Over the next four weeks, we will be using this blog to feature a range of voices, ideas, and curricular projects within our Los Angeles Partners School Network. This network of partner schools in the Los Angeles area, ranging from South LA to the northeast San Fernando Valley, and from East LA to Mid City, represents some of our most in-depth collaboration with educators and schools. The educators and school leaders have much to share about innovative programming, building whole school culture, and creatively navigating challenges. We hope you enjoy their stories, feel inspired and find great ideas.
Facing History opened its Los Angeles office in 1994.
Over the past 28 years, we’ve supported a growing network of teachers across Southern California, cultivated strong community partnerships, and witnessed multiple generations of students apply the lessons of Facing History to step into leadership in their communities and beyond.
This Spring, the faces many of you have come to recognize as Facing History will change, but the work will continue with an incredible team locally and globally.
Before leaving Facing History, Liz Vogel, Executive Director and Mary Hendra, Program Director for Los Angeles and Organizational Innovation, sat down together to share memories and hopes for Facing History.
Over the years, I have had the honor of sharing many thoughts and resources on this Learn+Teach+Share blog. This one is a bit more personal.
Topics: Los Angeles
Have you ever wished you could share stories of inspiration with young people about individuals they might connect with and relate to? The stories of Martin Luther King, Jr., Dolores Huerta, Bayard Rustin, Anna May Wong and others are amazing, but sometimes they can feel inaccessible as role models. At least, it feels a little overwhelming to go from where we are now, to what they achieved, without a deep dive into their journeys.
We have a gift for you!
Each year, Los Angeles area Facing History partnership schools cultivate a culture of upstanding, and celebrate that upstanding at the end of the year by recognizing actions taken by middle and high school students. This year, we're thrilled to share that recognition in an online gallery! And below, a few ways to use it with young people, whether your students or simply individuals you seek to inspire.
With great sadness, we mourn the passing of Dan Alba, the founding director of Facing History and Ourselves in Los Angeles, who died on December 2, 2020.
Dan gave so much to Facing History, and to educators across Southern California. His involvement with Facing History began 30 years ago as a social science teacher at Roosevelt High School in Boyle Heights, the school where he attended. In 1994, Dan left the classroom to open Facing History’s LA office in the basement of his home.
Topics: Los Angeles
Retail therapy in support of Facing History? Yes please!
From September 23 - October 2, the online auction Chic Relief will benefit Facing History and Ourselves. I had the chance to chat with Elizabeth Stewart, celebrity stylist, and founder of the online fashion platform.
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!
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.
I’m delighted that one of the outcomes of Kamala Harris’ historic achievement as the first Black woman on a major party ticket for vice president is that more people are now hearing about Charlotta Bass. I don’t believe it detracts from Senator Harris’ moment at all; learning about Charlotta Bass right now illuminates the long history of Black women’s leadership in civic life, as well as how often it is erased from history. If you have never heard of Charlotta Bass before now, you are not alone. Most people living in Los Angeles where she lived and worked for decades have never heard of her. That should be shocking given her many accomplishments over her career, and her prominence in the civic life of Los Angeles.
“If you hold your hand closed, nothing good can come in. The open hand is blessed, for it gives in abundance, even as it receives.” (Biddy Mason)
Bridget “Biddy” Mason lived her entire life with her hands always open to give. In return she received many blessings.
Biddy was born enslaved on August 15, 1818 in Macon County, Georgia. Although she was forbidden to learn how to read or write, she was able to learn skills that served her well throughout her life: How to tend to livestock, use herbs and roots to make medicine, nursing skills, and midwifery. When she was eighteen years old she was given as a wedding gift to Robert and Rebecca Smith. The Smiths, who were devout Mormons, decided to leave Logtown, Mississippi for a settlement in Salt Lake City, Utah. On March 10, 1848, Biddy, who had just given birth to her third daughter, had to walk behind the 300 covered wagons. During this long journey, Biddy tended to the sheep while carrying her infant daughter Harriet in her arms. Daughters Ellen and Ann walked beside her. She also cared for anyone who go sick along the way. The Smith household lived in Utah for three years. When the Mormon church leaders decided to establish a new post in San Bernardino, California, Robert Smith decided to move his family again. They arrived in San Bernardino in 1851.