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Growing vegetables and expanding horizons

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“Many residents of Compton, California, live in a food desert, which means they lack access to healthy foods and young people have never acquired the habit of eating fresh fruits and vegetables. Retired neurosurgeon Sherridan Ross may have a solution: Teach them to grow their own food. Drawing on the legacy of farming in Compton by African Americans, Sherridan develops community gardens that transform the attitude of neighborhood youth to food, and benefits them in other ways, too.”
Grade Level
3-5
Robert Wood Johnson Foundation
Subject
History
Social Justice Domain
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Multimedia

In a trailer park, isolated mothers pursue a shared dream

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“Zindy is a Mexican immigrant and domestic abuse survivor who lives with her five children at an isolated Atlanta-area trailer park. She notices that other park residents — immigrants from Mexico and Central America — struggle with the same issues she does, such as English fluency, reluctance to trust others, and limited access to education and other services. Zindy views their shared isolation as an opportunity and unites mothers in the community with similar cultural norms and practices — not to address shared problems, like domestic abuse, but to realize their common dreams for their children. This is the story of how they forged cultural ties and mutual trust, and the confidence to seek outside help in creating an escuelita (“little school”).”
Grade Level
6-8
Robert Wood Johnson Foundation
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Multimedia

Familiar food turns a refuge into a home

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“Padam and Purna were forced from their homeland in Bhutan and trapped in camps in Nepal for decades before being resettled in an alien land: Clarkston, Georgia. The refugees have found some stability, but still feel frustrated and uprooted, which leads to domestic violence and suicide in the refugee community. Padam and Purna realized that familiar food is the first step to feeling at home. They have opened a food store and other refugee-run businesses, which offer safe spaces and sources of mutual support for all the Asian refugees in Clarkston, who are united by their experience of trauma.”
Grade Level
Robert Wood Johnson Foundation
Subject
History
Economics
Geography
Social Justice Domain
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Multimedia

Stitching together the social fabric for young mothers in Appalachia

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Carrol Layfield manages a quilting group of older women from Ritchie County, West Virginia, who used to work in the area’s garment industry. Using techniques handed down over generations, the women piece together quilts from remnants of fabric from shuttered factories. Kayla Turk is a young mother of two children who returned home to Ritchie County to live with her parents when her husband was laid off. At a communal baby shower, Kayla receives a quilt from the older women, and discovers a network of support.
Grade Level
3-5
Robert Wood Johnson Foundation
Topic
Subject
History
Economics
Social Justice Domain
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Multimedia

Immigrant fathers and sons communicate on the soccer field

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“Traditional sports build cultural solidarity. In rural North Carolina, Tomás, a retired semi-professional soccer player from Mexico, co-founds an organized soccer league with family and fellow Central and Latin American undocumented immigrants. The common language of the sport forges bonds among the players and across generations, helping to foster more open communication between fathers and sons, and creates mentoring relationships with other adults. Moreover, the league's frequent games promote physical and psychological resilience in a community burdened by the risk of deportation.”
Grade Level
3-5
Robert Wood Johnson Foundation
Subject
History
Social Justice Domain
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Multimedia

Birdsong guides a tribe home

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“The desert-dwelling Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians were uprooted from their ancestral lands. For decades, they were cheated of the property rights deeded to them by the U.S. government, and then subject to restrictive deed provisions. Not until the 1980s were they able to develop their own land in Palm Springs, and only recently have they begun to restore the springs revered by their ancestors. Tribal council member Anthony J. Andreas III battles the severe mental health problems that afflict the traumatized tribe by reviving ancestral practices. Traditional Bird Songs and pottery help today’s youth draw strength from the tribe’s sources of spiritual resilience.”
Grade Level
6-8
Robert Wood Johnson Foundation
Subject
History
Social Justice Domain
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Multimedia

Every little girl should be able to wear a tutu

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“Ava is an ambitious teenager who owes much of her inner strength to a dance studio in South L.A. Founder Lula Washington and her daughter Tamica are professional dancers — and they are role models as well as teachers. At their dance school, African American children learn to respect themselves, their bodies, and their cultural traditions. The young dancers also defy stereotypes by mastering ballet. The dance program cultivates self-discipline and mutual support that enables girls like Ava to flourish even when their families are facing hard times.”
Grade Level
Robert Wood Johnson Foundation
Subject
History
Social Justice Domain
TEXT
Multimedia

Dealing with depression -- through faith and acupuncture

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“Esperanza is an undocumented Mexican immigrant in Compton, California. She suffers from fears and anxieties caused by her four previous deportations and her high-stress role as her family’s caregiver. Esperanza doesn’t see depression as a health problem. When she shares her struggles with a local priest, she discovers a network of support that ranges from her compadres to a free clinic.”
Grade Level
Robert Wood Johnson Foundation
Subject
History
Social Justice Domain
TEXT
Multimedia

Rediscovering the healing power of horses

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“The Fort Peck Assiniboine & Sioux Tribes Reservation in Montana is home to tribes whose culture was defined by their relationship to their land and their horses. Generations of systemic oppression drained their culture of its traditional meaning, and they struggle with grief, shame, and loss. Their trauma has led to fractured families, substance abuse, and a high teen suicide rate. Charlie Four Bear gives troubled Fort Peck youth a chance to build relationships with horses, and through them, with tribal elders like himself, to reclaim their tribal family’s cultural pride.”
Grade Level
3-5
Robert Wood Johnson Foundation
Subject
History
Social Justice Domain
TEXT
Multimedia

Curbing floods and restoring a sense of community

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“English Avenue, an historic African-American neighborhood with an illustrious past, sits at the bottom of Atlanta’s water runoff. Blighted by regular flooding, mass vacancies, unemployment, and impoverishment, English Avenue finds hope in a home-grown response from its youth. Longtime resident MacKenzie Bass — along with fellow members of Street Smart — helped construct a park that curbs the excess water, creates a gathering place, and seeks to reclaim English Avenue’s identity.”
Grade Level
6-8
Robert Wood Johnson Foundation
Subject
History
Geography
Social Justice Domain