Mary Hendra

As Program Director for Los Angeles and Organizational Innovation for Facing History and Ourselves, Mary leads workshops, seminars, and professional development in the greater Los Angeles area, works with individual teachers and faculty teams implementing Facing History in their classrooms, pilots new uses of digital tools and resources for education, and collaborates with formal and informal education organizations across Southern California.

Recent Posts

Bringing Facing History Strategies into Online Classrooms

Posted by Mary Hendra on September 7, 2020

We know. 

Teachers LOVE Facing History strategies.

We do too.

Facing History centers students and student voices in our classrooms.  That is all the more important as we build community online.

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Topics: Teaching Strategies, Teaching Strategy

Sharing BIPOC Women of California Resources

Posted by Mary Hendra on September 4, 2020

This week,@FacingHistoryLA shone a special spotlight on California women who are Black, Indigenous and People of Color. These are women who have shaped California and many times the nation. Below are all of those visuals, with the links shared on Twitter to further explore their stories. 

This is by no means a comprehensive list, but our contribution to the body of knowledge and resources available to teachers - a curation of individuals whose stories and legacy can be explored through Facing History resources. (Listed alphabetically.) Who else should be included in California classrooms?  Share your thoughts - and resources - in the comments below!

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Topics: Los Angeles, California

Spotlight on BIPOC Women of California

Posted by Mary Hendra on August 23, 2020

Political conventions coincide with the start of school in California this year, presenting a unique nexus of past, present, and future for teachers.  The nomination of Kamala Harris as a Vice Presidential candidate shows the value in teaching the significance of both contemporary and historic as we have seen that her candidacy has provided an opportunity to dive deeper into the work and legacy of Charlotta Bass.

This week, follow Facing History LA on Twittter @FacingHistoryLA for a special spotlight on women who are Black, Indigenous and People of Color who, like Charlotta Bass, have shaped California and many times the nation. Some had wide visibility even during their own time. Others took a stand which was built on later.

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Topics: Los Angeles, Social Justice

Civic Imagination, Civic Action

Posted by Mary Hendra on June 1, 2020

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.

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Topics: Upstanders, Los Angeles, Upstander

Teaching with Attention to the FAIR Education Act

Posted by Mary Hendra on May 14, 2020

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.

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Honoring the Armenian Genocide through Poetry

Posted by Mary Hendra on April 24, 2020

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.

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Topics: Armenian Genocide, Student Work

Violins of Hope LIVE concert 4/17/20

Posted by Mary Hendra on April 14, 2020

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.

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Topics: Holocaust, Los Angeles

Teaching and Learning Remotely

Posted by Mary Hendra on March 31, 2020

A message for our educators from Mary Hendra, Southern California Program Director for Facing History and Ourselves.

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Topics: Teaching Resources

Southern California Museums 2020

Posted by Mary Hendra on January 25, 2020

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!

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Topics: Los Angeles, workshop, Community Event

Teaching with The 1619 Project

Posted by Mary Hendra on January 17, 2020

The 1619 Project is a major initiative from The New York Times observing the 400th anniversary of the beginning of American slavery. It aims to reframe the country’s history, understanding 1619 as our true founding, and placing the consequences of slavery and the contributions of black Americans at the very center of the story we tell ourselves about who we are.

In the fall, Facing History partnered with The 1619 Project to get materials into the hands of teachers wishing to use this resource with their students. So, what did they do? And what could YOU do?

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Topics: Reconstruction, difficult conversations, race

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This blog helps Southern California teachers connect directly with each other, share ideas, and learn about new resources and opportunities for those interested in or already implementing Facing History.

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