Civil Rights Movement Teaching Institute

EVENT DETAILS:
When: July 9-27
Where: Duke University, Durham, NC
Stipend/Award: $2700 (The stipend is intended to help participants cover travel, housing, meals, and basic academic expenses)

Application deadline: March 1st

This summer teaching institute was designed by a collaborative team of scholars, veterans, and educators from Duke, the SNCC Legacy Project, Tougaloo College, and Teaching for Change. Participants (classroom teachers in grades 7-12) will learn the bottom-up history of the Civil Rights Movement and receive resources and strategies to bring it home to their students. They will have the unique opportunity to learn from the people who made the civil rights movement happen, and from the leading scholars of the era. Three key narratives will serve as the focus of this institute:

  1. The movement thrust forward its leaders, not the other way around.
  2. The tradition of protest grew out of a long history of activism in the black community.
  3. Grassroots activism was the major engine that led to legislative reforms.

>> Learn more and apply

Using HRE to Address Stress in Students

A recent national survey released by UCLA’s Institute for Democracy, Education and Access, Teaching and Learning in the Age of Trump:  Increasing Stress and Hostility in America’s High School, found that the president’s political rhetoric and policy decisions have spilled into classrooms at public high schools in significant ways, causing stress, polarization and hostility among students. (See also NPR article).

The report, shows that nearly 80 percent of teachers said some students had expressed concern for their well-being because of the charged public conversation about issues such as immigration, health care, the environment, travel bans and LGBTQ rights.  Furthermore, 40 percent said concerns over key issues — such as Trump’s ban on travelers from eight countries, most with Muslim majorities; restrictions on LGBTQ rights; and health care — are making it harder for students to focus on their studies and making them less likely to come to school.

In response, Sandy Sohcot, the Director of The World As It Could Be (TWAICB), suggests HRE as one approach that could effectively address heightened stress in the classroom.  She states, “I’d like to offer using the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) as a tool to teachers to guide discussion that could help students better bridge divisive feelings, grasp how derogatory language and actions affect others, and help express the human rights affected by language and policies of their government representatives.”

In her recent blog post entitled, If You Get Confused, Listen to the Music Play, Sohcot further explores how the UDHR could help address not only the issues causing so much youth anxiety, but also the increasingly confusing social-political environment we’re in, and the floating anxiety it generates.

>> Access UCLA Report and key findings
>> Read Sohcot’s blog post

The Forgotten History of How Our Government Segregated the United States

By Richard Rothstein

We share a national myth that residential segregation is de facto. It is a myth embraced not only by conservatives, but by liberals as well. It is perpetuated by our standard high school history curriculum, in which commonly used textbooks routinely describe segregation in the North as de facto, mysteriously evolved without government direction. Yet, as The Color of Law recounts, the myth is false. Federal, state, and local governments deliberately segregated residential areas of every metropolitan area of the nation, designed to ensure that African Americans and whites would have to live separately.

 >> Continue Reading

Support Innovation in HRE

HRE USA  is excited to announce the creation of the  Flowers Fund.  Established in honor of Nancy Flowers, the fund will be used continue her legacy of innovation and mentorship in human rights education.  Please consider contributing today to help us advocate for and further develop programming that supports human rights education and our ultimate goal of making human rights a reality in each community.

>> Donate Now

New Human Rights Here & Now Bulletin

How do teachers bring human rights into an increasingly restricted curriculum? HRE USA’s latest Human Rights Here and Now Bulletin will help you answer this question. The publication features guest editors Jessica Mintz and John Terry, who were part of a special team of New Jersey educators that developed a collection of adaptable and accessible model lessons that support the integration of HRE into their state’s curriculum.

>> Download Bulletin

Teaching About the Human Impact of Natural Disasters

In response to the terrible impact of Hurricanes Harvey and Irma, the National Council for the Social Studies (NCSS) has made 3 chapters of their 2010 bulletin, The Human Impact of Natural Disasters:  Issues for the Inquiry-Based Classroom publicly available at the request of the editors.  The book contains essays by scholars and practitioners about a range of topics concerning natural disasters and their consequences, and how social studies educators can address them in their daily practice. The bulletin has a prominent emphasis on human rights issues, and includes lesson suggestions as well as a comprehensive bibliography.

>> Access the free chapters 
>> Full text for NCSS members

CHILDREN CAN BE HUMAN RIGHTS ACTIVISTS, TOO!

By Ellen V. Moore

In 1987, while I was co-director of Amnesty International USA’s Urgent Action Program, I began the monthly AIKids’ Urgent Action Program for youngsters ages 9-14 years old. For decades, our UA Office in Nederland, Colorado sent out casesheets to teachers, parents, scout troops, Sunday Schools, individual young people often about youngsters facing human rights abuses in Africa, South and Central America, in Europe, the United States and the Middle East.

Sometimes a casesheet would lay out details of the arrest of a union activist and his children who were with him at a rally.  Sometimes Amnesty was asking for letters to a government official who, with the stroke of a pen, could ensure the release of a medical rights pediatrician in Pakistan who was being threatened along with her family members, for speaking out at demonstrations about the United Nations’ Universal Declaration of Human Rights article defining basic medical care as a basic human right.

I shared the AIKids’ Urgent Action with my UA colleagues in London and AI United Kingdom almost immediately began its own effort at youth letter-writing, The Junior Urgent Action.  Shortly, AICanada’s Urgent Action Program Director Marilyn McKim began the LifeSaver geared for students from 4th to ninth grades.  Every year, another AI Section either began using the AIKids’ UAs or the youth casesheets from Canada or the United Kingdom, and throughout Central and Latin America AI Sections began using the Spanish language casesheets produced by a Spanish language teacher in Colorado, Maya Meis.

There has always been debate, in education in general and among Amnesty International human rights educators about when and if to introduce students to human rights issues and especially to human rights abuses worldwide.  As I reviewed copies of children’s letter sent to me over many decades from teachers, parents, scout leaders, and young students themselves, I became convinced that in many, even most, instances young letter writers were profoundly empowered by advocacy letter-writing because “doing something” about human rights appears to have empowered the young writers to “Speak truth to power.”

Hundreds of letters written by children using the AIKids’ Urgent Action casesheets are now part of the AIUSA Archives at Columbia University’s Center for Human Rights Documentation and Research which preserves the papers of a dozen human rights organizations and many dozen individual human rights activists worldwide but especially from the United States.

Though AIUSA no longer produces the monthly AIKids’ Urgent Actions, it is of huge comfort to me that both AI Canada and AI United Kingdom continue their monthly letter-writing programs for students with all this implies about students learning that they need not passively learn of human rights abuses daily on the web and on television or in film but they too can take action to speak out to persons in authority urging a halt to unacceptable government collusion in internationally-condemned behaviors against minorities, women, the elderly, children, ethnic groups and refugees.

As part of the international AI Write for Rights December Celebration of the UDHR, there will be and has always been, a case specially written for young letter-writers.  This casesheet is not only for young writers, but new English speakers, persons in literacy classes, families who want to write together to honor the December 10, 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

Celebrate the UDHR in your home or your classroom, your school or church by letter-writing with a youngster.  Better to light a candle, than curse the darkness; “Write a letter, change a life.”

Ellen V. Moore worked at Amnesty International for over 30 years as the Urgent Action Program Coordinator and has also served on the Board of Directors at Amnesty International USA.

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

Human Rights in National Security

Human Rights in National Security

Amnesty International USA is excited to announce the release of a new toolkit for students and educators on human rights in national security.  This FREE toolkit is intended to raise awareness among students ages 16-20 of the intersection of human rights and national security. Additionally, it is intended to increase participation among high school and college students in activism and advocacy around torture, surveillance, anti-Muslim hate, indefinite detention, and other common human rights violations associated with post-9/11 U.S. national security policy.

>> Learn more and download resource