At Teaching Tolerance, we care about ways students can strengthen their capacity to thrive in an increasingly diverse democracy. This year, we are pleased to introduce the #USvsHate challenge.
First developed and piloted by educators in San Diego, #USvsHate is an educator- and student-led initiative to amplify student voice and push back against the messages of bias, bigotry and hate so common in our public discourse.
To participate in the #USvsHate challenge, educators can follow three easy steps.
1. Select and teach anti-hate lessons.
Working with organizations including the American Federation of Teachers, Facing History and Ourselves, Teaching for Change, Rethinking Schools and others, #USvsHate offers an extensive curated collection of lessons.
Educators will find resources for working with students to build an inclusive school community and to understand—and push back against—various forms of hate. Those looking specifically for lessons on topics like racism, antisemitism, homophobia, transphobia and more will find a wide variety of lessons for students at all grade levels.
2. Ask students to create anti-hate messages based on their learning.
Messages can take any form. The program’s creators recommend these messages do one or more of the following:
- explicitly address, explore and refuse racism, xenophobia, homophobia, Islamophobia, antisemitism, sexism, or other forms of hate, bias and injustice in schools and society;
- communicate that people across lines of difference contribute to our communities, regions, and nation, are equally valuable, and deserve access to opportunity and well-being;
- bust a myth (challenge a stereotype) about a “type of” kid too often misrepresented;
- ask people to treat each other kindly, fairly and respectfully, so schools stay safe for learning and society includes us all.
3. Share the messages across your school community—and enter them in the #USvsHate challenge.
Teaching Tolerance will choose some students’ artwork to feature on our social media accounts, and selected pieces will be professionally reproduced and distributed as free posters to all participating classrooms. In this way, students nationwide can use their voices to communicate with each other.
You can start entering your students’ messages this week! The #USvsHate challenge closes on March 20 and is already accepting online submissions. Educators can submit up to three entries per month—and will receive a free set of One World posters for the first submission.
Past artwork has featured slogans such as “Humanity is bigger than borders” and “There is no right way to love.”
Want to learn more about how the #USvsHate challenge can engage your students in anti-bias learning and amplify their voices? Check out this Teaching Tolerance magazine feature about how the challenge affected students in one California high school.
If you’re looking for a way students can engage with critical social justice issues while developing their own creative voices as advocates for change, we hope you’ll join the #USvsHate challenge.
We can’t wait to hear what your students have to say.