#USvsHate During School Closures

#USvsHate, TT’s new anti-hate messaging challenge, can help students engage with social justice, even during distance learning. Here’s how.
Illustration by Shannon Anderson

Last week, schools across the country closed due to the spread of the coronavirus. As many schools and families transition to distance learning, educators are finding new ways to connect and engage with students. Here at TT, we have updated our anti-hate message challenge, #USvsHate. 

The goal of #USvsHate is the same as it’s always been: to stand up against bigotry and create safe and welcoming communities. The steps of the challenge are the same, too. You can find and share lessons about bigotry by using the program’s robust anti-bias resource bank. Students can create anti-hate messages in any medium to share. And educators can submit up to three student entries for the national #USvsHate challenge. Winning entries will be shared with participants nationwide. But we’re also making some changes to adapt the #USvsHate challenge for distance learning.

Here’s what’s new about #USvsHate.

We’ve opened #USvsHate to families and caretakers, as well as educators.

#USvsHate is no longer just for the classroom. Since students create the artwork independently, it’s an ideal project for young people to work on from home and then share with others to facilitate connection. 

Educators can adapt lessons from the lesson bank for distance learning, or caretakers and families can access those lessons directly to complete with students. If students are still attending school through an online platform, they can upload their messages to have educators submit them. But caretakers can also make anti-hate messages with their children and upload them to the submission portal.

We have extended the submission deadline until May 1. 

Students can now learn about bigotry and bias and create anti-hate messages remotely throughout April. After the challenge closes on May 1, a panel of judges will review the entries. We’ll announce the winners through our social media channels and share the submissions digitally with all participants. 

Here’s how students can participate in #USvsHate from home.

Students can plug in to #USvsHate using a variety of different Teaching Tolerance resources. 

Educators or caretakers may find the perfect lessons using the #USvsHate lesson bank. Students can also read a text in the Teaching Tolerance Student Text Library or try out TT’s new, self-guided Selma Online resource. We encourage you to customize your project with the anti-bias resource that works best for your students. 

Students can create #USvsHate messages to push back against bigotry and bias. 

After students explore these resources, they can express their understanding by creating inclusive messages. These messages can be in any medium or genre, from crayon drawings to short films. The goal is to be as creative as possible. For inspiration, students can check out some past winners of the #USvsHate challenge.

Inclusive messaging serves as an essential support for those around us, especially as many people experience isolation and navigate uncertainty. Having students create anti-bias messages communicates how much we value each other, especially in difficult times like these. 

Students can share their messages. 

After students have created their anti-hate messages and their educator or caretaker has submitted them to the challenge, that’s not the end. Students can share their messages online or give them to teachers at meal or packet pick-ups and let educators post them there for the rest of the community to see.

While students might choose any number of sentiments to share or ways to communicate through this challenge, all #USvsHate creations share one message in common, a message that is particularly important at this time: We are all in this together.

About the Author