Helping Ordinary People Do Extraordinary Things

Posted by Mary Hendra on May 1, 2015

Courage isn't doing what comes easy, but what comes hard."

Anthony Chavez, grandson of Civil Rights activist Cesar Chavez and now an upstander in his own right, shared this as one of the lessons he had learned from his grandfather. In a twist on the traditional Community Conversations facilitated by Facing History and Ourselves across the country and made possible by the support of The Allstate Foundation, this conversation was also a celebration of upstanding at schools which are members of the LA Facing History Partnership Schools Network.

Educators and students at these schools across Los Angeles cultivate the desire and tools to stand up to injustice throughout the year, and this was the time to celebrate them. Anthony's shared lessons were inspiring...

We honor the legacy of upstanders be continuing the work in our own time and place."

Anthony shared that it wasn't easy for his tata and nana. Cesar Chavez would talk with hundreds of farmworkers and only find two willing to stand up. He had his own serious doubts about the potential success of his work, but knew he had to try. And, he noted the now well-known phrase which was utilized, "Si Se Puede" and the legacy that lives on wherever people stand up nonviolently.

My grandfather wanted to help ordinary people to do the extraordinary things we are all capable of."

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Topics: Choosing to Participate, Community Event


Posted by Mary Hendra on April 28, 2015

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.

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Topics: Student Work, Upstander, Community Event

A Day of Conversation

Posted by Mary Hendra on February 26, 2015

  • 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?
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Topics: Safe Schools, Los Angeles, Urban Education, Community Event, A View from the Classroom

Facing History in Just 3 Minutes

Posted by Mary Hendra on November 18, 2014

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:

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Topics: Community Event


Posted by Mary Hendra on October 25, 2014

Since we began "the LA network," it has been about building community.

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Topics: Community Event

Upstanders: Strengthening School Community

Posted by Armen Menechyan on October 15, 2014

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."

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Topics: Safe Schools, Los Angeles, Urban Education, Upstander, Community Event, Parents

Upstander Stories from Our LA Partnership Schools

Posted by Marti TippensMurphy on May 8, 2014

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

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Topics: Choosing to Participate, Los Angeles, Community Event

Sir Ben Kingsley and Kenneth Turan on Facing History and Film

Posted by Marti TippensMurphy on February 26, 2014

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.

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Topics: Critical Thinking, Community Event

What could Facing History do for you?

Posted by Mary Hendra on January 28, 2014

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...

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Topics: Alumni, Community Event

Why students today need to know Matthew Shepard

Posted by Marti TippensMurphy on October 9, 2013

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.

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Topics: Alumni, Community Event

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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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