Each year, we ask Facing History Partnership Schools in Los Angeles to identify those members of their community who have become 'upstanders' - the individuals and groups who shape their community by speaking up on behalf of others and standing up to injustice small or large. On Thursday, we will celebrate our 2015 Upstanders and we are proud to share their stories as inspiration for us all.
- How do you create a school culture that reads together, ponders big ideas, has a common language, and stands up for each other?
- What does it mean for civic participation that our students are now "digital natives"?
- How can teachers implement curriculum that is both rigorous and meaningful? ...that engages students in thinking about critical moments in history and their personal choices?
How do you get somebody else to understand and feel compassion for an issue that you have dedicated your life to?
This was the task of Facing History and Ourselves' Los Angeles Director Liz Vogel as a participant in the 2014 Social Venture Partners (SVP) Los Angeles Fast Pitch. From over 100 nonprofit leaders, Liz was chosen as one of just 10 finalists, and shared her three-minute pitch at the Skirball Cultural Center last month. Below, she shares some of the things she learned in the process. Here is her pitch:
Topics: Community Event
Topics: Community Event
On October 11, 2014 at the Robert F. Kennedy Community Schools Campus, more than 15 schools and upwards of 120 students, teachers, parents, and administrators took the time on a Saturday to come together with one common goal: Strengthening school community.
Facing History Los Angeles hosted our 3rd Annual Los Angeles Partnership School Summit on School Culture. In our first year of this summit, we featured the film BULLY and looked at how small steps can make a difference for peers confronting bullying on campus. Last year we considered a short animated film from StoryCorps, Listening Is An Act of Love, to grow beyond just stopping bullying and consider how to build a positive school culture by small acts of compassion. This year, we continued to explore ways to build a stronger community by considering the steps of an "upstander."
Upstanders (n): those who do not simply stand by in the face of injustice, but understand that each one of us can make a difference
Like a Facing History classroom conversation, films can inspire reflection about moral choices. On January 27 at our Los Angeles Benefit Dinner, we were honored to have Sir Ben Kingsley introduce a segment on his recent film, Ender's Game about a young boy searching for his moral identity under enormous pressure. Sir Ben spoke about the way film is the modern version of bringing the tribe together at the bonfire to share stories.
Every year, we acknowledge the impact of Facing History and Ourselves through our annual Benefit Dinner. It is a beautiful opportunity to recognize the work of educators, community members, and Facing History Advisory Board members in making our world a better place. Here is a small taste...
Tonight we are screening the L.A. premiere of Matt Shepard is a Friend of Mine, a new documentary about Matthew Shepard, the 21-year-old gay college student who was murdered 15 years ago this month. Directed by Shepard’s friend Michele Josue, and edited by Facing History alum Liam McNiff, the film introduces Shepard in all the richness and complexity of his identity - as remembered by his close friends and family.
Schools are busy places this time of year. It is easy for the last few weeks to slip away without taking a moment to reflect back and celebrate the year's successes and innovations. On May 7, we brought together teachers, administrators and students from our Carson Partnership Schools Network, to take that pause to celebrate and share. Tuesday's celebration was at the GRAMMY museum and included a special performance with Charles Holt and Gerald Rivers in "Martin & Music."