Facing History partnered with Apple Original Films and A24 for an advance screening of the award-winning documentary, BOYS STATE. The film is available for streaming on Apple TV beginning August 14th.
“This is bigger than COVID, Ms. B.”
That’s what the 9th graders I teach told me when the protests after George Floyd’s murder began in LA -- and that some would be joining them. Kids who, only days before, had been so anxious about this pandemic that they had been disinfecting their family members’ shoes after any trip into the outside world.
Over the last 2 months, I've had the immense pleasure of interviewing three individuals with unique and powerful perspectives on civic engagement.
- Dolores Huerta, civil rights icon and co-founder of the National Farm Workers Association, whose activism for 7 decades inspires and compels others to act.
- Eric Marcus, whose interviews of LGBTQ civil rights activists (now shared through the Making Gay History podcast) illuminates the courage of individuals to raise their voices even when others don't want to hear them.
- Henry Jenkins, whose research on the intersection of participatory culture and pop culture provide new insight into understanding civic participation in a digital age.
But perhaps the most inspirational are the stories that come from LA Facing History Partnership Schools each year around this time - individuals and groups whose upstanding make a concrete difference every day in the lives and future of our Southern California students and communities.
This year, the Los Angeles office of Facing History and Ourselves partnered with Los Angeles and Ventura County Offices of Education and the CLIC Project to bring a series of workshops to help social studies teachers integrate the FAIR Education Act into their teaching. This law requires teachers to give attention to inclusivity in classrooms and in the curricula, with specific visibility to the political, economic, and social contributions of persons with disabilities and LGBTQ+ people.
This spring, we converted the workshops to do a two-part webinar series. For those who were unable to join the webinars live, here are the recordings and resources shared.
April 24th is annually honored as a day of recognition for the Armenian genocide - the date on which Armenian leaders, writers, and intellectuals were taken from their homes in a meticulously organized beginning to what would become the genocide itself.
In our resource book, Crimes Against Humanity and Civilization: the Genocide of the Armenians, we include several poems written by Diana Der-Hovanessian, which explore the diasporan identity that resulted - the pull of belonging to both Armenia and the United States and the legacy of the genocide on her own identity. "Two Voices" is one of those poems and includes this series of questions:
...do I think of my grandmother
at Ellis Island,
or as an orphan in an Armenian village?
Or at a black stove in Worcester...
This year, we honor the commemoration by sharing student poetry written in response to Diana's poem which highlights the connections students made to that pull of multiple identities. These come to us from Sasha Guzman at Social Justice Humanitas Academy. In respect for student identities, we present both without the author names.
We hope this reminder to find common experiences in the human condition can both build compassion and curiosity in honoring and learning about the histories of others.
Topics: Facing History Resources
This year, Facing History LA had the pleasure of collaborating with The Soraya for some beautiful programming and teacher support in relation to the Violins of Hope project.
Violins of Hope features violins that were owned and played by European Jews before the Holocaust. Over the past 20 years, the violins have been recovered and restored by Israeli luthier (violin maker and repairer) Amnon Weinstein. Los Angeles was to play host this Spring to violins from this collection in both museums and theaters, and teachers throughout the city were bringing these stories to their students.
Despite all of the cancelled events during this time, we are thrilled to share that the Soraya will still be able to bring Niv Ashkenazi and his priceless violin to teachers and students - and this is now an OPEN event available to a wider audience. All are invited to join this LIVE broadcast on Friday, April 17, 2020 at 4:00PM.
Prepare your students in advance with this lesson: Music as a Survival Tool.
A message for our educators from Mary Hendra, Southern California Program Director for Facing History and Ourselves.
Topics: Teaching Resources
On February 12, 1909, The Los Angeles Times published a front page article written by Jefferson Edmonds, a newspaper editor and political activist. How Freedom’s Word Found the Bondman is Jefferson’s first-hand account of Emancipation; he was born into slavery in Mississippi.
Jefferson's opening sentence, “When in 1619 that old Dutch kidnapper sold twenty negroes as slaves to the Virginians, only a god could have foreseen the tremendous, far-reaching results that that little transaction was to produce.” is a prescient foreshadowing of the historical reckoning elevated by The New York Times’ 1619 Project, 110 years later.
And his words, “If we erase from American history the pages that the negro’s presence caused to be written, it would be a short, uninteresting story.” are as timely in 2020, as we consider Black History Month critically - isn’t Black History, American History? - as it was when Jefferson wrote his account.
On this anniversary date of the original publication, we share the full text of Jefferson’s article below. Want more?
- Jefferson’s testimony to the Congressional Committee in 1875 can be found in Facing History and Ourselves’ guide for teaching The Reconstruction Era.
- Learn more about the JL Edmonds Project, and its founder, Arianne Edmonds, here.
- Register to join us for a teacher workshop on The Reconstruction Era, including a special session with Arianne.
Every year around this time, Southern California Museums open their doors for free. And while the official "Free-for-All day" was today, there are many more opportunities to see these great institutions which contribute to and reflect our region. This year, we wanted to do a quick shout-out to some of our museum partners who have not only participated in the annual Free-for-All day but have opened their doors to us in the past and in the future. We hope to see you at one of these events!