communities that look different become convenient scapegoats,” said United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres. “We must resist cynical efforts to divide communities and portray neighbors as ‘the other’. Discrimination diminishes us all. It prevents people — and societies — from achieving their full potential.” He added, “Together, let us build bridges;  let us stand up against bigotry and for human rights.”

Please take some time in your classes or school to explore the theme of respect, safety and dignity for all. Included in the link below are sample lessons, websites and links to materials to help  build a culture of respect and dignity where everyone feels safe.

>> Access resources

Defend DACA

To rally support for the over 800,000 young people who would be negatively impacted by a repeal of DACA, ARTE (Art and Resistance Through Education) has shared the following ways we can all take action:

5-10 minute action: Please call the White House today and tell them that “we need to protect and preserve DACA!” The direct link to the comment line can be found here.

15-30 minute action: Here is a list of a few other actions that you can take, ranging from contacting your member of Congress to using social media.

Actions for Educators:
Contribute to the ARTE social media campaign, #ThankYouForBeingHereMore details are available here. Please share widely!

#DefendDACA New York City teach-in: In collaboration with the Art Education Department at City College, ARTE is sponsoring an resource sharing / teach-in to strategize how to teach art in defense of DACA. Please join us at on Wednesday, September 13th from 5:30-7:30pm at Shepard Hall Room 303 (third floor, please bring a photo ID). Friends and family members of all ages are welcome!

National curriculum call: Please join us on a 60-minute call as we will be discussing the ways that we can create a curriculum around immigration history, the history / defense of DACA/DREAM Act, and the work of immigrant artists and activists. We want to also create a space where educators can share resources on how to protect and keep our undocumented youth communities safe in the aftermath of the decision to end DACA. Sign-up form and details on the call (Monday, September 11 at 8:30pm EST) can be found here.

Can’t join the teach-in or the call? Please feel free to contribute resources to the following collaborative document, which will be an open-sourced curriculum and resource list for educators, activists, artists, and others.

>> Learn More

Teaching Human Rights Workshop


When: Saturday, October 14, 2017 9:00 AM – Sun , October 15, 2017 2:00 PM
Where: International Affairs Building, 420 W. 118 St., New York, NY 10027 Room 1201

The Institute for the Study of Human Rights at Columbia University is holding a two-day interactive workshop designed to help: build your knowledge of human rights, develop skills to teach human rights to your students, and build/strengthen your capacity to promote respect and empathy within your school or community.

Prior knowledge of human rights is not required. For questions, please email with the subject “Teaching Human Rights Workshop.”

Early Bird Deadline: September 11th

>> Learn more and Register

Responding to Charlottesville

Charlottesville has shaken the nation. As human rights educators, it is incumbent on us to address events like Charlottesville and especially their root causes within our classes. As Education Week Teacher Christina Torres wrote, it is essential for teachers to have honest conversations with students about racism and white supremacy.

“We must teach our students that the ‘history’ of these events is far from ‘past’ and ‘passed.’ The history our students face now is a very living thing that we must learn about in order to affect change for our future. As many of us prepare to return to our classrooms, we don’t just need to buy flowers and make bulletin boards. We need to prepare and read resources that help us make space in our classrooms to discuss these events. We need to ensure that we treat our students’ stories and the stories happening right now as a very real, living thing that our kids have the ability to change. They deserve that knowledge. They deserve that power.”

To help educators respond to the explicit hatred and violence experienced in Charlottesville and establish a safe and tolerant classroom for the coming year, HRE USA has developed the below collection of resources from our partner organizations.

For further resources, be sure to follow the twitter chat using the hashtag #CharlottesvilleCurriculum.


Confederate Monuments and Their Removal
Grade Level: 9-12
This lesson provides students an opportunity to learn more about Confederate monuments and the recent push to remove them. It encourages them to reflect on their own points of view about the issue while exploring others’ positions.

Helping Students Make Sense of News Stories About Bias and Injustice
Grade Level: All
Practical suggestions, strategies, and resources.

Swastikas and Other Hate Symbols
Grade Level: 9-12
This lesson provides asks students to reflect on the importance of symbols in our society, understand more about specific hate symbols, and identify strategies for responding to and eliminating hate symbols.


“The Alt-Right Curriculum: Teachers are facilitating conversations with students about white nationalism”
Grade Level: 9-12
An article and video describing a classroom lesson focusing on an articulate Alt-Rights leader and his views.


Values and Public Policy
Grade Level: 9-12
This lesson in the “Teaching with the News” series explores the role of values in civic life and political beliefs. Students are asked to explore values as a way to understand the views of others, find common ground where it exists, and work together to find ways to form policy.


Breaking Down Hate Speech
Grade Level: 9-12
This lesson offers strategies for creating a school community culture in which hate speech is unacceptable, both online and offline.


In 2016 the Council of Europe launched the No Hate Speech Movement campaign to mobilize young people for human rights online and to combat hate speech, one of the most worrying forms of racism and discrimination prevailing that is amplified by the Internet and social media.

WE CAN: Taking Action against Hate Speech through Counter and Alternative Narratives (2017)
This manual challenges and exposes the nature of hate speech: prejudicial views on social groups combined with fake news which feed phobias and fears, seem attractive as narratives. It examines how narratives give a meaning to information because they connect with what people believe, or want to believe in. Also available in French.

Bookmarks – A manual for combating hate speech online through human rights education (Revised edition, 2016)
Bookmarks addresses hate speech online from a human rights perspective, both inside and outside the formal education system. The manual is designed for working with learners aged 13 to 18 but the activities can be adapted to other age ranges. Also available in French.


After Charlottesville: Contested History and the Fight Against Bigotry
Grade Level: 7-12
Students consider the power of historical symbols as they investigate the 2015 controversy over the Confederate flag in South Carolina and then draw connections to the violence in Charlottesville.

My Part of the Story: Exploring Identity in the United States
Grade Level: 7-12
This new unit, “challenges students to define their own identity and their relationship to society as a whole. Seven lessons explore what America means to young people and how this country is the product of many individual voices; the concept of identity and the names, labels, and stereotypes that create it; and finally how students own agency create their identities.  Essential Question: What is the identity of the United States, and how do I fit into it?

Preparing Students for Difficult Conversations
Grade Level: 7-12
Originally prepared from a unit on “Facing Ferguson,” this lesson is equally applicable to Charlottesville. It lays the lay the foundation for a safe and reflective classroom where students feel they can speak honestly about these sensitive issues.

Webinar Resources for Teaching After Charlottesville
Grade Level: All
Online webinar that features resources, strategies, tips, and content to help teachers: organize the classroom space for safety, prepare your students for difficult conversations, provide context about the history of Nazi Germany and its ideology, and provide historical context on the legacy of slavery, the Civil War, and Reconstruction in the U.S.


The First Amendment: What’s Fair in a Free Country?
Grade Level: 9-12
This lesson demonstrates that freedom of speech is an ongoing process and that balancing rights and responsibilities is difficult, even for the Supreme Court.


These lessons from this well-known center for social justice education are especially relevant post-Charlottesville.

Students Fighting Racism
Grade Level: 3-5
Essential Question: Why is it important for me to stand up for others and myself?

Hate has no place in these halls; together we can change it.
Grade Level: 9-12
Essential Question: What is the difference between feeling proud and feeling superior?

Social Justice – Diversity
Grade Level: 9-12
Essential Question: How do we connect in meaningful ways with people who are different from us?

Social Justice
Grade Level: 9-12
Essential Question: What does it mean to say that there is strength in diversity?

Ten Ways to Fight Hate
Grade Level: All
A guide by the Southern Poverty law Center that sets out 10 principles for fighting hate in your community.

Understanding Myself and the World I Live in Now
Grade Level: 9-12
Essential Question: How do our intersecting identities shape our perspectives and the way we experience the world?