The Power of Words

Posted by Mary Hendra on October 16, 2014

We hold these truths to be self-evident…

When in the course of human events…

… the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, …

There are some words that need little introduction. They call up an immediate reference to American democracy and the long and ongoing struggle for liberty which is unfinished work. I was reminded of this at our school culture summit this weekend at which we featured the film Cesar Chavez.

In one scene, the local sheriff comes to see Chavez after complaints about people gathering nightly. When the sheriff emphasizes the importance of being law-abiding, Chavez quickly responds that they do love the law, especially the First Amendment. When a hearing with Robert F. Kennedy is shown, Kennedy calls that same sheriff to task by telling him that during the break he should read the U.S. Constitution. To me, such scenes remind me both of the power of putting these ideals into words during the founding of our country, even if the ideal was not yet a reality, and the recognition that these words are a call to action to all of us to try to reach that ideal in our own interactions.

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Topics: Choosing to Participate, Critical Thinking, Religion

Questions of Identity

Posted by Mary Hendra on May 15, 2014

This week I am in Poland with a group from Facing History, as part of a learning trip. Over the course of nine days, we are exploring questions about history, memory, and legacy that are at the core of our work. With the help of Polish and Jewish scholars, witnesses to history, community activists, politicians and journalists, as well as organizations that have worked with Facing History throughout the past 25 years, we will be challenged to think in new ways as we confront the past and struggle with questions about the present and future. I find myself thinking deeply about identity and the questions raised by and around it.

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Topics: Holocaust and Human Behavior, Critical Thinking, Religion

8 People who Perplex Me

Posted by Mary Hendra on March 26, 2014

What is "perplexity"? and what is its role in education?

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Topics: Civil Rights Movement, Armenian Genocide, Holocaust and Human Behavior, Critical Thinking, Race and Membership in American History: Eugenics, Religion

The Power of Presidential Statements

Posted by Dan Alba on February 13, 2013

Article II, Section 2 of the United States Constitution states the President "shall from time to time give to the Congress Information of the State of the Union, and recommend to their Consideration such measures as he shall judge necessary and expedient." Last night, as with Presidents since George Washington, President Obama delivered his third State of the Union Address. Over the years, Presidential statements have increased influence and profound impact on both the direction of our country as well as personal expressed values and beliefs which strengthen us as a democracy and a people.

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Topics: Religion

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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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