Muslim American Educators Driving Change in the Classroom

Nagla Bedir and Luma Hasan (pictured above), both social studies teachers in New Jersey, co-founded Teaching While Muslim to help address some of the challenges and frustrations they experienced as students growing up as Muslim Americans.

Trying to articulate a complex identity when faced with peers and educators who have a limited understanding of what it means to be Muslim often left Nagla and Luma on the defensive, responding to micro-aggressive questions and bigoted accusations that would not be necessary if school curricula were fully inclusive.

twm-logo.pngNow as educators, they are driving the change to address this lack of inclusion.The Teaching While Muslim site is a space intended to deepen understanding of the complicated identities of Muslims in the United States, including the diverse experiences of Muslim educators. It is also a platform for resources and tools.

Bedir and Hasan took a few minutes to talk about their efforts and where they see their work headed.

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Teaching Empathy

Check out these two new lessons created by the grand finalists of the Facing History and Ourselves 2017 Margot Stern Strom Innovation Grants. Today’s world calls for more empathy and these two winners have worked hard to develop approaches that help your students understand empathy and how to consider other points of view that may differ from their own.  Explore them today and see how you can create a more compassionate world with your students.

>>  Download Lessons

Human Rights as a Tool to Address Climate Change

Professor Rebecca M. Bratspies of CUNY Law School has published a timely new article in the current issue of the University of Miami Law Review, titled The Climate for Human Rights.  Here’s the abstract:

Climate change is the defining challenge of the 21st century.  The United States government is currently ignoring the problem, but wishful thinking alone will not keep global mean temperature rise below 2ºC. This Article proposes a way forward. It advises environmental decision-makers to use human rights norms to guide them as they make decisions under United States law. By reframing their discretion through a human rights lens, decision-makers can use their existing authority to respond to the super-wicked problem of climate change.

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Girl’s Rights Platform

Plan International has developed a new Girl’s Rights Platform that consists of a vast searchable database of a variety of human rights documents and conventions by the UN and regional bodies. There’s also a UN debate tracker planned. That platform has been developed for human rights activists, NGO staff, and academics and is also a useful resource for educators who work with girls and on human rights. The platform includes an online learning experience with modules on different aspects of girls’ human rights. To find the modules, follow the link to the quiz section where you can test and increase your knowledge.

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It Gets Better Project – Education Guide

 

The It Gets Better Project is a Los Angeles-based nonprofit organization that uses digital media and more to help uplift, empower, and connect LGBTQ+ youth around the globe. They recently launched a new education initiative, one that centers on free-for-download EduGuides that accompany some of their best films, video series, books, and more. The resources are meant for the classroom, as well as any space where learning occurs and where empathy and inclusivity of LGBTQ+ youth are encouraged.

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March for Our Lives and Human Rights

Everyone has the right to be safe and secure, and live without fear. But in the U.S., gun violence is an epidemic that directly threatens these human rights. Whether you’re walking down the street, in a school or at church no place is truly safe. In fact, 30,000 people are killed with guns each year in the U.S. and 80% of all gun deaths in the world take place in the U.S. (Amnesty International)

According to International Law, the U.S. government has clear and urgent obligations to protect the people living in this country from gun violence. But the U.S. has a patchwork of inconsistent and inadequate federal and state gun control laws and has failed to take all measures necessary to prevent gun violence as evidenced by the most recent shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland Florida where 17 students were killed.

The lack of legislative action to reduce this man-made epidemic continues to hold our country at gunpoint and prevent us from exercising our human rights. Of course, a key challenge is how to enforce these human rights obligations and that’s where activism ,  like the above youth-led initiatives,  play a critical role. We the people must demand that our elected officials respect, protect and fulfill our human rights — including those of people most impacted by gun violence: youth, women and people of color.

On March 24, the kids and families of March For Our Lives and communities across the nation will take to the streets to demand that their lives and safety become a priority and that we end gun violence and mass shootings in our schools today.

On April 20, a second nationwide school walkout has been planned, which marks 19 years since two teens killed 13 people at Columbine High School in Colorado. Started by a Connecticut student who lives within 30 minutes of Sandy Hook Elementary School. Like the previous walkout, at 10 a.m. students will gather outside, where 17 minutes of silence will honor the victims in Florida.

Stoneman Douglas survivors have also spearheaded initiatives that do not require walking out of school, such as their Vote For Our Lives campaign and #NeverAgain: Pick Up a Pen, which asks students, teachers and concerned citizens to write to lawmakers.

Planning to be part of the national actions on gun violence?  Check out these resources for teachers and students.

The World As It Could Be Institute

EVENT DETAILS:
When: Saturday, March 17th
Time: 9:30 – 4:30 pm
Where: Oakland Asian Cultural Center, 388 9th Street, Oakland, CA
Cost: Free. Registration Required.

A day-long Institute by the World As It Could Be Human Rights Education Program. Participants will learn about the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) and how to utilize the UDHR to take positive action to address issues of concern. Modeled after their successful 3-day Institutes, the program will combine fun and meaningful experiences with creative arts to encourage different ways to communicate and express ideas about human rights in our most immediate circles.

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Anthology: Human Rights and Children

Human Rights and Children by Barbara Stark, Professor of Law at Hofstra University, provides a comprehensive overview of children’s human rights, collecting the works of leading authorities as well as new scholars grappling with emerging ideas of ‘children’ and ‘rights.’ Beginning with the Convention on the Rights of the Child, the most widely ratified human rights treaty in the world, this book explores the theory, doctrine, and implementation of the legal frameworks addressing child labor, child soldiers, and child trafficking, as well as children’s socio-economic rights, including their rights to education. With an original introduction by the Professor Stark and contributions by leading scholars such Jonathan Todres, Martha Davis, as well as many others, this topical volume is an invaluable resource for scholars, students, and activists. Contributors also include .  You can check out the table of contents here.

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800,000 Reasons to Teach About DACA

HRE USA is happy to release the 6th edition of the Human Rights Here and Now Bulletin, “800,000 Good Reasons to Teach About DACA: A Toolkit for Educators.”

Since 2012, nearly 800,000 undocumented young people who came to the USA as children have been allowed to go to school, work, or serve in the military without fear of deportation under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. On September 5, 2017, President Trump rescinded the program and gave Congress six months to determine the fate of DACA recipients. “The deportation clock is ticking on hundreds of thousands of young people who know no other country,” said Sen. Richard Durbin of Illinois. Work permits begin to expire on March 5, 2018, and all protections under the program will be stripped away on a rolling basis over the next 2 1/2 years.

Who are these so-called “dreamers”? Why do some people feel they should be expelled from the United States? Why do others agree with Human Rights Watch that Trump’s repeal of DACA will expose hundreds of thousands of people to deportation by a cruel and unjust immigration system? This DACA toolkit offers educators resources for addressing this important and controversial human rights issue that faces schools and communities across the country.

>> Download free resource

Educators for Social Justice Conference

EVENT DETAILS:
When: Saturday, February 24th
Time: 8:00 am – 4:30 pm
Where: Wydown Middle School, 6500 Wydown Blvd. St. Louis, MO 63105
Cost: $10-$35

The theme of this years conference is “Building Counter-Narratives for Radical Healing and Hope.” Due to escalating incidents of violence, discrimination, and misrepresentations of truth, many of our children are in need of radical healing and hope. This year’s Educating for Change Conference seeks to hone our great power as educators to build counter-narratives, which disrupt misrepresentations that give voice to alternative facts. This project is historically urgent. Join us in our efforts to use counter-narratives as a tool for fostering hope and healing so that we may resist traditional domination, empower marginalized communities, and move toward sustainable solutions to today’s crises. Keynote speaker, Gholnecsar “Gholdy” Muhammad will be speaking on the intersection of history and language arts ​with a particular focus on the representation of young black women. ​