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Inspire Future Voters Matthew Shepard White Privilege

PD and Poster Inside! His Legacy, 20 Years Later Update Your Understanding


The School-to-Deportation Pipeline

Is your school putting undocumented students at risk?

TT60 Cover.indd 1 8/22/18 1:25 PM




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with a community of educators committed
to diversity, equity and justice.
You can now build and customize a FREE learning plan based on
any Teaching Tolerance article!

1 Choose an article.
2 Choose an essential question, tasks and strategies.
3 Name, save and print your plan.
4 Teach original TT content!

TT60 TOC Editorial.indd 2 8/21/18 2:27 PM

The true story of the
students and teachers
who fought to secure
voting rights for African
Americans in the South.
Grades 6-12

Gerda Weissmann was 15 when the Nazis came for her.

They took all but her life.

Gerda Weissmann Klein’s

account of surviving the

Holocaust encourages
thoughtful classroom

teaching tolerance and

the gerda and kurt klein foundation present

discussion about a
difficult-to-teach topic.
A film by Kary Antholis l

Grades 6-12
streaming online

An introduction to

lessons about struggles

for workers’ rights—both
past and present.
Grades 6-12


ATime Follow the civil rights
for Justice movement from Emmett
Till to the passing of the

Voting Rights Act.


Grades 6-12
CKAG guide
G PA r’s s ter
HIN d teachee lesson
TEACs-base -mad oom
LETE ard ready classrlesson
MP nd 5
CO Sta with l-sizebonus
s ful with

The heroic story of the


young people in Birmingham, makes it easy to browse professional devel-

Alabama, who brought


opment and classroom resources that can help you improve segregation to its knees.
your school’s climate and help students navigate Grades 6-12
the complexities of our times.
A Student, a School and a Case that Made History A STUDENT, A SCHOOL AND
One student’s ordeal at
WHAT ELSE IS NEW AT TOLERANCE.ORG? the hands of anti-gay
bullies culminates in a

message of hope.
Grades 6-12

 Search hundreds of FREE short texts. VIEWER’S GUIDE GRADES 9-12

 Apply for a grant. A documentary film
about lynching in the
 Share materials with other educators. American South.
Grades 9-12
 Get alerts whenever we add new content. AN OUTRAGE
by Hannah Ayers and Lance Warren
streaming online

VISIT TOLERANCE.ORG TODAY! All kits include film and viewer’s guide.

TT60 TOC Editorial.indd 1 8/21/18 2:27 PM

ISSUE 60 | FALL 2018

19 27
5 Perspectives

7 Letters to the Editor

9 Ask Teaching Tolerance

11 Why I Teach
Catherine Alene reflects on the power of
positive classroom experiences for our
most vulnerable learners.

13 Down the Hall

Knikole Taylor explains how technology
can be a tool for equity and community.

38 46
15 PD Café

59 Staff Picks
Our book and film reviews can help you
keep your practice fresh and informed.

62 Story Corner
64 One World

on the cover
Discipline policies coupled with police presence in schools can push
undocumented students into the school-to-prison pipeline, or worse, into
immigration court. Is your school putting undocumented students at risk?



TT60 TOC Editorial.indd 2 8/27/18 3:47 PM

Prepare your students
to bust five common
voting myths with this
free classroom poster! about VOTING
MYTH: The U.S. Constitution guarantees all U.S. citizens the right to vote.
Fact Amendments to the Constitution tell states what they cannot do
(deny the vote based on race, gender or age, for example), but nothing in the
Constitution tells the states that they must ensure all citizens can vote. Check
the voting laws in your state!

MYTH: Presidential elections are the ones that really matter.

Fact Where does your water comes from? How are local police officers
trained? State and local elections decide who answers these questions and more.

MYTH: Voter I.D. fraud is a big problem in the United States.

Fact According to the Brennan Center for Justice, Americans are more likely
to be struck and killed by lightning than to impersonate another voter.

MYTH: College students have to vote where their parents live.

Fact Most college students can vote at home or at or near school.
Because every state is different, everyone should check the laws and
register well in advance of election day in the state where they plan to vote.

MYTH: My vote doesn’t count.

Fact Because tied elections are surprisingly common, every vote matters. In
2017 in Virginia, officials drew a name from a bowl to decide control of the state’s
House of Delegates.

7 34
19 The Book of Matthew
Twenty years after his death, Matt
Shepard’s story matters more than ever.

24 LGBTQ Best Practices Guide 38 What Is White Privilege, Really?

Use this excerpt from our new guide Think you know what white privilege is?
to tune up your school and classroom Take a closer look with our new resource.
policies and help LGBTQ students thrive.
42 The School-to-Deportation Pipeline
27 Imagining a World Without For undocumented students, zero-
White Supremacy tolerance discipline policies can lead to
These TT Educator Grant projects outcomes much worse than suspension.
invited students to challenge the
structures of white supremacy
46 This Is Not a Drill
Your guide to resisting enhanced
and connect their classrooms to
immigration enforcement.

6 52
their communities.

30 A Museum. A Memorial. 49 Closing the Diversity Gap

New research sheds light on how to
A Message. recruit—and retain—teachers of color.
The Equal Justice Initiative’s new
attractions confront visitors with the 52 Rebounding from Hate
truth about racial terror—and offer a When her team faced racist harassment, this
path toward healing. middle school girls’ basketball coach helped

34 Segregation by Design
her players “rise up.”

Richard Rothstein talks about his book 56 And the Winners Are…
The Color of Law and the unsettling Meet the recipients of the 2018 Teaching
history of housing segregation. Tolerance Award for Excellence in Teaching.

Do you have a great idea for a project?
Don’t just think it—do it! Apply for a
Teaching Tolerance Educator Grant today.

FA L L 2 0 1 8 3

TT60 TOC Editorial.indd 3 8/24/18 11:33 AM


DIRECTOR Maureen B. Costello DESIGN DIRECTOR Russell Estes

DEPUTY DIRECTOR Adrienne van der Valk SENIOR DESIGNERS Michelle Leland, Scott Phillips, Kristina Turner
TEACHING AND LEARNING MANAGER Hoyt J. Phillips III DESIGNERS Shannon Anderson, Hillary Andrews, Cierra Brinson,
Sunny Paulk, Alex Trott
STAFF WRITER Coshandra Dillard
PROGRAM ASSOCIATE Gabriel A. Smith Catherine Alene, Joe Anderson, Todd Bigelow, David W. Blight, Dan Chung, Rob
PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT COORDINATOR Madison Snowden Dobi, Dandridge Floyd, Anne Hamersky, T. Elijah Hawkes, Peter Horvarth, Adrian
PROGRAM COORDINATOR Steffany Moyer Kraus, Robbie McClaran, Mary Kate McDevitt, Audra Melton, Bob Miller, Josh Moon,
TECHNICAL LEAD D. Scott McDaniel Kate Moross, Roman Muradov, Marina Muun, James O’Brien, James Paterson,
SCHOOL-BASED PROGRAMMING AND GRANTS MANAGER Jey Ehrenhalt Omar Ramos, K.L. Ricks, Richard Rothstein, Jack Shuler, Knikole Taylor, Marcin
MARKETING COORDINATOR Lindsey Shelton Wolski, Kelsey Wroten


Dale Allender, Lhisa Almashy, Julie Bradley, Hayley Breden, Kimberly Burkhalter, CO-FOUNDERS Morris Dees, Joseph J. Levin Jr.
Kevin Cordi, Kim Estelle, Carrie Gaffney, Soñia Galaviz, Barbie Garayúa-Tudryn, PRESIDENT & CEO J. Richard Cohen
Angela Hartman, Gail Heath, Michelle Higgins, Amber Makaiau, Amy Melik, Veronica OUTREACH DIRECTOR Lecia Brooks
Menefee, Henry Cody Miller, Amber Neal, Sarah Neely, Lois Parker-Hennion, David
Paschall, Celeste Payne, Kinette Richards, Joe Schmidt, Karen Schreiner, Kim Siar,
Scott Thomas, Frances Weaver, Christopher Widmaier, Leslie Wills-Taylor

SPLC BOARD OF DIRECTORS Karen Baynes-Dunning, Jocelyn Benson, Bryan Fair (Chair), Bennett Grau (Vice Chair), Pam Horowitz, Alan B. Howard, Marsha
Levick, Will Little, Howard Mandell, James McElroy, Lida Orzeck, Elden Rosenthal, James Rucker, Henry L. Solano, Ellen Sudow, Joseph J. Levin Jr. (Emeritus)

EDITORIAL OFFICE 400 Washington Avenue, Montgomery, AL 36104


Teaching Tolerance is mailed twice and released online three times a year at no charge to educators. It is published by the Southern Poverty
Law Center, a nonprofit legal and education organization. For permission to reprint articles, email us at
For media inquiries, email Ashley Levett at





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TT60 TOC Editorial.indd 4 8/27/18 3:49 PM

Perspectives “The main resistance to enslavement
was survival.”
— Hasan Kwame Jeffries

AT THE END of July, a group of students from his murder.

Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School came Our story about a girls’ basketball
through Montgomery on a regional March for team in Ohio reveals all too plainly
Our Lives tour. Before they left Florida, they how racial bias can bring out the worst
had visited every congressional district to talk in our young people.
with people about gun violence and to register And our story on the school-to-de-
voters. ¶ When we learned they’d be visiting portation pipeline points to the daily
the Civil Rights Memorial Center right across dangers immigrant students face—even
the street, Teaching Tolerance Deputy Director at school.
Adrienne van der Valk invited them to join us You’ll also find profiles of the five
for lunch. There was just one caveat: We wanted winners of the 2018 Teaching Tolerance
to ask them some questions. Listening to them, Award for Excellence in Teaching. This
hearing what they’d learned about advocacy summer, these amazing and inspiring
teachers visited us, along with our advi-
and how they were connected to youth among Baby Boomers and their elders, sory board.
activists across the country gave us all the turnout rate is about 70 percent. Professor Hasan Jeffries, chair of
a jolt of inspiration. We saw before us And getting young people to vote will the advisory board for Teaching Hard
an emerging generation that is diverse, have an impact beyond any one election. History: American Slavery, also joined
woke and ready to be heard. People who vote when they are first eligi- us this summer. He talked about teach-
They understand that marching ble are more likely to become what polit- ing the hard history that is founda-
isn’t enough, that policies and laws only ical scientists call habitual voters, people tional to our national story, noting that
change when people show up at the who vote at each and every opportunity. much of U.S. history is a series of lost
polls. And so they’ve organized, along With a mission to “prepare youth as opportunities (e.g., Reconstruction).
with students around the nation, to active participants in a diverse democ- He urged us to “teach the long history
register voters. It’s working: An analysis racy,” Teaching Tolerance is also hard of American repression, regression and
published in late July by the data firm at work to increase voter registration lost opportunities.”
TargetSmart reported a surge in regis- and turnout. That’s why we’ve teamed That’s hard and uncomfortable his-
tration rates among voters ages 18–29— up with Rock the Vote this fall on a set tory; many teachers worry it will disem-
not just in Florida, but across the coun- of Democracy Class lessons. It’s part power students and make them angry
try in states like Pennsylvania, New of our Voting and Voices project, the or ashamed. But, as Jeffries reminded
York, Virginia, Arizona and Nevada. aim of which is to activate young peo- us, we’re not teaching slavery if we’re
That’s important because, while ple to get out the vote in their cities and not teaching resistance to slavery. “You
Americans between the ages of 18 and 29 towns, no matter their party. cannot teach these things without
account for the largest population of eli- Voting is foundational for a healthy teaching African-American humanity
gible voters, voting participation among democracy, but it’s not a cure-all. After and resistance to oppression in slavery
this group is far below that of other gen- all, it’s possible (or likely, depending and freedom.”
erations. About an overlapping group of on where you live) that your candidate The hope, he told us, was in the
young voters, Pew Research Center says, will lose. And many problems can’t be resistance.
“Millennials have punched below their addressed by voting alone. This issue It reinforced to me that power
electoral weight” in recent years. U.S. highlights several of those problems. comes in many forms. Voting is one,
Census Bureau data show that only 46 Our story on Matthew Shepard resistance another. Young people need
percent of 18–29-year-olds turned out talks about the invisibility of violence to see them all.
to vote in the 2016 presidential election; against the LGBTQ community before —Maureen Costello

@Tolerance_org 5
FA L L 2 0 1 8

TT60 TOC Editorial.indd 5 8/27/18 3:50 PM

The 2018 midterm election
outcomes lie in the hands of OPTION.
young voters. Americans between
the ages of 18 and 29 account for the
largest population of eligible voters, giving
them the opportunity to choose officials
and policies that reflect their values and
aspirations. There has never been a more
critical time for youth to become involved in
the political process.

Launch your own voter registration This fall, the SPLC on Campus program is
campaign! Request a registration kit empowering and educating college students to
or download materials today. register their peers to vote with a new campaign: First We Register, Then We Vote!

TT60 SPLC on Campus Ad.indd 59 8/22/18 11:51 AM

Reader Reactions
We heard from veteran and pre-service
educators alike about “Why We Walked: A
Letter to Our Future Educators.”

The job of all involved in public edu-

cation is to deliver the highest quality
education ... in the best manner for stu-
dents and teachers alike. When admin-
istrators put up roadblocks ... mem-
bers of the profession must find a way
to let the administrators and the public
understand the problem.
Deb Hartogensis Godden

I am currently in a field placement with

a middle school English teacher and
together, we participated in the walk-
out in Denver last week. It was inspir-
ing to see how many teachers love their
students enough to stand up for them
that way! I can’t wait to be a teacher!
Shana Faulkner

Whether discovering older TT WORKSHOPS Editor’s note: We offer two women is racist. Imagine
resources or articles, trying The wonderful facilitators of workshops—Social Justice if you turned it around and
out our new podcast or film [the TT] workshops ... gave Teaching 101 and Facilitating referred to Black women by
kit, working on Teaching us words to use, connections Critical Conversations. Check a supposedly common name
Hard History or coming to that strengthen us, and the to see if we’re coming to a among the race.
meet us in person at a TT promise that this work is city near you. —Gary Rothstein
Workshop, our community uncomfortable, but so very workshops VIA FACEBOOK

had a lot to share with us! worth it. Now that I have the
Please keep the feedback language, the words (power), “BECKY” IS RACIST TEACHING HARD
coming our way! I am an agent of change. [On “Is There a #BBQBecky HISTORY PODCAST
—Missy McClure or #PermitPatty in Your I just listened to the
VIA EMAIL Classroom?”] If teaching first episode and it was
tolerance how about not extremely well-done and
using racist terms. Becky informative. I teach 8th
when used to describe white grade and just this episode

@Tolerance_org FA L L 2 0 1 8 7

TT60 First Bell.indd 7 8/21/18 1:13 PM

includes several tips for framework, but you don’t WHAT THE NUMBERS
teaching the material in go there. That is the prob- DON’T SHOW
class. Every teacher of U.S. lem with teaching slavery. Thank you for the very
history should listen to There were over seven thoughtful and uplifting Scott Thomas
this! ... I’m looking forward generations of unthink- article that counters the TT is a crucial resource
to continuing to refresh my narrative of two for all educators if
own knowledge so that I of our nation’s they wish to reach and
can more effectively teach favorite punch- teach all students in
about slavery in my classes. ing bags, Detroit a manner that values
Thank you for this import- and public edu- their identity, exam-
ant podcast! cation. I hope ine real issues facing
—MolW realistic depic- our nation and chil-
VIA ITUNES tions like these dren, and think criti-
continue, cally their role in this
Editor’s note: Listen to the instead of the world. In addition to
Teaching Hard History pod- caricatures we the publication and
cast here: unfortunately subscription to email
podcast. see so often. As updates, I recommend
a former Detroit Teaching Hard History
AN OUTRAGE public student, I and the Social Justice
Many thanks for the infor- was so happy to Standards. Teaching
mation on the newest doc- read this. the Movement is
umentary “An Outrage.” —Lara also excellent!
I have viewed this with VIA ONLINE VIA FACEBOOK
both Seniors in my govern-
ment class and students able cruelty perpetrated DIÁ DE LOS MUERTOS
in my U.S. History survey upon black people in this Loved the article, but have
class at Texas A&M-Corpus country, separation of fam- one suggestion to make. You
Christi. All were moved by ilies, women raised to be mention Día de los Muertos
the message and purpose of sex tools, men forbidden is celebrated in “Mexico and
the documentary. to love or made to see love Central and South America”; Have an opinion about something
—Ed Roeder as a weapon, people denied but then state only that you see in Teaching Tolerance
VIA EMAIL knowledge or the gener- Aztec rituals combined with magazine or on our website?
ation of knowledge, peo- Catholicism to create what Email us at
HARD HISTORY ISN’T ple raised to believe them- is celebrated today. That with the subject line “Letter to
HARD ENOUGH selves inferior and to is true, but for the coun- the Editor.” Or mail a letter to
You can’t teach slavery believe this was how god try of Mexico. Indigenous 400 Washington Ave.,
without teaching its cru- meant things to be. When cultures throughout the Montgomery, AL 36104.
elty. The materials you pro- you speak of slaves join- Americas had their way
vide give you more than ing the British army, first of honoring death, so in
enough information to tell what they were run- places like Central America
make this a part of your ning from. Mayan rituals combined DID YOU KNOW?
—Anonymous with Catholicism; likewise
VIA EMAIL in Peru, it was Incan ritu- Americans citizens in
als. It’s an important detail Guam, the U.S. Virgin
STELLAR to include because it shows Islands and Puerto Rico
that we in the Americas are are not allowed to vote
Monica @MissDalmia not a monolithic block, but for president unless they
I attended a Social Justice Teaching 101 Workshop. diverse cultures. move to the mainland.
... It was awe-inspiring to be in the presence of —Manuita – Public Radio International’s
such passionate and dedicated educators. VIA ONLINE COMMENT The World


TT60 First Bell.indd 8 8/27/18 3:53 PM

Ask Teaching Tolerance
they should do something
with their new knowledge.
Voting is one way to actively
participate in our diverse
democracy. So, challenge
students to consider what
they learned about why
people don’t vote. Then,
have them create plans that
will address ways to pro-
tect and strengthen voting
rights and increase voter
registration and partici-
pation. One student might
focus on how ID laws can
suppress voter turnout and
create a public education
initiative directed at pol-
icy leaders. Another stu-

dent might focus on the
movement to restore vot-
What are some strategies for working with students ing rights to those who were
who come to my class with ingrained political or are still incarcerated and
create a campaign to get
ideologies and misconceptions about U.S. history? their state to restore such
rights. The use of inquiry
and action planning will
Teachers usually figure when confronted with pri- I want to talk about voting allow students to engage in
out quickly that, when it mary sources such as “The in class, but I know that a dialogue and share as they
comes to students who Cornerstone Speech” by number of my students have feel comfortable, without
hold misconceptions, bom- Alexander Stephens or parents who are incarcer- putting anyone on the spot.
barding them with facts South Carolina’s declara- ated or who are ex-felons.
doesn’t work. Often, this tion for why it felt justified How should I handle it?
tactic backfires, result- to secede from the Union. Don’t shy away from bring- ASK TEACHING TOLERANCE!
ing in students reaffirm- A second way to engage ing relevant topics to the Need the kind of advice
ing their unsubstantiated students is to explicitly teach classroom because of stu- and expertise only Teaching
beliefs. There are two ways how to critically question a dents’ personal connec- Tolerance can provide? Email
a teacher could approach text. Move beyond the usual tions; these connections can us at with
this dynamic that will sup- who, what, when, where provide an even more pow- “Ask TT” in the subject line.
port all students. First, and why. Instead, ask stu- erful learning experience for
start with primary sources. dents to consider a couple all students. In this case, you
Providing a counternarra- of questions: Whose voice is can introduce voting rights
tive with primary sources being heard—or not heard— as a topic of inquiry. Have DID YOU KNOW?
not only supports aca- and how does this affect my students share what they
demic rigor but also pro- understanding of the issue? know and then research Unmarried white women
vides a powerful look into Who is the author, and what these questions: Who has and free black men who
the past from those who is their relationship to this the right to vote? Who owned a certain amount
lived it. For example, a stu- issue? These questions can doesn’t? Why don’t people of property were allowed
dent who espouses a “states’ help students more closely vote? Why do people lose to vote in New Jersey
rights” cause of the Civil analyze texts, especially the right to vote? between 1776 and 1807.
War has a much harder time more recent texts they might After students have –
explaining that reasoning encounter online. presented their findings,


TT60 First Bell.indd 9 8/27/18 3:55 PM


Check out
some of our most
talked-about posts.
Go to
and search for
these headlines:

When Trivia Isn’t Trivial


Teaching Consent
Doesn’t Have to
A R T I C L E 2 . 1 4 . 1 8 / / R I G H T S & A C T I V I S M , S L A V E R Y, R A C E & E T H N I C I T Y
Be Hard

‘All Our Terrible and Beautiful History’


Teach American History as a Human Story Let Día de los Muertos

Stand on Its Own
In America, our preferred, deep national narratives tend to teach our young that despite our q
problems in the past, we have been a nation of freedom-loving, inclusive people, accepting the
immigrant into the country of multi-ethnic diversity. Our diversity has made us strong; that “Families Are
cannot be denied. But that “composite nation,” as Frederick Douglass called it in the 1870s—a Such an Asset”
dream and not yet a reality—emerged from generations of what can best be called tyranny.
When one studies slavery long enough, in the words of the great scholar David Brion Davis, “we
come to realize that tyranny is a central theme of American history, that racial exploitation and
racial conflict have been part of the DNA of American culture.” Freedom and tyranny, wrapped
in the same historical bundle, feeding upon and making one another, created by the late 18th
century a remarkably original nation dedicated to Thomas Jefferson’s idea of the “truths” of
natural rights, popular sovereignty, the right of revolution, and human equality, but also built DID YOU KNOW?
as an edifice designed to protect and expand chattel slavery. Americans do not always like to
face the contradictions in their past, but in so many ways, we are our contradictions. In Lawrence v.
Texas (2003), the
Supreme Court
ruled that state
And a reader replied… sodomy laws—used
[Teaching Hard History is] something to share with any friends that teach social stud- to criminalize
ies or American History. Of interest to anyone who has an interest in slavery and race sexual encounters
relations, as well as the progressive development of this country. between same-sex
couples—are uncon-


TT60 First Bell.indd 10 8/21/18 1:13 PM

Why I Teach

Catherine Alene teaches language

arts at the Central Oregon
Intergovernmental Council’s
alternative high school in
Bend, Oregon.

When a Student Picks Up a Book

I was staying in a hotel. Not a nice on my dog to finish sniffing around His mother had gotten better at for-
hotel, just a hotel. The kind where the base of a tree, when I heard my getting how to cry. His brother wasn’t
the lamps are bolted to the bed- name. I knew the voice but couldn’t so quiet anymore. He’d learned to
side tables and the glasses beside place it. yell. Just like Dad.
the bathroom sink covered in plas- The shadow of a man bounded For this student, it had been meth
tic wrap ripped from the roll. It was down the stairs from the second that made ashes of his life, leaving
a hotel in a town where I’d lived not floor of the hotel. It wasn’t until he him here, in this hotel. He could stay
too long ago. I’d taught there and had stepped into the puddle of streetlamp as long as he cleaned the parking lot.
met kids with more and less than I’d light that I recognized him. This That’s what the manager said.
ever known. man had once been a boy who sat at a He bent down to stroke my dog’s
It was nearly 1 a.m. by the time I table at the back of my class—he and ears. “Do you remember that book?
pulled into the parking lot. I went his younger brother, always side by The first one we read?”
into the lobby and rang the buzzer to side in jeans three sizes too big that I did. We’d gotten a classroom set.
get a key to the room where dogs are hadn’t made the acquaintance of a Brand new for kids who swore they
allowed. That is who I was with: my washing machine even once. never read.
black Lab. He needed to go out. I was His life between then and now “I got sent to GED after you left. I
standing, admiring the moon, waiting hadn’t been good. His father still hit. could see the library from my desk.

SHARE YOUR Story What motivates you to get up each morning and serve students in our nation’s schools? We want to hear
from you. Send your 600-word submission for the “Why I Teach” column to


TT60 First Bell.indd 11 8/27/18 3:59 PM

One day, I just went in and checked ARTICLE 4.25.18 // RIGHTS & ACTIVISM
that book out. You know, the one
we read?” He smiled, embarrassed.
“I guess I didn’t really check it out.
Youth Voice and the Quiet
I kind of took it. I’ve still got it.
Sometimes I sit down and read it. Did Work of Teachers
you know it was the first book I ever
read all the way through?” He paused.
“I guess I should take it back. Do you I sat with myself and remembered why I do this work. It is not
think I should?” because I love the long hours or the emotional grappling I have to
“No,” I said. “Keep it. That book is do with students to get them to focus on the material when their
exactly where it should be.”
lives are falling apart outside of my classroom. And it is not entirely
Teaching is hard. Working with
alternative learners is even harder.
the realization that the events in Charlottesville and the emotional
I have been doing it for 10 years. breakdowns of my students are linked. The type of oppression
My students struggle with housing on public display there is the same type of systemic pressure that
and food insecurity, mental health causes students to enter my classroom so heavily burdened, though
issues and substance abuse. Given they may not be able to name it.
these challenges, I sometimes won- I am in this work because I am a teacher. I
der if what I do as a teacher matters. reminded myself that the manifestations of hate
What good will a book do a teen who like those we saw in Charlottesville—and those we
doesn’t know where they’re going continue to see in the workplace, in the media, and
to sleep?
in our own (increasingly gentrified) communities—
When I see former students, like
the one I reunited with in that park-
are really social illnesses. So I remember that I
ing lot, I am reminded of how import- choose to view my work as art, as a form of healing.
ant a positive classroom experience
is for our most vulnerable learners.
At school, they can take risks and
form connections. Seated at their
desk with a book in hand, they are And a reader replied…
more than the circumstances that This is the work of amazing, bold students who are inspired by the work
surround them. of their amazing, underpaid teachers who burn with passion for teach-
I know the barriers that life has ing and learning, and who recognize hope in tomorrow’s children!
placed in front of my students will not
disappear when they walk out of my
classroom. Their lives will continue
to be hard. My hope, however, is that
when they pick up a book, they will
remember what it felt like to succeed.



ICE, or U.S. Immigration and Cus- In Plyler v. Doe (1982), the Su- Incarcerated people are allowed to
toms Enforcement, was formed in preme Court ruled that it was vote in only two states—Maine
2003 in response to the 9/11 attacks unconstitutional to deny access to and Vermont.
as a part of the Homeland Security public education based on immi- – National Conference of State Legislatures
Act of 2002. gration status.
– U.S. Department of Homeland Security – American Immigration Council

12 T E AC H I N G TO L E R A N C E

TT60 First Bell.indd 12 8/27/18 3:59 PM

Down the Hall

As an instructional technology coor-
dinator at Life School, a K–12 char-
ter school just south of Dallas, Texas,
Knikole Taylor supports teachers as
they bring technology into their class-
rooms. Because she sees technology as
a tool for building community as well
as knowledge, Taylor approaches her
role as a combination of teacher advo-
cate, technology champion and educa-
tional coach.

As an instructional technology coordi-

nator, who do you work with and how?
I work with teachers and students
from K through 12th grade with all
things teaching and learning. … One
thing that we’re working on right
now is when we help teachers to use
technology to allow our students to
have a voice so that the things that
they do in their classrooms don’t die
in their classrooms.
Knikole Taylor is an instructional technology
In your experience, what’s the big- coordinator at Life School, serving Dallas and
gest obstacle teachers face when Ellis Counties in Texas.
they want to share their students’
work beyond the classroom?
I just always assume it’s a lack of
knowledge or lack of exposure. …
That’s one thing that I’ve noticed—
that when it comes to some of the been intentional on bringing a lot of online and there’s one that’s four hours
more innovative technology or the those things to our teachers so they away, … and on my way there, I thought,
exposure, a lot of those things in our can be exposed and then expose our “We have to have this.”
Dallas area happen in the north. … kids to them as well. We hosted our first one, I think,
[On the south side], the suburbs of about three years ago. ... The second-
Dallas where we teach predominantly One of the things you’ve worked on ary teachers were on the second floor,
brown and black children, teachers with teachers is Ed Camp, which works the elementary teachers were on the
are predominantly brown and black to build communities of educators. third floor, and we just allowed them
as well. A lot of those opportunities Can you explain a little about that? to just talk about the things that they
for learning and those areas or prac- About six years ago, I was in a place feel like they needed to talk about.
tices where companies will come— where I was just kind of going through After we had that Ed Camp, we
they’ll have it [on the north side of the the motions of an educator. Someone had two of our school districts offer
city], but it’s not necessarily on the on Twitter said, “Hey, you know, you help: a chance to have a student Ed
south side. So we’ve really worked and could go to this Ed Camp.” I looked Camp [for] early-college high school


TT60 First Bell.indd 13 8/22/18 12:36 PM


[students]. … It’s just that model of about the work you’re doing?
Lessons Learned allowing students to self-direct what I’m most passionate about helping
The lessons in our Digital they need and get it from each other. educators … to see the power and the
Literacy Framework are We’ve also had Ed Camps and used value of their own voice, and not wait-
grade-specific and address Ed Camp models for faculty meetings ing on someone to tell them what they
key areas in which students and professional development, so it need to know. We teach because we
need support developing digi- has really caught on. love students and we want to change
tal and civic literacy skills. Find students, but I feel like it’s deeper
the lessons at How do you use Twitter and than that. And I really think that
frameworks/digital-literacy. other innovative technologies to teachers can only find that when they
Choosing Reliable Sources strengthen your own practice? truly find their own style, and they
(Grades K–2) I just started to connect with other really connect with truly decent work
In order to verify trustworthy educators who were similar to me, and say, “This is what’s really import-
sources, children study the had some of the same goals and objec- ant to me and this is exactly what I
importance of locating and tives as far as education. And really, want, that’s important to be here.”
questioning online information. I called Twitter a place to kind of vet So that’s why my role as a coach
Understanding it out as well as connect with peo- is so important and so valuable—
Online Searches ple who were very different from me, because the average teacher says,
(Grades 3–5) to broaden our horizons and really “Hey, you know, I found this, but I
By learning about search algo- to learn from other people. And to don’t really know what it is” or “I
rithms, students will start to this day, that’s generally what I use don’t really think I can do it.” And I’m
understand how an online Twitter for. … like, “Oh, yes you can! Let’s do it!”
search works and how to criti- As a teacher coach, I’m quick to tell I think it’s really powerful when
cally evaluate search results. [teachers] when they ask me some- teachers make that shift from idly sit-
thing, “You know, I don’t know.” … ting by and waiting for someone else
Social Media for Social Action
(Grades 6–8) I’ve gone to Twitter so many times to to tell them what’s important to just
Students explore social activism say, “Hey guys. I don’t know this, but breaking down those walls and mak-
online and debate about the use- I have a teacher who needs assistance ing those connections on their own.
fulness of social media as a tool with this. Can you help?” Because then it’s reciprocal, and then
for genuine social change. I’ve met some amazing people. you see them get the same things for
Teaching Tolerance, I found out about their students, and that’s ultimately
How Fair Use Works you guys via Twitter, EduColor—a lot of what we want.
(Grades 9–12) things that have benefited my work as
After students discuss copy-
an educator of color and really helped
right laws and fair use, this les-
me to see my value as an educator. DOWN THE HALL
son allows them to create their
Know an excellent administrator, librarian
own projects demonstrating what
What do you wish that educators or counselor we should interview? Tell us all
these concepts mean.
knew or understood or believed about them at

With interviews from stu- The app We Read Too rec- Youth Radio is a non- The downloadable curric-
dent activists and allies ommends books written profit media company that ulum guides from Oregon
organized into easy-to-fol- by authors of color and is features youth-produced Humanities offer oppor-
These web resources support low FAQs, Youth in Front appropriate for students of journalism. Their site tunities for high school stu-
and supplement anti-bias encourages students to all ages. Users can browse includes a page of “story- dents to learn about social
education—at no cost! civic action. It provides the within categories, search telling resources for edu- justice in units like “Good
information students need for authors or titles, or rec- cators,” with lesson plans Hair: Exploring Identity and
to protest, organize, build ommend new titles for on topics such as podcast- Questioning Expectations”
alliances and work toward a review and inclusion. ing, interviewing and writ- and “Making Peace with
sustainable movement. ing a commentary. Chaos: The Realities of Refugee Experiences.”

14 T E AC H I N G TO L E R A N C E

TT60 First Bell.indd 14 8/21/18 1:14 PM


How Much Do You Visit our Voting and Voices Page!

TT has gathered our best election resources on our Voting and

Know About Voting in Voices webpage. Visit the page for election-year classroom and
professional development resources, information on our Voting

the United States? and Democracy Grants, and materials for helping students lead
voter registration drives!


FA L L 2 0 1 8

TT60 PD Cafe.indd 15 8/21/18 2:35 PM

Pop Quiz
1. True or False? The U.S. Constitution guarantees every
American citizen the right to vote.
2. What percentage of Americans report that they have never
been asked to register to vote?
A. 30 percent B. 45 percent C. 60 percent
3. In Ohio’s May 2018 primary elections, how many races were
tied or determined by one vote?
A. 4 B. 23 C. 59
4. True or False? A U.S. resident is more likely to be struck by
lightning than to commit voter ID fraud.

1. False. States are in charge of voting laws, and while constitutional amendments
tell states what they can’t do (deny the vote based on race, gender or age, for
example), nothing in the Constitution tells the states what they must do (make
sure all citizens can vote).
2. C. According to “Why Are Millions of Citizens Not Registered to Vote?” a
brief by the Pew Charitable Trusts, “more than 60 percent of adult citizens have
never been asked to register to vote, and the rate was nearly identical among
individuals who are and are not registered.”
3. C. The Ohio secretary of state reports that in 59 races and one local issue,
elections were either tied or decided by one vote.
4. True. In the Brennan Center for Justice’s report The Truth About Voter
Fraud, Justin Levitt writes, “It is more likely that an individual will be struck by
lightning than that he will impersonate another voter at the polls.”

 The Voting Rights Act of 1965
The Voting Rights Act of 1965 prohibited literacy tests
as a barrier to voting; empowered the U.S. Department
of Justice (DOJ) and federal courts to monitor problem
jurisdictions; and, most importantly, required jurisdictions
with a history of discrimination to receive federal approval
before they could make any changes in voting procedures
or requirements. These provisions stood—and were
strengthened by Congress—until 2013, when the Supreme
Court ruled in Shelby County v. Holder that it was no longer
necessary to require DOJ approval for changes to voting
procedures in these areas.
Disenfranchisement is the act of depriving someone
of the right to vote.
Gerrymandering is the practice of drawing districts with the
goal of producing a particular election result. Gerryman-
dered districts divide communities to weaken their voting
power and to protect the power of one political party.

16 T E AC H I N G TO L E R A N C E

TT60 PD Cafe.indd 16 8/21/18 2:36 PM

How Do You Talk About Voting With Your Students?
Step 1
There are many reasons that people don’t register or vote, and Step 3
understanding how your experience compares to that of others is Remind students of the importance of voter registration. In the
insightful on this front. Read through the “voting ease checklist” last five presidential elections, the difference between the two
below; the more statements that apply to you, the easier it is for main candidates was 2 percent in 2016, 4 percent in 2012, 7 per-
you to register and vote. cent in 2008, 2.5 percent in 2004 and 0.5 percent in 2000. If even
 I have been asked to register to vote. half of unregistered Americans had registered and voted, they
 My state has automatic voter registration. could have swayed the presidency for the last 20 years.
 My state has online voter registration. Work as a class to come up with counter-arguments to the three
 My state doesn’t require excessive documentation to or four most popular reasons why people might choose not to
register to vote. register or vote. (The “Five Myths About Voting” poster available in
 It was easy for my grandparents to vote in my state. this issue might offer some useful evidence for student arguments.)
 As a child, I accompanied my parent to vote.
Ask students to predict how the number of unregistered voters
 I have reliable transportation to my polling place.
and nonvoters in your community compares to the rest of the
 I’ve never been told I wasn’t on the voting rolls when I’ve gone to vote.
country. Do they think your community will meet, exceed or fall
 My state has same-day voter registration.
below national averages? Return to the checklist and to student
 I have never had to get an ID issued specifically for the
comments and discuss why they chose their answers.
purpose of voting.
 My state offers opportunities to vote early.
Step 4
 My state offers opportunities for absentee voting or voting by mail.
Assign students to conduct an informal poll. Outside of class,
 I voted in the first election in which I was eligible.
each student should poll five people they see regularly who are
 I can take time off work to vote.
over the age of 18, asking the following questions:
 I’m not disqualified from voting because of my citizenship status.
 I’m not disqualified from voting because I was convicted of a crime.  Are you registered to vote?
 Do you plan to vote?
Step 2  Why or why not?
Talk with students about voter registration and turnout. Explain  Why do you think people don’t vote?
that a majority of Americans probably won’t vote in November.
Share some key statistics: Around 40 percent of citizens don’t Step 5
vote in presidential elections. In midterm years, like 2018, that Tally the results of the student survey. Have students compare
number climbs closer to 60 percent. One in 5 Americans isn’t their findings to national averages (80 percent would answer “yes”
registered to vote. to question 1, 40 percent to question 2) and to your own class
Ask students to consider why people might choose not to register hypotheses about why people do or don’t register and vote.
or vote. Share the voting ease checklist with them. (If you’re Ask students to write letters to those people who aren’t registered
comfortable, you can share your answers, too.) Ask students what or aren’t planning to vote. In their letters, they can explain both
they’d add to the checklist: What are some other reasons people why people would be reluctant to vote and why voting is import-
might not register or vote? ant. Have them return to the adults they surveyed and give those
To better understand how state laws can affect voter registration adults a letter and a voter registration form.
and turnout, look with students at Rock the Vote’s “Voting Rights
in …” tool, which identifies each state as a “blocker,” “slacker” or
“leader” in voting rights based on 11 policy categories.

FA L L 2 0 1 8¥

TT60 PD Cafe.indd 17 8/27/18 4:01 PM

You can’t tell the story of the United States
without talking about lynching.




For decades following the Civil War, racial

terror reigned over the United States,
Download the accompanying viewer’s claiming thousands of black lives. Lynching—
guide for activities and lessons that support an extralegal system of social control—left
teaching about this difficult subject matter. in its wake a pain that still lingers. Help
your students understand how this terrible
legacy affects individuals, communities and


TT60 An Outrage Ad.indd 18 8/21/18 11:18 AM

The Book of Matthew
A Tribute to Matt Shepard, 20 Years Later

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TT60 The Book of Matthew - RESTES.indd 19 8/21/18 2:36 PM

chapter i

HOW M AT T the 5-foot-2 figure for a fallen scarecrow—did

Matt receive transport to a hospital; he arrived
there 21 hours after the attack. It took another
BEC A ME 43 hours for his parents to get to him from Saudi
Arabia, where they were living. Matt died three
days after their arrival.

M AT THE W Meanwhile, national media outlets descended on

Laramie. Any household that tuned in to the news
saw Matt’s cherubic face. In that face, some view-
ers saw themselves, vulnerable to attack. Others saw
I N T H E F I R S T H O U R O F O C T O B E R 7, 1 9 9 8 — their complicity and silence staring back at them.
as the windchill dipped into the 20s and clear skies Matt’s death marked a beginning. Two days later,
allowed the stars to break apart the darkness—this a vigil in Washington, D.C., drew thousands of peo-
much remained true: Most of the world had never ple. Lawmakers and celebrities spoke out, demand-
heard of Matt Shepard. And he was alone. ing better laws, an end to violence, and
The detail most often cited to underscore the "What he held in his an awareness that gay people not only
brutality of what he’d been through is the blood. heart was equity and exist but deserve to have their human-
According to the people who first saw Matt’s equality. Even on the ity respected. In the coming days and
unconscious body, his face was covered in it, his months, Matt’s funeral and his assail-
playground, playground
skin visible only in the tracks left by his tears. But ants’ trials garnered national atten-
bullies were what he
there’s another detail that truly illustrates how tion, thrusting opposing groups into
hated the most and he
much Matt endured: His own mother didn’t rec- the spotlight. Followers of Fred Phelps’s
ognize his face, but for the telltale bump on his left would try to arbitrate. Westboro Baptist Church protested both
ear and the blueness of his half-open eye, piercing ... He never understood Matt’s funeral and McKinney’s trial with
through bruise, blood and bandage. why people felt the need hateful signs, determined to depict Matt
As if he had wanted to see her one last time. to bully someone else." as a symbol of sin. At the trial, a group
Yet, by the first hour of October 12, 1998—as of Matt’s supporters—led by his friend
Matt Shepard died in his bed at Poudre Valley —Judy Shepard, mother Romaine Patterson—dressed as angels,
Hospital in Fort Collins, Colorado, having never of Matt Shepard and shielding the Shepard family from the
come out of his coma—something had changed: co-founder of the Matthew disturbing words and images.
People in every corner of the country had seen his Shepard Foundation In his statement to the court during
face. And he had become a catalyst. McKinney’s trial, Matt's father Dennis
The victim of a crime that demanded reaction. Shepard would later say, “Matt became a symbol,
Just after midnight on October 7, at the some say a martyr, putting a boy-next-door face
Fireside Lounge in Laramie, Wyoming, Aaron on hate crimes. That’s fine with me. Matt would
McKinney and Russell Henderson had offered be thrilled if his death would help others.”
Matt a ride. According to police and prosecutors, On December 1, 1998—what would have been
they lured Matt with the intent to rob him, per- Matt’s 22nd birthday—Judy and Dennis Shepard
haps by pretending to be gay. McKinney’s confes- incorporated the Matthew Shepard Foundation,
sion would later include repeated references to a nonprofit education and advocacy program that
Matt as a “queer”—as “that fag.” has worked tirelessly to champion better hate-
They took him east of Laramie. And they bru- crime laws and better reporting and investigation
tally beat him. According to the autopsy report, of them. It has since created a suite of resources
Matt suffered about 20 blows to the head from a for LGBTQ youth and inspired allies around the

.357 Magnum. His attackers tied his wrists to a world to take action.
crude wooden fence, took his shoes and wallet, Ever since, we’ve been reminded—even now,

and left him for dead. 20 years after his death—that Matthew Shepard
Matt held on as long as he could. Only after a changed the world. In some ways he never left; his
cyclist stumbled upon him—famously mistaking legacy lives on in the work carried out in his name.

20 T E AC H I N G TO L E R A N C E

TT60 The Book of Matthew - RESTES.indd 20 8/21/18 2:36 PM

chapter ii chapter iii


On a Wednesday night The wind left your lips,

they found you, Hopecrow,
tied to a two-post fence on a two-rutted road, and caressed cheeks
your straw-colored hair painted red. that should have been kissed:
Your body stuffed
with swallowed blood. I hope that
Billy Jack∞
Matt’s death cut deep. For the LGBTQ
Your body— Steen Fenrich∞
Fred Martinez∞ community, he was the worst that could
barely held together, Gwen Araujo∞ happen to them. For parents, he was the
so broken and still Sakia Gunn∞ all-American son they could have—or
Scotty Joe Weaver∞
the passing cyclist should have—loved. For homophobes, he
struggling through deep sand Lawrence King∞
Angie Zapata∞ was their worst fear: a
nearly mistook you for
an effigy. Paige Clay∞ sympathetic figure. They
Giovanni Melton∞ "A profound sense
But you drew breath, all attached themselves
and her of injustice for Matt
and kept the birds at bay. to Matt and helped cre-
and him is, I think, what
I wonder if you held on to life and them ate the man we know
so you could breathe it into the wind. and them drives [Judy and as Matthew Shepard: a
That wind that connects and them∞ Dennis], because symbol, a martyr, a cat-
all of the “funny” children, breathed in the love they are acutely alyst for a cause.
the “beat-of-their-own-drum” children. you whispered into the wind
before breathing out life, aware of how bright Before Matt’s death,
The wind we breathe in at birth and passing it on. he was, [and] what violence against LGBTQ
and exhale in the exact moment people—when it wasn’t
his ambitions were
we are reminded what we are. Like a love note
in the areas of state-sanctioned—had
signed by those who hope
The wind that Rebecca Wight∞ felt on their name human rights and
largely gone under the
Dead Woman’s Hollow— is the last. radar. The AIDS crisis
civil rights, which he
before five bullets hurt her lover, had been dismissed by
before the seventh bullet hit her liver. And I dream that you all was very passionate
many people as a side
will rise again about. They feel like
The wind that cooled the concrete from the ashes effect of the gay “life-
on a summer night in Jackson Heights, of the UpStairs Lounge∞; they’re carrying out style.” With so little
where three skinheads brought a hammer that you will breathe again the work that he was pop-culture represen-
to a schoolyard; through Pulse’s∞ bullet holes; destined to do." tation, so little access
where Julio Rivera∞ took his last. your own heartbeat
restored, to unbiased informa-
The wind passed through Wyoming, and allowed to love— —Jason Marsden, tion and so little access
and held your name. untethered. executive director of to queer communities,
We still hear it when it soughs the Matthew Shepard it was easy in 1998 for
through the trees— Where there are no fences.
us children still standing Foundation LGBTQ people to feel—
in this forest where those trees ∞Google them.
and be—ignored.
fall, but don’t always Write their names in stone. A generation has
make noise. And trace them. passed since we lost Matt Shepard. We are
Hold the wind inside your hands. a world away from the world he knew. But

And embrace them.

violence against the queer community con-
tinues to occur. Many young LGBTQ people

still do not feel safe.

Tracking violence against LGBTQ peo-
ple then and now remains difficult. Before

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TT60 The Book of Matthew - RESTES.indd 21 8/21/18 2:36 PM

chapter iv
the landmark Shepard-Byrd Act of There is some evidence to suggest
2009, violence based on gender identity that the number of physical assaults
was not considered a hate crime. Due to
this, violence against transgender people
targeting LGBTQ kids at school has
decreased since Matt’s death. In 2001,
remained unrecorded. Even now, the vol- GLSEN’s National School Climate
untary system of reporting hate crimes to
the FBI is inadequate. The most recent
Survey found that more than 20 per-
cent of LGBTQ students had been phys- TO BRING
FBI data details hate crimes committed ically assaulted because of their sexual

in 2016. We know the 1,076 reported hate orientation. By the 2015 survey, the
crimes that targeted victims due to their figure was 13 percent. The portion of
sexual orientation—and the 124 crimes those students who said they felt unsafe
committed based on someone’s gender at school went from 68.6 percent to 57.6
identity—represented but a fraction of
the violence enacted against queer peo-
percent in that same time span.
But violence still looms over the lives
ple across the country. of many LGBTQ kids. A 2018 Human

Cynthia Deitle, a former FBI agent Rights Campaign report revealed that
and currently the Matthew Shepard more than 70 percent of LGBTQ stu-
Foundation’s programs and operations dents had heard verbal threats because
director, says that systems of account- of their identity; 3 in 10 experienced
ability are broken. physical threats. More than 1 in 10 had Discussing Matt’s story in your class-
“It’s lack of reporting; it’s count- been sexually attacked or raped. room can help non-LGBTQ students
ing too many things too many times; The Shepards know that these kids better empathize with the struggles
it’s not reporting when you should; it’s live in a reality that’s different from and strengths of their LGBTQ class-
misidentifying the biased motivation if Matt’s. But in the face of pushback mates. It can also help LGBTQ stu-
you’re the police officer,” she says. “It’s a against LGBTQ rights and acceptance, dents see themselves in your curric-

whole host of breaks in that circle that the Shepards also know that these kids ulum and learn about the resources
need to be fixed.” deserve better. available to them.

prologue and epilogue


DECEMBER 1, 1976 Matthew OCTOBER 7, 1998 Matt is brutally of Wyoming’s long-planned Gay DECEMBER 1, 1998 The Matthew
Wayne Shepard is born in beaten by Aaron McKinney and Awareness Week begins. S h e p a rd Fo u n d a t i o n i s
Casper, Wyoming. Russell Henderson, who leave incorporated.
OCTOBER 14, 1998 A vigil in Matt’s
him tied to a fence not long after
M AY 1 9 9 5 Matt graduates midnight. Matt isn’t discovered honor is held on Capitol Hill in APRIL 6, 1999 Russell Henderson
from the American School until 6 p.m.; he is admitted into Washington, D.C. It draws thou- pleads guilty to the murder and
in Switzerland, mere months a hospital sometime after 9 p.m., sands of people, including celeb- kidnapping of Matthew Shepard
after surviving a violent assault approximately 21 hours after his rities and lawmakers. Among the and is sentenced to two consec-
and rape during a school trip assailants had left him. speakers is an emotional Ellen utive life terms in prison.
to Morocco. DeGeneres, whose TV show had
“As an [FBI] agent that worked been canceled that April, less NOVEMBER 5, 1999 A day after
SUMMER 1998 Matt moves to these violations, I knew we had no than a year after she came out. Dennis Shepard delivers an
Laramie and enrolls at the jurisdiction to help them, and that emotional statement, Aaron
University of Wyoming after was quite crushing.” “I’m so pissed off. I can’t stop crying. McKinney is sentenced to two
brief stints at Catawba College ... This is what I was trying to stop. consecutive life sentences.

in North Carolina and Casper —Cynthia Deitle This is exactly why I did what I did.”
College in Wyoming. He chooses FEBRUARY 26, 2000 The
to study political science and OCTOBER 12, 1998 Matt suc- —Ellen DeGeneres Laramie Project—a play by
foreign relations. cumbs to his injuries, dying just Moisés Kaufman and mem-
after midnight. The University OCTOBER 16, 1998 Matt’s funeral bers of the Tectonic Theater
is held in Casper, Wyoming.

22 T E AC H I N G TO L E R A N C E

TT60 The Book of Matthew - RESTES.indd 22 8/21/18 2:36 PM

Here’s how you can do it: and hate crimes, allowing for a broader
1. Matthew Shepard Foundation discussion about Matt’s influence.
The Matthew Shepard Foundation 4. October Mourning
offers several opportunities for schools On October 12, 1998—the day Matt
and educators to take advantage of its died—author Lesléa Newman arrived in
expertise and resources. These range post-show conversations via Skype. Laramie, where she was scheduled to be
from affordable speaking engagements English students can explore such the keynote speaker for the University
to its guide Commemorating the Life of themes as who gets to tell this story, who of Wyoming’s Gay Awareness Week.
Matthew Shepard: Supporting LGBT is notably absent, and the relationship Matt’s murder inspired her to write
Students, which includes lessons and between place and perspective. History October Mourning: A Song for Matthew
discussion guides for telling Matt’s story. students can place the story within the Shepard, a book of 68 connected poems
The team also offers to video conference context of hate crimes and civil rights about Matt, the circumstances of his
with classrooms for Q&As or discussions. martyrs throughout U.S. history. death and its impact. The poems are for
young readers, and the book’s appendi-
2. The Laramie Project 3. Matt Shepard Is a Friend of Mine ces include explanations of the differ-
Bring The Laramie Project, one of the Educators can stream or show Matt ent poetic forms used and additional
nation’s most-performed plays, to Shepard Is a Friend of Mine, a docu- resources to guide students.
your school’s stage or to your English mentary by Matt’s close friend Michele
and history classrooms. The Matthew Josue. The film not only provides a Collins is the senior writer for
Shepard Foundation provides supple- nuanced, empathy-inspiring biogra- Teaching Tolerance.
mental resources, including photog- phy of Matt but also situates his death
raphy, video, historical context and within the history of LGBTQ history

“There’s a generation of advocates and activists that I don’t know would have gone down that path, had they not witnessed
what happened to Matt. ... Those people are now in the corporate world. They are educators. They are parents themselves.

... Those folks are now the influencers. Change is coming, and Matt opened the door. Matt’s story opened the door.”
—Judy Shepard

Project—premieres in Denver, Pittsburg, California—now bear OCTOBER 12, 2009 On the 11th against a protected class we had
Colorado. Based on interviews Matt’s name.) anniversary of Matt’s death, the otherwise denied for decades. ...
conducted in Laramie after script of The Laramie Project: Ten It’s never lost on me how power-
Matt’s murder, the play has since MARCH 27, 2001 The first Years Later premieres, with more ful Matt’s case was to so many
been performed for more than 30 attempt at hate crime legislation than 100 readings taking place people and how one set of par-
million people. that specifies sexual orientation across the United States and in ents could change the law in such
is sponsored by Massachusetts 14 different countries. a dramatic way.”
“The Laramie Project was trans- Senator Edward (Ted) Kennedy
formative to so many people who and fails in the U.S. Senate. OCTOBER 22, 2009 Congress —Cynthia Deitle
participated, either in the pro- passes the Matthew Shepard
JANUARY 10, 2002 The film ver- OCTOBER 4, 2013 Matt’s child-
duction or even as an audience and James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crimes
member.” sion of The Laramie Project pre- Prevention Act, an expansion hood friend Michele Josue
mieres at the Sundance Film of existing U.S. hate crime law. debuts her documentary Matt
—Judy Shepard Festival. Later featured on Among other things, the law Shepard Is a Friend of Mine. It
HBO, it receives four Emmy redefines hate crimes to include goes on to receive wide criti-
MARCH 30, 2000 Iowa Governor
nominations. those motivated by a victim’s cal acclaim and a 2016 Daytime
Tom Vilsack announces the Emmy Award.
Matthew Shepard Scholarship “I don’t think [recent gay rights sexual orientation, gender iden-
Program, annual full scholar- advances] would have happened tity or disability. MAY 13, 2015 The city council of

ships for LGBTQ high school in the way and in the pace that OCTOBER 28, 2009 President Laramie, Wyoming, passes an
seniors who’ll be attending Iowa they did without Matt’s story gal- Barack Obama signs the ordinance that prohibits employ-
state schools. (Scholarships vanizing so many hearts.” Shepard-Byrd Act into law. ment, housing and public-facility
a c ro ss t h e co u n t r y— f ro m discrimination based on sexual
Baruch College in New York —Jason Marsden “Right away, we had greater juris- orientation or gender identity.
City to Los Medanos College in diction to investigate hate crimes

Put this story into action! visit » FA L L 2 0 1 8 23

TT60 The Book of Matthew - RESTES.indd 23 8/27/18 4:03 PM

Teaching Tolerance

We’ve learned a lot in the last few years about what LGBTQ students need to thrive.
This excerpt from our brand-new guide offers insight into how even small policy
adjustments can make a big difference in the lives of queer and nonbinary students.


TO FEEL SAFE and to feel seen. To feel There is also much hope, but hope the unrealistic beauty standards fac-
valued and to feel capable of growth. requires action. For the LGBTQ stu- ing girls—can give way to a culture
These are simple concepts—basic pil- dents who go to school in a fully inclu- that values all students.
lars of student achievement and the sive environment—where both curricu- With our new guide Best Practices
results of good pedagogy. lum and schoolwide policies value their for Serving LGBTQ Students, we hope
For many LGBTQ students, these identities—we see more positive out- to help more schools adopt pedagogy
rights remain out of reach. comes. These students experience less and practices that can help all students
According to data from GLSEN—an harassment, feel more valued by school feel safe, seen and capable of success.
organization that provides resources, staff and face fewer barriers to success. Read this excerpt, download the full
research and advocacy in support We also know that an LGBTQ - guide and be a voice for change in your
of queer youth—more than half of inclusive school benefits al l stu- school this year!
LGBTQ students feel unsafe at school. dents. Seeing LGBTQ identities
Fewer than 25 percent of those stu- valued in the classroom, in the cur- Policy Checkup
dents see positive representations riculum and in day-to-day interac- Policies do not only reflect a school’s
of queer people in their classrooms; tions inspires empathy, understand- rules and expectations; they reflect
more than half hear negative remarks ing and respect. The overall school its priorities. Like a budget, a policy
about their sexuality or gender iden- climate is safer. The lessons on his- reveals just as much by what it leaves
tity from school staff. And due to these tory, literature and culture are more off the page. It’s time that more schools
and other circumstances, LGBTQ stu- complete. And the dangerous expec- put LGBTQ kids on the page—and in
dents are more likely to miss school, tations of performed gender roles— doing so, put LGBTQ kids in a position
experience homelessness and see their from the mask of suppressed emo- to feel safe in the classroom and the
grades suffer. tional expression placed on boys to bathroom, at prom and at practice.

24 T E AC H I N G TO L E R A N C E

TT60 LGBTQ Best Practices.indd 24 8/21/18 5:21 PM

School leaders who champion inclu-
sive policies set the tone for entire dis-
tricts and schools. But sometimes, edu-
cators don’t realize how policies that
sound standard or fair on the sur-
face can marginalize or discriminate
against LGBTQ students. The follow-
ing examples point to aspects of school
that can be tough for kids with queer
identities—and offer ways to both fol-
low the law and create more inclusive,
fairer policies.

Know Your Students’ Rights

Creating more inclusive policies begins
with an understanding of students’
basic rights, as determined by both
the law and educational best practices. w Students have a right to be free from Students from a local GSA participate in the Miami
These rights serve as the backbone to discrimination or harassment based on Beach, Florida, Ocean Drive Gay Pride Parade.
the policies that follow, and they arm religious views. Be it from a fellow stu-
school leaders with a legal and moral dent, teacher or school leader, LGBTQ
defense against backlash. All educa- students in public schools have the up for all student clubs, it must be
tors—and students themselves—should same rights as their peers. The right treated accordingly.
know that these rights are guaranteed to freedom from religious persecu-
to kids who attend public schools: tion extends to making sure students w LGBTQ students have a right to
can’t be denied equal access to safety attend proms, field trips and dances.
w No matter what sex a student was and opportunity due to someone else’s Students cannot be denied equal access
assigned at birth, they have a right religious beliefs. to school events or school learning
to express their gender as they wish. opportunities because of their identi-
While students must follow basic dress w Students have a right to express ties. Students also have the right to take
codes—e.g., no profanity or pornogra- LGBTQ pride. School officials can a same-gender date to school dances
phy on T-shirts—they cannot be forced restrict student freedom of expres- as long as their date satisfies all the
to align with gender-specific guide- sion only in certain circumstances. same requirements that apply to dif-
lines. If students have to wear a drape But if your school’s dress code allows ferent-gender dates, such as age limits.
or tuxedo for their senior portraits, the students to wear T-shirts with slo-
choice between those two styles of dress gans or pictures, it’s unlawful for your w Students have a right to access
is the student’s to make, regardless of school to ask a student to take off their facilities and opportunities that
assigned sex. The same is true of hair shirt just because it endorses LGBTQ match their gender identity. This
length, makeup, prom attire, jewelry, pride or makes a statement about one’s includes bathrooms, locker rooms and
footwear and so on. This even extends to LGBTQ identity. gender-specific activities.

non-tactile forms of expression, such as

mannerisms and voice. Gender-specific w Students have a right to form GSAs. w Students have a right to an educa-
guidelines based on a student’s assigned If your school permits other student tion free from harassment and to have
sex violate a student’s rights to freedom clubs, then it should allow students harassment treated seriously. Public
of expression. As long as one student can to form and publicize a Gay-Straight schools must address harassment or bul-
wear an outfit without breaking rules, so Alliance (GSA). As long as that GSA lying that targets LGBTQ students with
can another. complies with rules your school sets the same vigor and process they would

Download our brand-new Best Practices for Serving LGBTQ Students at FA L L 2 0 1 8 25

TT60 LGBTQ Best Practices.indd 25 8/21/18 5:22 PM

use in a case of harassment against any w Lays out a clear expectation that all percent endured physical assault.
other child. Ignoring harassment and incidents of bullying will be investi- Those who fear such harassment
bullying is a violation of Title IX. gated seriously. will often not go to the bathroom
at all, risking their physical health.
w LGBTQ students have a right to w Lays out a clear expectation that Meanwhile, intersex students are
privacy and, thus, a right not to be staff will intervene to stop all forms caught in the crosshairs of a debate
“outed.” Even if people within the of bullying and harassment, and will that forgets them entirely. Biological
school know about a student’s sexual report incidents when they occur. or birth certificate criteria might force
orientation or gender identity, educa- them to use facilities that do not cor-
tors cannot disclose a student’s private w Includes digital harassment within respond with their gender expression.
information without consent. Outing the scope of potential investigation Instead, school leaders can make
LGBTQ students has led to tragic, even and punishment, as students often face clear policy stating that students can
fatal consequences, and violates their the worst bullying from peers while use facilities that correspond with their
constitutional rights. online. According to GLSEN, nearly gender identity.
half of LGBTQ students face cyberbul- A common pushback educators may
w LGBTQ students have a right to be lying—a persistent threat that cannot hear from parents is, “I am (or my child
“out.” Educators can always ask stu- be ignored by schools just because it is) uncomfortable being in the bath-
dents to stop disruptive speech—in sometimes occurs “off school grounds.” room with a transgender student.” Be
the classroom during a lecture, for prepared to respond. Point out the dif-
instance. But schools cannot tell a w Makes it clear that students and ference between accommodation and
student not to talk about their sexual educators will be held responsible discrimination. If someone is uncom-
orientation or gender identity while for bullying behavior and protected fortable being in a shared space—
at school. from harassment. for whatever reason—give them the
Schools that successfully put these option of a more private facility. Just
rights into practice and policy provide Most importantly, these inclusive pol- remember that their discomfort isn’t
an environment where LGBTQ stu- icies must be known. A policy only has justifiable cause to force another stu-
dents can succeed, feel supported and an impact if it’s read. Make sure stu- dent to use a different bathroom or
have access to the same opportunities dents, educators and the school com- locker room. A gender-neutral or sin-
as their peers. munity not only have easy access to gle-stall bathroom can be made avail-
the anti-bullying policy, but that it’s able to any student—LGBTQ or not—
made visible to them from the begin- who desires more privacy. If such a
Anti-bullying/Harassment Policies ning of the year. This will help LGBTQ facility is available, make sure stu-
Research shows that LGBTQ students students feel safer and valued. And dents know they have the option. At
in schools with inclusive policies this will clearly articulate the expec- primary, public-use bathroom loca-
are less likely to experience harass- tations to all students and educators. tions, post a map that points to where
ment and more likely to advocate for students can find the single-stall or
themselves in the event that they do. gender-neutral bathroom.
Naming LGBTQ identities within the Bathroom and Locker Room Access
policy is therefore paramount in pro- Students should have access to bath- A comprehensive policy check-up
moting physical safety in your school. rooms, locker rooms and other gen- should also include evaluating the
An inclusive policy: der-specific spaces that best match inclusiveness of your school’s sports
their gender identity. Basing bath- policies, dress code and sex educa-
w Includes gender identity, gender room access on assigned sex can have tion curriculum. Learn more about
expression and sexual orientation (actual dangerous ramifications for students all these policies—and much more—
or perceived) as protected, immutable whose gender expression does not in the full version of our new Best
identities, alongside race, religion, eth- match their assigned sex. According Practices for Serving LGBTQ Students.
nicity, disability and so on. Unfortunately, to a survey from UCLA’s Williams
this isn’t possible in South Dakota (as of Institute, 68 percent of transgen-
2018), where naming protected groups in der people faced verbal harassment Collins is the senior writer f or
anti-bullying policies is illegal. while in the bathroom; nearly 10 Teaching Tolerance.

26 T E AC H I N G TO L E R A N C E
Sex? Sexual orientation? Gender identity? Gender expression? Learn the difference with
our downloadable classroom-friendly poster!

TT60 LGBTQ Best Practices.indd 26 8/27/18 4:08 PM

Meet two innovative educators who help students face their communities’ painful
histories and envision brighter futures.


When the Teaching Tolerance Educator

Grants program launched in 2017, we
wanted to support educators in embed-
ding anti-bias principles throughout
their schools, creating affirming school
climates and educating youth to thrive
in a diverse democracy.
An important aspect of this work
is meaningfully addressing the ways
in which racial injustice grounds
American history and our present.
This year, two educators who
received Teaching Tolerance Educator
Lee Circle in New Orleans, Louisiana, was home to a statue of Confederate General Robert E. Lee
Grants braved the topics of white until it was removed in May 2017. Amy Dickerson’s students suggested monuments to be erected
supremacy and racial injustice in their in Lee’s place as part of her Educator Grant-funded project.
classrooms and tied the roots of those
topics to the lived experiences of peo-
ple of color today.
While one class thought creatively to reimagine the public space of Lee presenting the information in an
about Confederate monuments in their Circle, where a statue of Robert E. Lee age-appropriate manner.
city, the other explored racism and priv- had been removed. “It was interesting for me to nav-
ilege in a thematically designed curric- But first she needed to provide his- igate through the material because
ulum. Both projects modeled the power torical context. Louisiana state stan- they are third-graders and haven’t been
of student voices to shift the narrative dards offered scarce guidance, with exposed to that history yet,” she recalls.
about race in the United States, and to no mention of slavery until fifth grade. “So we talked about how slavery began,
enact change in their communities with She decided to traverse the terrain what people thought about it, how and
curiosity, solidarity and strength. on her own, being careful not to shel- why the Civil War began, and important

ter her students from the truth while figures in the civil rights movement. I
New Orleans, Louisiana tried to tie it all together in a way that
When New Orleans Mayor Mitch made sense to them.”
Landrieu ordered the removal of four Educators can use their Teaching Dickerson did not dwell on the con-
Confederate monuments from his city Tolerance Grants to fund projects for troversy about Confederate monu-
in 2015, he announced a public pro- their classrooms, to start initiatives in ments, as the statues had already been
cess to determine their replacement. their schools and to embed anti-bias taken down. She instead focused on the
Amy Dickerson, a third-grade teacher programs throughout their school question of what should replace them.
at Homer A. Plessy Community School, districts. Awards range from $500 to This tactic, she says, helped build com-
wanted to give her students a voice in $10,000 and help students develop munity investment.
the decision. Two-thirds of Homer A. strong identities, honor diversity and Christina Kiel, mother of one of
Plessy students identify as people of think critically about injustice. Dickerson’s students, initially hesitated
color; 57 percent are African American. at the thought of discussing the topic at
Dickerson intended for her students Grants are awarded on a rolling basis. an early age. “When I first heard about
to write persuasive essays on how Visit it, I was excited,” she says, “but I was

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Orleans, a national school students flew Confederate flags
network of nonprofit from their trucks parked in front of
youth writing and school, no one commented.
publishing centers. Finn explains that overt racism has
Tutors from 826 con- occurred in Floyd, like when a white
ferenced with stu- teenager shouted, “White power!” at
dents about their an African-American student on school
ideas, research and grounds. Yet more common, she says,
writing. Students are the subtle racial tensions, which are
illustrated their pro- as persistent as they are insidious. “It’s
posed monuments, shoved down underneath,” she says.
mounting their “Kind of like the rest of our country.”
drawings on photo- To start a discussion about race in
graphs of the empty her community, she created a course
spaces where the called Courageous Conversations: A
Confederate mon- Course on Race, Racism and White
Students in Amy Dickerson’s third-grade class delight in seeing their uments once stood. Privilege and the Role of Creativity in
essays and drawings published in a book. The class’ selections Transformation. She implemented the
ranged from alliga- curriculum at Springhouse Community
also really nervous. I thought, ‘How tors, beignets and School, where she is the head of school
do you talk to third-graders about crawfish to artists, civil rights activ- and a teacher. The 99 percent white
Confederate monuments without ists and Solomon Northup, a free black micro-school (a modern equivalent of
indoctrinating them into your polit- man who famously wrote about being a one-room schoolhouse) serves stu-
ical views?’” Overall, however, Kiel abducted into slavery. Students pub- dents in grades 7–12.
supported the project. “There’s really lished their work in a book they titled Finn strove to cultivate a culture
no way of making this pretty,” she rec- Courageous Eccentric Diverse: New of discomfort from the outset. “If you
ollects. “You have to learn about it.” Monuments for New Orleans. want to be comfortable, things will
After visiting the sites where the Upon the book’s publication, stu- continue in the way that they have,”
monuments once stood, Dickerson led dents read their pieces at a community she told her students. “To be a citizen
her students in an open inquiry about brainstorming session for selecting new of this country who cares about every-
their symbolism. “This man was a gen- public monuments. One student wrote one in it, you’re going to have to take on
eral in the Confederacy,” Dickerson about local artist George Rodrigue some discomfort.”
told her students. “[H]ow does it make and presented the book to Rodrigue’s Finn’s students completed the
you feel to know people didn’t want widow, Wendy, when he spotted her in “Difficult Conversations” self-assess-
that taken down? That they wanted to attendance. “She looked at it, started ment in the Teaching Tolerance guide
continue to celebrate that person?” reading it, and she just started crying,” Let’s Talk! to initiate reflection. They
Students explored the complexities remembers Dickerson. “The student composed a list of their vulnerabili-
underlying the simplistic narrative of saw his impact. He saw that his words ties when it came to talking about race,
good and evil and concluded that no have power and meaning.” such as, “I’m overwhelmed by the com-
history is black and white. Instead, they plexity,” “I don’t have it all figured out”
determined that the past transpires in Floyd, Virginia and “I’m scared I might be racist.”
shades of gray. “[Confederate leaders] Jenny Finn lives in Floyd, Virginia, a Next, the class dove into a firsthand
might have done good things in other one-stoplight rural Appalachian town history lesson about white supremacy.
ways,” Dickerson’s students speculated. with 425 residents. After moving to With the help of the TT grant, they
Eventually the class decided that, while the area several years ago, she heard traveled to Charleston, South Carolina,
the men honored by Confederate mon- about black residents feeling unwel- where they visited the Slave Dwelling

uments may not have been wholly bad come. When numerous Confederate Project—a program that brings together

people, the monuments themselves monuments were being taken down historians, writers, educators and legis-
represented exclusionary ideals. in the region, for instance, the town lators to document and preserve dwell-
Students then considered how to circulated a petition to keep their ings of enslaved people. Students spent
inclusively represent New Orleans’ Confederate monument outside the the night in restored slave quarters on
identity. They worked with 826 New courthouse. Finn says when high the Magnolia Plantation and learned

28 T E AC H I N G TO L E R A N C E

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about the dwellings’ history from the
project’s founder, Joe McGill. Rather
predominantly African-American
Mt. Zion Christian Church in Floyd.
TT Grants
than engaging students in a simulation,
the project focused on remembering
Congregation members spoke about
being black in Floyd County and about
in Action!
the past and preserving these spaces. the town’s potential to overcome its Love Your Magic Conference
The class met with a historical scholar racial divide. One couple retold their Massachusetts educators orga-
at the Old Slave Mart Museum, a site experience as the first black members of nized a conference focused
on self-love, empowerment,
where enslaved people had once been the town’s rescue squad. When students self-advocacy and sisterhood
sold. They also met with Cleveland asked if they had encountered racism for black and brown girls.
Sellers, a survivor of the 1968 Orangeburg while entering people’s homes, they
Massacre—an act of police violence replied, “Honestly, there were a cou-
The Social Construction of
against segregation protesters. Students ple of times when we were coming into Normalcy
completed research projects related to a somebody’s house, and you’ve got peo- In Charleston, South Carolina,
site they had visited in Charleston. ple who are hurting and they’re asking third-graders and their fami-
With historical grounding in place, if there’s anybody white they can call.” lies read children’s books with
the class turned its attention to ally- “It gave the students pause,” recol- diverse characters and wrote
to each other about what was
ship. Finn emphasized the importance lects Kevin McNeil, the church’s pas- being perceived as “normal” in
tor. “For them it was the stories.
like, ‘ Wait a min-
ute.’ You hear about
Housing Injustice in NYC
things, you see them High schoolers worked with
in movies, but to professional photographers
have somebody sit- and journalists to investigate
ting there in front of local housing injustice, then
you—that makes it presented their findings at a
public symposium.
very real. It makes it
live in your moment.”
The conversation Humans at the Border
Student activists created a
series ended with a
photojournalism project to
community potluck. investigate the collision of pol-
“We had fellowship itics and culture at the U.S.-
together,” remembers Mexico border.
McNeil. “We experi-
enced a very spiritual Art for Dreamers
moment where peo- In Chicago, high school stu-
Jenny Finn’s Courageous Conversations students travel to Charleston, ple who would not dents created art to affirm
South Carolina, to visit the Old Slave Mart. normally be found immigrant, refugee and undoc-
umented students; sold their
together were sing-
work; and donated the pro-
of listening and standing beside—not in ing together, laughing together.” ceeds to a scholarship fund for
front of—those experiencing the effects Finn’s curriculum exemplifies her undocumented students.
of racism and white supremacy. “Can profound investment in mutual part-
we as white people develop the skills to nership. “Her commitment to the expo- Inclusive Playground
listen to people of color? To those who sure of truth is remarkable,” recalls A school in Arizona adapted its
are having a different experience in this project collaborator Shana Tucker. “It’s playground to be wheelchair-
country?” she asked her students. She infectious. Her integrity is transparent. accessible so that all students
led students in lessons about the pitfalls She brings all of that in when she asks, could enjoy it.

of colorblindness and “reverse racism,” ‘Will you participate in this with me?’

exploring people’s tendency to evoke That makes it very easy to say yes.” Read more about these
these notions to avoid honest discus- TT-funded projects at
sions about race and racism. Ehrenhalt is the school-based
The semester culminated with a programming and grants manager for
series of conversations hosted at the Teaching Tolerance.

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TT60 A Museum A Memorial A Message.indd 30 8/22/18 11:29 AM

A Museum. A Memorial. A Message.
Montgomery, Alabama, is home to two new attractions focused on the history of racial
terror. Share the lessons of the Legacy Museum and the National Memorial for
Peace and Justice with your students.  

THERE IS A LOOK OF REALIZATION, “It’s like for the first time in who were brutally killed there. It is vast
followed by one of shame and embar- their lives, it makes sense to them,” and overwhelming by design. As visi-
rassment, that Michelle Browder has Browder said of her tour customers. tors near the end, they are greeted with
come to expect. With her company, “We’ve had some pretty remarkable descriptions of the alleged “crimes”
More Than Tours, Browder leads visi- conversations with people from all that led to many of the recorded lynch-
tors through the most famous, and infa- over, and not just white people, who ings. It’s a poignant reminder that the
mous, civil rights sites in Montgomery, were realizing for the first time how seemingly endless columns include
Alabama. On her tours, she tells sto- these things tied together.” victims who were children, victims
ries that have been lost along the way. The two new attractions tell their who were denied due process and vic-
In March 2018, the Equal Justice stories in very different ways. The tims who were tortured and killed for
Initiative’s (EJI) National Memorial memorial, set on a hill a few blocks so-called transgressions as minor as
for Peace and Justice and their Legacy from downtown Montgomery, utilizes failing to call someone “sir.” EJI makes
Museum: From Enslavement to Mass a powerful, haunting silence to com- sure visitors walk away understanding
Incarceration became part of her tours. municate to visitors the prevalence of the size of the death toll and the scope

For the first time, many of her lynchings in the United States. Eight of the injustice.
customers—from Montgomery and hundred steel columns are suspended The museum, located in an
beyond—are learning how the sins of from the ceiling, each one labeled with 11,000-square foot warehouse in down-
the past play a big role in how we think the name of a U.S. county and etched town Montgomery, is a more tangible
about race in the present. with the names of the lynching victims experience. Hard history feels close.

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A sculpture commemorating the slave trade greets
visitors at the entrance of the National Memorial
for Peace and Justice.

The museum reclaims a space once

used to warehouse enslaved people, and
sits just a block away from what used
to be one of the largest ports for traf-
ficking them. Visitors encounter first-
hand accounts from enslaved people
depicted by actors. Then, they weave
through a timeline of artifacts and sta-
tistics that carefully spell out the roots
of white supremacy. Visitors see the
connections between white suprem-
acy and the many manifestations of
legal and extralegal racial terror that Browder estimated that she’s already It’s so bad that even the people who
have been used to uphold it (including personally taken more than 200 school- lived it are unaware of it.”
slavery, lynching and police violence). age children on tours that included EJI’s Browder said she has watched peo-
Toward the end of the exhibit, they memorial and museum. She has spoken ple of all ages and races leave the memo-
hear directly from incarcerated peo- to uneasy parents who were struggling rial or museum with tears streaming.
ple, picking up a phone as though noth- with how to prepare their kids for the “There’s just a lot of sadness, a lot
ing but a glass partition separates them. painful images and history they were of disbelief,” she said. “But it’s because
The exhibit is data-rich and highly about to encounter. it hit home for them, and they finally
educational. It is also an indictment “I always tell them to just focus on understood why a whole lot of things
of the way we typically learn about the where we are today and relate it to cur- are the way they are.”
United States’ history of racial injustice. rent events, like the child separations
To see the linear timeline on the muse- happening at the border,” Browder Tracing the History of Why Things
um’s guiding wall is to see a clear connec- said. “I haven’t had a young person yet Are the Way They Are
tion between past and present, but one who wasn’t very upset by what they’ve Founder Bryan Stevenson started
that is new for many visitors. The road seen with our immigration troubles. It’s his work at EJI as a lawyer defend-
from slavery to convict leasing to Jim much easier for them to draw the line ing inmates on death row—work that
Crow laws to the criminalization of black than most people realize. And it’s a way continues at EJI today. But he realized
people makes perfect sense in context, to make the experience real to them.” that the injustices he encountered day
and immediately exposes the miseduca- Browder has witnessed what hap- after day were, in his words, “symp-


tion that occurs when curricula leave out pens when that history isn’t properly toms of a larger disease.” Stevenson
what happened between Emancipation taught, or when it is purposefully hidden. recognized that his clients were often
and the civil rights movement. For example, she said a group of older, victims of an American tradition of
“One of the first things we wanted to white women—women who had lived in seeing human beings through the lens
do was just educate people who might Montgomery all of their lives and grew of racial difference. He recognized that
not have been exposed to this history,” up in the days of Jim Crow—recently progress would require more than
said Jonathan Kubakundimana, who signed up for a tour. She took them to people like him fighting for crimi-
helped develop a learning curriculum various “hidden” landmarks, such as nal justice reform; it would require a
that accompanies the museum and the back doors to notable Montgomery national reckoning that acknowledged
memorial experience. “We were very stores—the doors black citizens were the direct line between slavery and
focused on creating a new conscious- forced to use during segregation. injustices faced by black people today.
ness about this history and helping peo- “They were stunned,” Browder said. Teachers have the opportunity to
ple form a new relationship with it and “They just kept saying over and over, ‘I trace that history for students and
the world we currently live in.” had no idea.’ One lady said, ‘You know, to connect the past to the present. It
A number of student groups have I always saw my maid sitting in the doesn’t require a visit to the museum
been to the memorial and museum, and back of the kitchen eating alone, but it in Montgomery, but it does require
schools are starting to plan for trips this never dawned on me why.’ These sorts confronting dark and often forgotten
fall, developing their own curriculum of things weren’t in the history books or intentionally omitted periods in
plans and guidelines. in Alabama. This history wasn’t taught. U.S. history.

32 T E AC H I N G TO L E R A N C E

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Teaching about the history of racial
Schools, for example, rarely talk violence isn’t easy, but it’s necessary. same sort of racial anxiety and law-
about the forms of legal and extralegal Use these resources to bring the and-order justifications that occurred
themes of the Legacy Museum and
racialized social control that occurred National Memorial for Peace and
during Reconstruction. This cumula-
between the era of slavery and the pres- Justice into your classroom. tive history set the stage for our mod-
ent-day era of mass incarceration. EJI ern criminal justice system, which is
has received special attention for their Teaching the Legacy of Lynching in more likely to kill unarmed black sus-
work in documenting one of those the United States pects, more likely to charge and convict
forms: lynchings. Common Core-aligned lesson plans innocent black people, and more likely
based on the EJI reports Lynching in
Lynchings were violent enforcements America and Slavery in America
to use the death penalty against them.
of a social code that demanded black When Stevenson seeks justice for his
people treat their white neighbors with clients, he knows they have centuries of
reverence and subservience. Without An Outrage (includes viewer’s guide) history already stacked against them.
a trial or fair hearing, black people A 30-minute documentary introducing
accused of breaking laws or social codes viewers to the devastating impact of Bringing the Museum and Memorial
lynching on families and communities
were dragged away by lynch mobs to be
Into the Classroom
publicly tortured and killed. Victims Helping young people connect the his-
were frequently hung for all to see. Teaching Hard History torical mistreatment of black Americans
Photographs of lynchings show crowds A comprehensive framework for to today’s racial injustices is a particu-
with their necks craned, their faces teaching about white supremacy and lar focus for the EJI team. Their staff
upturned—the same posture visitors to American slavery worked with curriculum writers to
the memorial have to take to read the vic- develop detailed, Common Core-aligned
tims’ names on the suspended columns. Teaching The New Jim Crow
lesson plans to help teachers prepare
Because they were so public, lynch- Classroom lessons and readings about students for the history addressed by
ings were a form of racial terror. They the roots of mass incarceration, based the museum and the memorial (see
signaled to black and white peo- on the book by Michelle Alexander sidebar). With titles such as “Racial
ple alike that, while the 13th and 14th Terrorism and the Ideology of White
Amendments may have ended slavery Supremacy” and “Racial Terror and the
and granted black Americans citizen- Great Migration,” these lessons push
ship, nowhere in the South did black beyond a black-and-white history; they
people really have the rights to life and work to move students toward a deeper
liberty outlined in the Constitution. understanding of how these injustices
Lynchings made it clear that there were work in a system that was essentially a helped shape the criminal justice system
two codes of justice in the United States. perpetuation of slavery. This practice in the United States. Educators can sup-

Some could kill with impunity, while oth- continued into the 1930s. plement these lessons with EJI’s inter-
ers could be killed for imagined crimes. Even after convict leasing was even- active online timelines and maps.
In addition to lynching, the Legacy tually outlawed, Jim Crow laws were “Students in an ideal world would
Museum teaches its visitors about other firmly in place; black citizens were still know these things already and be able
ways black people have been criminal- denied basic rights and subjected to to recognize the through line,” said
ized throughout U.S. history. For exam- strict laws that often singled them out Kiara Boone, the deputy program man-
ple, the so-called “black codes” were for legal persecution. Those laws, along ager for EJI’s memorial and museum.
a series of laws passed after the Civil with segregation and a general mistreat- “We’re hoping this material could con-
War that applied only to black people. ment of black Americans by the coun- textualize these experiences in today’s
Including offenses such as failing to try’s law enforcement agencies, contin- world. This isn’t meant to be shameful
carry proof of employment or owning ued unabated until 1964 and the passage or hurtful. We’re talking about heal-
a weapon, these laws exploited a loop- of the Civil Rights Act. But the ingrained ing. We want young people in particu-
hole in the 13th Amendment—the out- biases and a chasm of mistrust that had lar to engage and come away with a bet-
lawing of slavery “except as punishment opened between black communities and ter understanding of the country they
of a crime”—to support the practice of law enforcement remained. live in.”
convict leasing. Those who violated Pushback against the civil rights
black codes were imprisoned and leased movement, the Reagan-era War on Moon is an award-winning columnist
as unpaid labor to private enterprises, Drugs and the Clinton-era “tough on and investigative reporter working in
including mines and plantations, to crime” policies all capitalized on the Montgomery, Alabama.

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34 T E AC H I N G TO L E R A N C E

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by Design
Our national understanding of segregation is incomplete unless we face the history
of residential redlining. Richard Rothstein, author of The Color of Law, explains why.


RICHARD ROTHSTEIN’S 2017 bestseller The Color of Law: A Forgotten History of How Our Government
Segregated America has captivated readers—and most certainly educators. Rothstein talked with Teaching
Tolerance about the history and endurance of racial and residential segregation, the inadequacy of how we
teach and learn about this topic, and our collective power to turn things around.

What does the phrase “Color of Law” mean, and I began this research because I understood that
why did you choose this as the title of your book? we could never solve the problems of American edu-
In the 1960s, when, for example, the police were cation, particularly the achievement gap between
enforcing segregation in Southern schools and col- African-American and white children, so long as we
leges, the phrase “operating under color of law” had segregated schools, because when you take chil-
was a very commonplace phrase that was used to dren with serious social and economic disadvantages
describe officials, government officials, who used and concentrate them in single schools, it’s impossible
their official positions to act in unconstitutional for those schools to produce students who, on average,
ways to violate civil rights. … achieve at high levels. So I came to believe and con-
It has other references as well. … The maps that cluded that racial segregation is the single biggest prob-
I described were color-coded. The book’s cover is a lem impeding school improvement in this country.
redlining map created by the Home Owners’ Loan In 2007, I read a Supreme Court case, with which
Corporation in the 1930s, a federal government you may be familiar. … It was a case in which the
agency that colored red the neighborhoods where Supreme Court looked at desegregation plans in both
African Americans lived, indicating these were Seattle, Washington, and Louisville, Kentucky. Both
neighborhoods that would be too high-risk for fed- districts had choice plans—very, very modest choice
eral mortgage guarantees. … plans. … So if you had, for example, in either Louisville
Of course, the theme of the book is that we have or Seattle, a school which was all white or mostly
de jure segregation, not de facto segregation. That white, and both a black and a white child applied for
is, it’s segregation that is imposed by government, by the last remaining place in that school, the black child
law. So those references came together. would be given some preference. To the Supreme
Court, it was a violation of the Constitution to take
What is the connection between housing segrega- race into account in a pupil assignment program.
tion and school segregation? Chief Justice John Roberts wrote the plurality
Schools are more segregated today than at any time opinion. He said the reason it was unconstitutional
in the last 45 years. The reason that they’re more was that the schools in Louisville and Seattle were
segregated is because the neighborhoods in which segregated because the neighborhoods in which they
they’re located are segregated. … were located were segregated. … Then he went on


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TT is developing a set of curricular
materials to accompany The Color of
Law. Stay tuned!
to say that neighborhoods in Louisville address the symptoms … but we never
and Seattle were segregated by accident, deal with the underlying cause of all of
because of … private choice and private that we face in this country … are the these problems, which is that we’ve cre-
prejudice and income differences and result of residential segregation that ated a segregated society.
demographic trends. Government had we’ve not attempted to address. We’ve
nothing to do with it. He said if gov- not attempted to address it because we’ve Can you explain the phrase “badges and
ernment had nothing to do with it, it’s deluded ourselves into thinking that it’s incidents of slavery” that you mention
a violation of the Constitution to take some kind of natural phenomenon. in the book? Why is it important, and
explicit action to remedy it. The achievement gap in schools is how might it be used today to upend
But I happened to remember a num- a direct result, as I’ve said before, of the racial caste system we still live with?
ber of cases ... of government involve- racial segregation. Disparate health I think it’s indisputable that the segre-
ment in residential racial segregation, outcomes for African Americans and gation that we have today is a legacy of
and decided to investigate whether this whites are the results of racial segre- slavery. It’s a legacy of second-class cit-
involvement was systematic, not sim- gation. It’s not that the better health izenship that emerged out of slavery in
ply occasional. That was the origin of outcomes of whites—their longer life violation of the 13th Amendment. The
the book. expectancies—are the result of segre- 13th Amendment emancipated slaves,
gation, but the shorter life expectancies but it had a second provision … that
One point your book drives home of African Americans who live in less- required Congress to implement this
effectively is that white policy mak- healthy neighborhoods certainly are. emancipation by enacting laws that
ers at every level of government went One of the most serious conse- would protect the civil rights of African
through considerable lengths to quences of residential segregation Americans. Very shortly after the 13th
enforce neighborhood segregation. is the way it reinforces our national Amendment was passed, Congress
How can educators explain this fact to racial polarization. … It’s hard to mobi- passed a law that prohibited housing
students or colleagues who reject the lize support for universal programs and discrimination. The Supreme Court in
concept of institutional racism? social programs because some people, the 1880s prohibited the enforcement
The facts speak for themselves. I am some whites—not all, but some—are not of that law.
not an educator, but it seems to me willing to support programs that they In 1968, almost 100 years later, the
that the best remedy for myths is facts, think help black people. This is all the Supreme Court recognized that it had
and I think that these facts should be result of the distance between African been wrong in the 1880s, that Congress
described not only to young people but Americans and whites that’s created by indeed had the authority under the 13th
to adults in as unpassionate a way as residential racial segregation. Amendment to ensure that African
possible. Just tell the facts, and I think Americans would be equal, not sec-
if we tell the facts unemotionally but Is there anything else you wanted ond-class, citizens. ... The term you’re
descriptively and realistically, I think to add about the effects on African talking about is not having the badges
people and students can come to the Americans? and incidents of slavery, which include
conclusion themselves that it was gov- A big one is … the police community vio- housing discrimination and the inabil-
ernment sponsorship that created this lence that we’ve recently seen expressed ity to participate fully as American cit-
racial segregation. … in places like Ferguson and Baltimore izens. It was the failure to fully imple-
Residential segregation is an and Milwaukee that only exists because ment the 13th Amendment … that led
unconstitutional creation of govern- of racial segregation. If we weren’t con- to the inequalities that we have today.
ment, a violation of civil rights that centrating the most disadvantaged
should be remedied. young men in neighborhoods where What makes you hopeful after doing all
they had little access to jobs and lit- of this research?
How did the segregationist hous- tle opportunity, these confrontations I’m hopeful because if we understand
ing practices you identify in the book wouldn’t exist, couldn’t exist. that residential segregation was cre-
affect white people in the short term The corruption of our police and ated purposely, by policy, then it’s eas-
and in the long term? criminal justice system is a direct result ier to understand and to have the kinds
I think we’re all affected by it, white of racial segregation, and yet even pro- of conversations necessary to develop
and black. I don’t think that white peo- gressive policymakers spend a lot of policies to remedy it. …
ple were affected more than African time trying to address only the symp- I am hopeful also because we do
Americans, certainly. Both were affected. toms, by reforming police and incarcer- have the very, very small beginnings
Today, the most serious social problems ation practices. Of course, we have to now of a new civil rights movement in

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this country. … The Black Lives Matter African Americans found themselves need a new civil rights movement that’s
movement has helped provoke it. We forced into segregated housing or seg- mobilized around an attack on residen-
have things going on like the removal regated neighborhoods.” You know, tial segregation. We abolished other
of statues throughout the South that they woke up one day, they looked out forms of segregation in the 20th cen-
commemorate slavery and the defend- the window and they said, “Hey we’re tury with a civil rights movement that
ers of slavery, and the reception to my in a segregated neighborhood.” was biracial. It included both blacks and
book has been quite surprising. It’s not That’s what we’re teaching our whites. It wasn’t just promoted by peo-
just my book. The [books of ] Ta-Nehisi young people! And if our young peo- ple who wanted to drink out of a water
Coates have gotten a wide readership. ple don’t learn this any better than my fountain. It was provoked by a national
Michelle Alexander’s book The New generation and your generation and movement of people who understood
Jim Crow helped to stimulate these the several generations between us … that this violation of civil rights was a
kinds of discussions. So have others, they’re going to be in as poor a position stain on our national character that was
like Bryan Stevenson’s Just Mercy, and to remedy it as we have. inconsistent with our self-conception
Matthew Desmond’s Evicted. as a constitutional democracy.
It’s not enough, obviously. We don’t
have, really, a civil rights movement to What would you say to people who feel
abolish residential segregation, similar that our country is already too far gone?
to the civil rights movements we had in You know, I’m older. I lived through the
the 1960s—and we need one, and I’m 1950s and ’60s. The improvements that
hoping it can develop—but we do have we made, the reforms that we made, were
the beginnings of it. Notwithstanding unimaginable before they happened.
the empowerment of white supremacy One of the first jobs I had was in the
that the president of the United States early to mid-1960s. I worked for the
has pursued, at the same time there is Chicago Urban League as a research
also a development of race conscious- assistant. My job was to help with a study
ness and awareness in this country, in which we tried to identify every poli-
an awareness of the legacies of slav- cymaking position in the corporate sec-
ery and of Jim Crow that we haven’t tor of Chicago. We identified 4,000 jobs
previously had. in the corporate sector of Chicago that
were executive positions of one kind or
What types of professional learning another. Of those 4,000 not a single one
experiences do educators need if they was held by an African American.
want to teach history thoroughly and Today, you could not have a corpo-
accurately? How do we, as a country generally, ration in the city of Chicago that did
They need a curriculum they can use. make this important for people who not have a diverse executive leader-
They need to be able to present these aren’t in the housing field or in educa- ship. It couldn’t exist. If you had told
facts to students. I will say that … the tion, who are just American citizens? people in the 1960s that the corporate
textbooks that we use to describe racial I think there are two things that are sector of Chicago would look today the
segregation all lie about it. necessary. One is that people need to way it does, they would tell you, “That
In the course of writing my book, learn the history so that they under- could never happen. We’d be happy
I examined the most popularly used stand that they, as American citizens, with one executive.”
textbooks everywhere in the coun- have an obligation as citizens to rem- So one of the benefits of being older
try. The most widely used textbook edy the violations of their Constitution. is you’ve seen things change that peo-
when I examined these was The We all implicitly accept the obligation, ple who haven’t seen changes find hard
Americans—1,200 pages. There was as American citizens, to enforce our to imagine, but the only limitation on
one paragraph in the textbook in that Constitution, and all Americans should what can happen is our lack of deter-
1,200 pages called “Discrimination learn about this so that we can accept mination to make it happen.
in the North”—not “Segregation” but this obligation, even if we are not per-
“Discrimination in the North.” sonally involved in it. Brown is the professional development
There was one sentence—and you But secondly, understanding alone is trainer and Bell is the senior editor for
can get the exact quote from my book— not going to make a difference. In addi- Teaching Tolerance.
but it’s something like “In the North, tion to understanding the history, we

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38 T E AC H I N G TO L E R A N C E

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What is White Privilege, Really?


So, What Is White Privilege?

White privilege is—perhaps most notably in this era of uncivil discourse—a con-
cept that has fallen victim to its own connotations. The two-word term packs a
double whammy that inspires pushback. 1) The word white creates discomfort
among those who are not used to being defined or described by their race. And 2)
the word privilege, especially for poor and rural white people, sounds like a word psychological—a subconscious advan-
that doesn’t belong to them—like a word that suggests they have never struggled. tage perpetuated by white people’s lack
This defensiveness derails the conversation, which means, unfortunately, that of awareness that they held this power.
defining white privilege must often begin with defining what it’s not. Otherwise, White privilege could be found in day-
only the choir listens; the people you actually want to reach check out. White priv- to-day transactions and in white peo-
ilege is not the suggestion that white people have never struggled. Many white ple’s ability to move through the pro-
people do not enjoy the privileges that come with relative affluence, such as food fessional and personal worlds with
security. Many do not experience the privileges that come with access, such as relative ease.
nearby hospitals. But some people of color continued
And white privilege is not the assumption that everything a white person has to insist that an element of white priv-
accomplished is unearned; most white people who have reached a high level of ilege included the aftereffects of con-
success worked extremely hard to get there. Instead, white privilege should be scious choices.
viewed as a built-in advantage, separate from one’s level of income or effort. The more complicated truth: White
Francis E. Kendall, author of Diversity in the Classroom and Understanding privilege is both unconsciously enjoyed
White Privilege: Creating Pathways to Authentic Relationships Across Race, comes and consciously perpetuated. It is both
close to giving us an encompassing definition: “having greater access to power and on the surface and deeply embedded
resources than people of color [in the same situation] do.” But in order to grasp into American life. It is a weightless
what this means, it’s also important to consider how the definition of white priv- knapsack—and a weapon.
ilege has changed over time. It depends on who’s carrying it.

White Privilege Through the Years White Privilege as the

In a thorough article, education researcher Jacob Bennett tracked the history of “Power of Normal”
the term. Before the Civil Rights Act of 1964, “white privilege” was less commonly Sometimes the examples used to make
used but generally referred to legal and systemic advantages given to white peo- white privilege visible to those who
ple by the United States, such as citizenship, the right to vote or the right to buy have it are also the examples least dam-
a house in the neighborhood of their choice. aging to people who lack it. But that
It was only after discrimination persisted for years after the Civil Rights Act of does not mean these examples do not
1964 that people like Peggy McIntosh began to view white privilege as being more matter or that they do no damage at all.

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These often-used examples include: This has negative effects for people interactions. In the experiment, peo-
The first-aid kit having “flesh- of color, who, without this privilege, ple of different racial and ethnic iden-
colored” Band-Aids that only match face the consequences of racial profil- tities tried to board public buses, tell-
the skin tone of white people. ing, stereotypes and lack of compassion ing the driver they didn’t have enough
The products white people need for their struggles. money to pay for the ride. Researchers
for their hair being in the aisle labeled In these scenarios, white privilege documented more than 1,500 attempts.
“hair care” rather than in a smaller, sep- includes the facts that: The results: 72 percent of white people
arate section of “ethnic hair products.” White people are less likely to be were allowed to stay on the bus. Only 36
The grocery store stocking a vari- followed, interrogated or searched by percent of black people were extended
ety of food options that reflect the cul- law enforcement because they look the same kindness.
tural traditions of most white people. “suspicious.” Just as people of color did nothing to
But the root of these problems is White people’s skin tone will not deserve this unequal treatment, white
often ignored. These types of examples be a reason people hesitate to trust people did not “earn” disproportion-
can be dismissed by white people who their credit or financial responsibility. ate access to compassion and fairness.
might say, “My hair is curly and requires If white people are accused of a They receive it as the byproduct of sys-
special product,” or “My family is from crime, they are less likely to be pre- temic racism and bias.
Poland, and it’s hard to find traditional sumed guilty, less likely to be sentenced And even if they are not aware of it
Polish food at the grocery store.” to death and more likely to be portrayed in their daily lives as they walk along
This may be true. But the reason even in a fair, nuanced manner by media out- the streets, this privilege is the result
these simple white privileges need to lets (see the #IfTheyGunnedMeDown of conscious choices made long ago and
be recognized is that the damage goes campaign). choices still being made today.
beyond the inconvenience of shopping The personal faults or missteps
for goods and services. These privileges of white people will likely not be used White Privilege as the “Power of
are symbolic of what we might call “the to later deny opportunities or compas- Accumulated Power”
power of normal.” If public spaces and sion to people who share their racial Perhaps the most important lesson
goods seem catered to one race and identity. about white privilege is the one that’s
segregate the needs of people of other This privilege is invisible to many taught the least.
races into special sections, that indicates white people because it seems reasonable The “power of normal” and the
something beneath the surface. that a person should be extended com- “power of the benefit of the doubt”
White people become more likely passion as they move through the world. are not just subconscious remnants of
to move through the world with an It seems logical that a person should have historical discrimination. They are the
expectation that their needs be readily the chance to prove themselves individ- purposeful results of racism, and they
met. People of color move through the ually before they are judged. It’s suppos- allow for the continuous re-creation of
world knowing their needs are on the edly an American ideal. inequality.
margins. Recognizing this means rec- But it’s a privilege often not granted to These powers would not exist if sys-
ognizing where gaps exist. people of color—with dire consequences. temic racism hadn’t come first. And
For example, programs like New York systemic racism cannot endure unless
White Privilege as the “Power of the City’s now-abandoned “Stop and Frisk” those powers still hold sway.
Benefit of the Doubt” policy target a disproportionate num- McIntosh asked herself an import-
The “power of normal” goes beyond the ber of black and Latinx people. People ant question that inspired her famous
local CVS. White people are also more of color are more likely to be arrested for essay, “White Privilege: Unpacking the
likely to see positive portrayals of peo- drug offenses despite using at a similar Invisible Knapsack”: “On a daily basis,
ple who look like them on the news, rate to white people. Some people do not what do I have that I didn’t earn?” Our
on TV shows and in movies. They are survive these stereotypes. In 2017, peo- work should include asking the two
more likely to be treated as individu- ple of color who were unarmed and not looming follow-up questions: Who built
als, rather than as representatives of attacking anyone were more likely to be that system? Who keeps it going?
(or exceptions to) a stereotyped racial killed by police. The answers to those questions could
identity. In other words, they are more A study conducted in Australia fill several books. But they produce exam-
often humanized and granted the bene- (which has its own hard history of sub- ples of white privilege that you won’t find
fit of the doubt. They are more likely to jugating black and Indigenous peo- in many broad explainer pieces.
receive compassion, to be granted indi- ple) perfectly illustrates how white For example, the ability to accumulate
vidual potential, to survive mistakes. privilege can manifest in day-to-day wealth has long been a white privilege—a

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privilege created by overt, systemic rac-
ism in both the public and private sec- White privilege is trickle down to less harmful versions
of white privilege. Wealth inequity con-
tors. In 2014, the Pew Research Center tributes to the “power of the benefit of
released a report that revealed the aver- both unconsciously the doubt” every time a white person is
age net worth of a white household was given a lower mortgage rate than a per-
$141,900; for black and Hispanic house-
holds, that dropped to $11,000 and
enjoyed and son of color with the same credit cre-
dentials. Wealth inequity reinforces
$13,700, respectively. The gap is huge,
and the great “equalizers” don’t narrow consciously the “power of normal” every time busi-
nesses assume their most profitable
it. Research from Brandeis University consumer base is the white base and
and Demos found that the racial wealth perpetuated. adjust their products accordingly.
gap is not closed when people of color And this example of white privilege
attend college, when they work full time
or when they spend less and save more.
It is both on the serves an important purpose: It re-cen-
ters the power of conscious choices in
The gap, instead, depends largely on
inheritance—wealth passed from one surface and the conversation about what white
privilege is.
generation to the next. And that wealth People can be ignorant about these
often comes in the form of inherited deeply embedded inequities, of course. According to the
homes. When white families are able Pew Research Center, only 46 percent
to accumulate wealth because of their
earning power or home value, they are
into American life. of white people say that they benefit
“a great deal” or “a fair amount” from
more likely to be able to support their advantages that society does not offer
children into early adulthood, help- to black people. But conscious choices
ing with expenses such as college edu- were and are made to uphold these
cation, first cars and first homes. The privileges. And this goes beyond loan
cycle continues. officers and lawmakers. Multiple sur-
This is a privilege denied to many veys have shown that many white peo-
families of color, a denial that started ple support the idea of racial equality
with the work of public leaders and targeted for subprime mortgages. And but are less supportive of policies that
property managers. After World War neighborhood diversity continues to could make it more possible, such as
II, when the G.I. Bill provided white correlate with low property values reparations, affirmative action or law
veterans with “a magic carpet to the across the United States. According to enforcement reform.
middle class,” racist zoning laws seg- the Century Foundation, one-fourth of In that way, white privilege is not
regated towns and cities with sizeable black Americans living in poverty live just the power to find what you need
populations of people of color—from in high-poverty neighborhoods; only in a convenience store or to move
Baltimore to Birmingham, from New 1 in 13 impoverished white Americans through the world without your race
York to St. Louis, from Louisville to lives in a high-poverty neighborhood. defining your interactions. It’s not just
Oklahoma City, to Chicago, to Austin, Why mention these issues in an arti- the subconscious comfort of seeing a
and in cities beyond and in between. cle defining white privilege? Because world that serves you as normal. It’s
These exclusionary zoning prac- the past and present context of wealth also the power to remain silent in the
tices evolved from city ordinances inequality serves as a perfect example face of racial inequity. It’s the power to
to redlining by the Federal Housing of white privilege. weigh the need for protest or confron-
Administration (which wouldn’t back If white privilege is “having greater tation against the discomfort or incon-
loans to black people or those who lived access to power and resources than venience of speaking up. It’s getting to
close to black people) to more insidious people of color [in the same situation] choose when and where you want to
techniques written into building codes. do,” then what is more exemplary than take a stand. It’s knowing that you and
The result: People of color weren’t the access to wealth, the access to your humanity are safe.
allowed to raise their children and neighborhoods, and the access to the And what a privilege that is.
invest their money in neighborhoods power to segregate cities, deny loans
with “high home values.” The cycle and perpetuate these systems? Collins is the senior writer for
continues today. Before the 2008 crash, This example of white privilege also Teaching Tolerance.
people of color were disproportionately illustrates how systemic inequities

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Zero-tolerance policies paired with police presence in schools can
push undocumented students into the criminal justice system
and, potentially, out of the country.


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the school-to-deportation pipeline with
zero-tolerance policies and the use of
SROs. In California, for example, a teen
who’d fled abuse in Mexico is at risk of
On a Saturday afternoon in Houston, Dennis having his green card application denied
because a teacher found a small amount
Rivera-Sarmiento crossed a stage donning a green of marijuana on him—a federal offense
on school premises. He was arrested by
graduation gown. The 19-year-old was proud of the SRO and given a ticket, which he
must report in special immigrant juve-
this moment—one he wasn’t sure would happen. nile status and green card applications.
In a smaller but growing num-
JUST MONTHS BEFORE, a scuffle with a through punitive discipline practices ber of instances, schools may be
classmate near Stephen F. Austin High that push them out of school, increasing directly involved. According to the
School threatened his future in the the likelihood they’ll come into contact American Civil Liberties Union
United States. Charged with assault, with the criminal justice system. The (ACLU) of Arizona, in 2013 a 15-year-
he was arrested by campus police, sent STPP disproportionately affects black old Arizona student was interrogated
to county jail, then held in three differ- and brown students and students with by school officials, then handed over
ent Texas immigration detention cen- disabilities. These students are also dis- to U.S. Immigration and Customs
ters, including one located more than ciplined more often and more harshly Enforcement (ICE) officials after being
an hour from his home. compared to their white and Asian accused of stealing school property.
He’d been bullied at school because counterparts, regardless of income Members of the coalition Organizing
he’s an undocumented immigrant, but he level, reinforcing the opportunity gap Network for Education (ONE Houston)
usually kept a cool head about it. On that for historically marginalized groups. have been pushing for alternatives to
fateful day in late January, he felt threat- Disciplinary protocols that involve policing in Houston schools and are
ened enough to respond to an attack. school resource officers (SROs), com- working to prevent other students from
He says the classmate repeatedly bined with stricter immigration enforce- experiencing what Rivera-Sarmiento is
shouted a racial slur before hurling ment, leave undocumented students in a going through.
a Gatorade bottle at him. Then she particularly vulnerable position. “If I think back on my adolescence,
walked toward him. He pushed her, An estimated 725,000 students in a fight was not something that would
knocking her to the ground. The stu- grades K–12 are undocumented, accord- end up with you getting arrested,” says
dent alleges Rivera-Sarmiento punched ing to the most recent Pew Research Catlin Goodrow, an educator and ONE A
her in the head, although he denies this. Center data. Some of these stu- Houston leader. “We really have t
He knew there would be fallout dents have stories like Rivera- criminalized a lot of adoles-
from the incident, so he reported to the Sarmiento’s. However, no School-to- cents and that’s much more
school’s office to explain what happened. one is certain how broad Prison Pipline serious for kids of color.”
A term describing how
T h i s i s t h e m o m e n t R i ve r a - the school-to-depor- Rivera-Sarmiento’s
students are criminalized
Sarmiento entered the school-to-de- tation pipeline is since through punitive discipline immigration attorney,
portation pipeline—a channel in which there are no quantita- practices that push them out Brandon Roché, became
undocumented students are subjected tive studies. Advocates of school and increase the concerned about the
likelihood they’ll enter the
to interacting with law enforcement suspect it happens more criminal justice system case because it comes
and subsequently funneled into the often than is reported. on the heels of the pas-
punitive immigration system. A dramatic increase in sage of SB4—a Texas law that
“At the beginning, I was feeling like school security measures since requires law enforcement agen-
everything was going to be OK for me,” the 1999 Columbine High School shoot- cies to cooperate with ICE.
he recounts. “But then when they told ing has multiplied young immigrants’ He said Rivera-Sarmiento’s deten-
me that they were going to detain me, vulnerability. In the intervening years, tion is the most direct case of the
I knew I was in trouble.” the number of SROs on K–12 campuses school-to-deportation pipeline
Rivera-Sarmiento’s experience is has increased by 50 percent, according he’s handled.
a direct result of the school-to-prison to a February 2018 Immigrant Legal “My first impression was, ‘It sounds
pipeline (STPP)—a phenomenon Resource Center report. like a compelling case,’” Roché says. “He is
in which students are criminalized Schools inadvertently participate in a kid who had a 3.4 GPA. He’d never been

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in any trouble at all in school. All of the million on police officers, but they’re is the same system that also dispropor-
teachers and counselors at school told spending a tiny fraction of that on tionately criminalizes our black students.
me right away he was a model student.” social workers, for extracurricular So, this isn’t simply an immigrant issue or
Rivera-Sarmiento’s peers were in his activities and college readiness. So, it’s a brown issue. This is very much an issue
corner as well. Hundreds of students really about what we have the will and for all our students of families of color.”
staged a walkout in protest of his deten- priorities to do.” Schools often strug-
tion. As of this writing, Rivera-Sarmiento gle to find balance. In the era of school The Uptick Of “Crimmigration”
is out on bond and awaits the ruling of an mass shootings, how do they protect In “School to Deportation Pipeline,”
immigration judge—a process that could students without doing harm? Laila Hlass, professor of practice at
take months or even years. “I think this has been a real chal- Tulane University School of Law, writes
Cortez Downey, a college success lenge lately because safety is on every- that gang affiliation accusations are
adviser at Austin High School, raised one’s mind after Parkland, after Santa “the next frontier in ‘crimmigration.’”
money for Rivera-Sarmiento’s legal Fe, and so people are talking about hav- This term was coined by legal
fees, penned an editorial for the local ing more armed officers in schools,” scholar Juliet Stumpf in 2006.
newspaper and spoke openly about his says Caroline Duble, a statewide “In part, it’s used to describe the way
dismay about Houston Independent engagement manager at ACLU of Texas that the immigration enforcement sys-
School District’s (HISD) proto- and ONE Houston leader. “We tem has, over the last 20 years, taken
cols regarding SROs. really need to open the con- on many aspects of the criminal justice
“There isn’t a defined versation about how, [for] system, so it’s become more and more
policy. That’s what the crimmigration students of marginalized punitive,” Hlass says.
problem is,” Downey A term describing how the identities … that might Undocumented students are
says. “There are no immigration enforcement make them feel less safe increasingly being accused of having
system has taken on
clear guidelines on what many aspects of the versus more safe.” ties to gangs, pushing them into the
resource officers are sup- criminal justice system HISD released a school-to-deportation pipeline. School
posed to do in these situa- statement addressing its incident reports often make their way
tions. What happens to this policy following Rivera- into federal immigration investigations,
student could set a precedent Sarmiento’s arrest, stating that helping to build deportation cases.
for what happens to the rest of our it “has not used district resources to Kyle Morishita, a Nevada-based
students. I felt that, whatever the conse- assist in deportation actions and we do immigration attorney, says this tar-
quences may have been for me helping not report students to ICE.” geting has been commonplace for some
the student, it was going to be worth it.” District officials contend that “stu- time, as federal officials work to address
dents are and will continue to be safe gang influence stemming from Central
Rethinking Discipline in our classrooms.” American countries.
A dvocates like ONE Houston’s However, some educators believe “But I think it gets a lot more atten-
Goodrow say SROs shouldn’t be the school failed Rivera-Sarmiento tion based on the president focusing
allowed to arrest students for minor because leaders didn’t explicitly con- on gangs and trying to portray a lot of
infractions and should provide a dif- sider how contact with SROs could immigrants as gang members,” he says.
ferent system for arrests that would harm undocumented students. “It just adds to the national hysteria.”
include family communication before “Although HISD itself may not be In the 1990s, Congress expanded
a student is removed from campus. cooperating with ICE, by handing them statutes that created more criminal
“We really have the know-how now over to Harris County Jail, HISD is put- grounds for deportation. Hlass says
with restorative justice and mood ting our students in a position where it incentivized large, for-profit deten-
behavioral support to make sure that they can interact with ICE and ulti- tion centers, mimicking the mass incar-
kids aren’t being arrested, but I think mately face deportation,” Downey says. ceration state. Today, more local law
that we really haven’t had the will,” “The very system that allows undocu- enforcement agencies collaborate with
Goodrow says. “HISD is spending $18 mented students to be handled this way immigration officials.

44 T E AC H I N G TO L E R A N C E

TT60 School to Deportation Pipeline.indd 44 8/22/18 11:04 AM

President Barack Obama made gangs defenses, any report from law enforce- activists say educators must explicitly
an immigration enforcement prior- ment is still a red flag to an immigra- support undocumented students.
ity during his administration. What tion judge. “If I believe that one of my students
seems to be new is the scale and willing- does not belong in this country, how
ness to use these allegations in immi- Looking Forward can I honestly say that I am going to
gration proceedings. Allegations are Roché says all options are on the table for give them the same level of care and
usually based on vague standards, such Rivera-Sarmiento, including seeking asy- support and level of education that I
as certain types and colors of clothing, lum. The government may grant asylum would give a student who is a United
tattoos, friends and family members. if there is a reasonable fear of persecution States citizen?” Downey asks. “My chal-
In 2017, the ACLU brought suit against in the immigrant’s home country due to lenge for educators is to question their
ICE for illegally detaining teenagers in race, religion, nationality, political opin- implicit bias.”
Long Island, New York. Officers claimed ion or membership in a particular social Work also continues for Rivera-
the teens were members of the gang group. The danger level is often higher in Sarmiento. He was accepted to at least
MS-13, but offered little evidence other Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador. three colleges and sets his eyes on the
than the youths’ appearance. Asylum applications from these coun- University of Houston-Downtown,
Immigration officials can consider tries, known as the Northern Triangle, where he hopes to study computer
almost anything in immigration court. have increased by more than 25 per- science. Whether he’ll be able to do
“That’s another issue of why people cent between 2016 and 2017, adding to a so depends on how judges view his
say school resource officers are diffi- growing backlog, and being granted asy- participation in the altercation with
cult to have,” Morishita says, “because lum on the basis of violent threat is quite his classmate.
if they simply write some type of allega- difficult if the threat comes from the pri- Days before his high school gradua-
tion that the person might be in a gang, vate sector, e.g., gang members or abu- tion, he reflected on how the public may
and it might be noted in that report, sive spouses. view him following local and national
that could come out in immigration While Rivera-Sarmiento is from the news reports about him.
court even if there’s no proof.” Northern Triangle and has been an ideal “I feel like they were saying things
Fighting gang affiliation allegations student, his character assessment won’t that made me look bad,” he says. “And
is difficult, especially if the allegations necessarily save him from deportation. not only me, but the people that come
are made in school. Immigrants usu- “Immigration-wise, they don’t care from other countries, just like me. I feel
ally aren’t aware they’ve been labeled about that,” Roché says. “They don’t like they were trying to make another
or included in a federal gang database, care if you’re a good person, if you’ve picture of me. But that is not the real me.
making it nearly impossible to prepare never been in trouble, at least nowa- I don’t think that I’m a bad person.”
witnesses and other defenses in court. days. With the current administration,
While extolling an undocumented it’s all irrelevant.” Dillard is a staff writer for Teaching
person’s moral character, community Meanwhile in Houston, the work con- Tolerance. Lauryn Mascareñaz contrib-
service and work history may be great tinues. Downey and other ONE Houston uted research for this story.

Implications of Increased “Crimmigration”

Dennis Rivera-Sarmiento’s case may also yield consequences for manifest in behaviors that might be misinterpreted as discipline
his mother and siblings, all of whom fled Honduras in 2013. He’s problems. American Psychological Association studies have shown
been advised that they could be on ICE’s radar. But the implications that immigrant youth, particularly those who enter the United
of policing in schools, layered with immigration enforcement and States as unaccompanied minors, have higher rates of anxiety,
hateful rhetoric targeting immigrants, affects far more than undoc- depression and post-traumatic stress disorder.
umented individuals. Viridiana Carrizales is co-founder and CEO of ImmSchools, an
“The anxiety goes beyond students who are just undocumented organization that provides resources and support to immigrant stu-
to students who have all kinds of identities that are currently being dents. As an immigrant from Mexico, she knows firsthand how the
marginalized,” says Catlin Goodrow, who has taught elementary and fear of deportation negatively affects these students.
middle school students. “I’ve had kids ask me, ‘Why does the presi- “Undocumented students experience so much pain, fear and so
dent hate me?’ So, kids who were born in the United States that might much trauma,” says Carrizales, who is now a U.S. citizen. “An edu-
be of Mexican heritage, they also feel like there’s a threat to them.” cator who does not have a relationship with their students is only
For students who are undocumented, related stress can going to see a kid who is misbehaving or disengaged.”

Put this story into action! visit » FA L L 2 0 1 8 45

TT60 School to Deportation Pipeline.indd 45 8/21/18 5:22 PM

Educators across the country are taking action when ICE raids happen in their
communities. Here’s how you can stand with undocumented students and families—
whether or not you live in a vulnerable community.


WHEN THEY WALKED into school on the morning of April a decade, but two months later ICE arrested 114 workers in
5, no one who worked at Russellville Elementary planned Ohio. We don’t know how many students, grieving or fright-
to be there past midnight. But after Immigrations and ened, missed school during that time.
Customs Enforcement (ICE) officers raided a nearby Here’s what we do know:
meat-packing plant in Bean Station, Tennessee, detain- Nationwide, 1 in 14 K–12 students have at least one
ing 97 of the town’s 30,000 residents, the educators of the undocumented parent.
county sprang into action. 5.9 million U.S. citizen children have an undocu-
The superintendent opened the school so families could mented family member.
wait for information about loved ones held nearby. Bus Around 725,000 students are undocumented.
drivers ensured kids had someone waiting at home when Educators are uniquely positioned to offer support to
they dropped off students. More than 120 teachers, staff immigrant students and families—support that’s needed
and administrators responded to a call from the Tennessee now more than ever in communities across the country. We
Immigrant and Refugee Rights Coalition. They moved talked to Dr. Julie Sugarman, a senior policy analyst at the
through the crowd, feeding children and comforting them Migration Policy Institute’s National Center on Immigrant
until word came down: The people who would be released Integration Policy, who reinforces the significance of this
already had been. Some families would have to go home with- work. “School is really such a central part of the community,”
out their loved ones. In the following days, more than 500 Sugarman explains. “If kids or families don’t feel like they’re
students reportedly missed school, a stark reminder of how welcomed, that can really affect the future of that child.”
the effects of a raid can ripple through a community. Here are five steps every educator in the United States
ICE announced last year that they planned to quadru- can take—along with extra recommendations for teachers
ple workplace raids in 2018, and it seems that they’re fol- serving communities with many undocumented families—
lowing through. The raid in Bean Station was the largest in to support some of our most vulnerable students.

46 T E AC H I N G TO L E R A N C E Put this story into action! visit »

TT60 This Is Not a Drill.indd 46 8/22/18 12:21 PM

Enroll in National Institutions Coming Out Day
of Action.
Every April, United We Dream’s National
Institutions Coming Out Day (NICOD) serves as
the culmination of a longer project supporting
undocumented students. When schools pledge
their participation, they commit to taking at least
one concrete step toward educating allies, build-
ing better support systems for undocumented stu- ACROSS THE COUNTRY
dents or advocating for systemic policy change. Let undocumented students know you stand
The NICOD toolkit provides practical recommen- with them.
dations for action—for example, devoting a sec- Be vocal about your support of undocumented
tion of the school website to resources for undoc- teachers, students and their families. This makes
umented students. it clear to those with undocumented or mixed-sta-
tus families that you are a safe person to talk to.
IN VULNERABLE COMMUNITIES Going public also models the value of upstanding
Teach immigrant rights. to students for whom immigration status isn’t a
Consider holding a teach-in featuring local immi- daily concern. Display signs with messages like
gration experts or using resources from the “Migration Is Beautiful” and “No Human Being
National Education Association (NEA). Distribute Is Illegal.” Show your support on social media with
“know your rights” cards—in English and home the #UnafraidEducator hashtag.
languages—that walk families through the steps In class, model allyship. Don’t ignore current
they should take during a raid. (The American Civil events or rhetoric about immigration, but be pre-
Liberties Union and the Immigrant Legal Resource pared to immediately address dehumanizing atti-
Center have ready-to-print documents you can tudes or language. Ensure that no one’s humanity
share.) Invite an immigration resource organiza- is ever up for debate in your classroom.
tion to lead school personnel in a workshop outlin-
ing protocols protecting undocumented students. IN VULNERABLE COMMUNITIES
Advocate for specific students and their families.
If your students or their families are detained, you
can support them publically by testifying at hear-
ings, offering interviews to local media or writing
letters of support. In Bean Station, for example,
teachers wrote to federal officials, asking them
to reconsider the deportation of students’ fam-
ily members. (See the accompanying toolkit for
sample letters.)

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school board and city council meetings.
Write editorials or letters to your local
newspaper, neighborhood association or
church bulletin. If you’re a citizen who’s
anxious about speaking out, consider ACROSS THE COUNTRY
what’s stopping you—and how those Join your voice with others.
fears compare to the consequences an Show up for undocumented students
undocumented person might face. and their families at protests or ral-
One of the most powerful ways to use lies. Start, circulate and sign petitions
your voice is to contact your elected offi- protesting deportations. Fundraise
cials when it’s time to ask them to sup- for organizations supporting undocu-
port or fight legislation affecting undoc- mented families. By doing so, you cre-
umented students and their families. ate a community of support—one that
is ready to respond should a crisis arise.
Offer financial support if you can. your school. Advocate for district policies safe-
Many nonprofit organizations support- Like hospitals and places of worship, guarding students.
ing immigrant communities, particu- schools are “sensitive” locations; ICE Lobby your school board to create
larly local ones, need financial support. generally doesn’t detain people in these a Safe Zone resolution to ensure all
The website Charity Navigator can help spaces. This policy could be changed, schools in your district have policies
you learn more about organizations however, and there have been reports of in place in the event of an ICE raid.
supporting immigrants and refugees. ICE enforcement actions in the imme- The National Immigration Law Center
diate vicinity of sensitive locations. offers helpful resources including key
IN VULNERABLE COMMUNITIES Now is the time to develop a procedure legal memos, talking points, FAQs and
Help organizations and activists build to follow if ICE does come. If you need model resolutions. Again, the NEA has
a rapid response team. a model, the NEA’s online sample Safe a sample Safe Zone Resolution you can
Designate a multilingual point person Zone Resolution includes one on its last adapt for your district.
to recruit and notify volunteers. Check page. After writing the plan and secur-
with students and families to ensure ing approval from your administration, Delacroix is the associate editor and Dillard
they have plans for guardianship and make sure all staff members—particu- is the staff writer for Teaching Tolerance.
child care in the event of a raid. Work larly those in the front office—know how
with local immigration advocacy organi- to respond if ICE officers want to see a
zations and pro bono immigration law- student’s records or detain a student.
yers so you know who you can call in an
emergency. (
can help you find local lawyers.) Include
religious and community leaders, social
workers and mental health workers.
Assess your team with a Community
Raid Preparedness Checklist from the
National Immigration Law Center.


Mobilize your privilege to speak up for
undocumented people.
Advocate for undocumented people at
faculty, PTA, neighborhood association,

48 T E AC H I N G TO L E R A N C E

TT60 This Is Not a Drill.indd 48 8/27/18 4:19 PM

Closing the Diversity Gap
New research sheds light on how to inspire, recruit and retain teachers of color.

STACEY MCADOO WAS NEARLY IN TEARS, faculty can motivate students of color, speak English feels more welcome when
though she knew the move was for the and more recent work showing how it they are greeted by someone who speaks
best. She’d been excited to find her sev- benefits the whole school community. their language and can help them nav-
enth-grade English teacher, one of the Recently, the Brookings Institution igate the school,” she says. “It also pro-
few black teachers at her school, taking published a series of reports confirming vides the unexpected benefit of giving
an interest in her—noticing that she was the benefits of a diverse teaching staff parents and community members the
smart and motivated. But McAdoo needed for students of color. And a researcher at opportunity to interact with adults who
more advanced work; she was soon trans- Princeton University recently surveyed represent the diversity of the school,
ferred out of the class. “I was devastated,” more than 50,000 black and Hispanic which can help break down barriers.”
she says. “I hated having to leave.” students, finding those with teachers Even so, there is a sizable gap
“I can count on one hand the num- whose identities matched their own between the number of people of color
ber of black teachers I had in K–12,” “report significantly better experiences behind the teacher’s desk and those in
says McAdoo, now an award-winning than their non-matched peers.” front of it. About half of all U.S. students
teacher herself. “Every single one of Jayne Ellspermann, a veteran are white, but white people account for
them had a profound effect on me. They teacher and principal and former pres- four of every five teachers. This imbal-
had a way of seeing me like no others ident of the National Association of ance—what some researchers refer to
could. They made me feel brilliant and Secondary School Principals, explains as the “diversity gap”—is exacerbated
empowered.” Her experiences confirm how a diverse staff can increase family by a nationwide teacher shortage that
stacks of research produced over the last and community engagement in a school. tends to disproportionately affect com-
three decades exploring how a diverse “A parent, for instance, who doesn’t munities of color.

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TT60 Bridging the Diversity Gap.indd 49 8/22/18 11:25 AM

Patching the pipeline
can begin before
What Now? The Leaky Pipeline students even programs, like Teach for
Experts say that the diversity gap begins While it’s tempting to choose a college. America, produce a more
early, using the metaphor of a “leaky begin with teacher recruit- Organizations like diverse pool of applicants
pipeline”—the path through education, ment, research suggests Educators Rising than traditional pathways
recruitment, hiring and continued sup- that repairs to the pipe- promote teaching as to the classroom.
port—to explain how we begin with a line need to begin even ear- a viable and valuable But Partelow believes
diverse student body full of potential lier, with increased oppor- professional career teacher training programs
teachers but end up with a workforce tunities and support for path by promoting can do a better job recruit-
that’s overwhelmingly female and white. college students of color. education-focused ing and supporting teach-
Lisette Partelow, director of K–12 Constance Lindsay, an learning tools, ers of color, suggesting that
strategic initiatives at the Center for expert on teacher diver- conferences, micro- programs report on—and
American Progress and author of sev- sity at the Urban Institute, credentials, and be held publically account-
eral studies on the topic, says that focus- offers a statistic illustrating other meaningful able for—their efforts to
ing on hiring and supporting teachers the need for an early start. resources and recruit students of color.
of color isn’t enough. “District-level “Even if all black college opportunities for She says schools of educa-
hiring strategies alone won’t success- graduates became teach- students as early as tion need to be innovative
fully close the diversity gap,” she says, ers,” she says, “the num- high school. in their approaches, rec-
noting that the degree to which faculty ber of black teachers would ommending more face-to-
and student identity align varies widely only barely exceed the face recruitment efforts,
from region to region. number of white teachers.” more black and Latinx
Many of Partelow’s conclusions are Increasing the diversity of the aver- young people in recruiting and more
supported by a series of reports from the age graduating class may patch an early sophisticated prospect-tracking tools
Brookings Institution identifying “four point of weakness in the pipeline, but focused on students of color.
key moments along the teacher pipeline” it’s only the first step. Another cru- To invite a wider range of future
to address. Each represents a crossroad cial moment arrives when students or teachers into the field, she also pro-
for potential teachers: Will they com- graduates choose a career. Here, again, poses highly competitive scholarships,
plete college? Will they choose a career the potential workforce becomes less with money for living expenses. And
in teaching? Will they be hired? Will they diverse. Partelow doesn’t mince words: she recommends higher levels of com-
remain in the profession? At each point, “We are simply losing minority stu- pensation, along with other incentives
the pipeline leaks, and the pool of future dents in those college years at too high like paying off student loans. These
teachers becomes less diverse. “Making a rate,” she explains. programs would benefit all future
serious progress toward a teacher work- Lindsay suggests we look beyond teachers, of course, but they would also
force which is as diverse as the students t r a d i t i o n a l t r a i n i n g p r o g r a m s. make teaching a more viable option
it serves will require exceptionally ambi- Paraeducators, she notes, tend to be for some students of color. According
tious patches,” Brookings research- a more diverse group than teachers, to the Brookings Institution, student
ers write. “The path toward reaching and may have an interest in teach- debt for black college graduates is
a diverse teacher workforce is much ing but not the resources for a degree. $7,400 higher on average than for their
steeper than anyone has acknowledged.” And some alternative certification white classmates.

1. Build Investment. Will new hires be welcomed into 2. Recruit Deliberately. A

Ask these questions to build a com- a space that’s accessible to all and Instead of relying on job posts and P
Looking for munity that values diversity and respectful of difference? word of mouth (and attracting a
works to support it. How will building a more diverse candidates whose identities align p
Ways to Build
What constitutes diversity? team benefit our students and with those of current employees), P
Diversity? Consider a multitude of identities, community? Studies show the value recruit strategically. n
including but not limited to race, eth- of a diverse educational workforce. Share advertisements with T
Take these
nicity, religion, ability, gender, sexual Review these studies together and diverse networks. a
three steps.
orientation and veteran status. discuss practical ways that a com- Fraternities and sororities, veteran job c
How does our current culture sup- mitment to diversity will directly boards and professional associations d
BY DANDRIDGE FLOYD port diversity and inclusion? benefit your district and students. like Hispanic/Latino Professionals th

50 T E AC H I N G TO L E R A N C E Floyd is the assistant superintendent of human resources for Oakland Schools in Waterford, Michigan.

TT60 Bridging the Diversity Gap.indd 50 8/22/18 11:25 AM

“Improved pay will be most effective Montgomery County, Maryland, offer- experienced what I had and would have
as a recruitment lever for high-achieving, ing mentoring and support. Organizers something to share with me that would
diverse candidates,” Partelow explains, say that one reason teachers of color may be different. But, then, I also think we
“if it is coupled with the kinds of work- leave the profession is that they encoun- offer that to all the students.”
ing conditions that such candidates can ter problems their white colleagues don’t “There is this assumption that we
expect in other professional fields, such have to deal with. “Oftentimes the issues just inspire the black or Hispanic stu-
as high-quality onboarding or induction, they face are different and more difficult— dents,” he says. “I think my presence
relevant professional learning opportu- and they make staying in these import- has an impact on all the students. White
nities, opportunities to collaborate with ant positions challenging,” says Inger students get to see things from our
colleagues and opportunities to advance Swimpson, a leader of the BOND project. perspective. And maybe they believe
within the profession.” Swimpson notes that support pro- we offer them something different.”
grams need to consider the intersection Experts agree. Two years ago, research-
Later Leaks of identities. She offers the example of ers at NYU found that—regardless of
If districts have less control over early male teachers of color who, given the their own identities—students across
leaks in the pipeline, there are some demographics of the field, may feel par- the board had more favorable impres-
simple steps they can take while hir- ticularly isolated. Moreover, she says, sions of teachers of color.
ing teachers to increase the diver- they can be burdened with expecta- As McAdoo explains, some of the
sity of faculty (check out “Looking tions and responsibilities their peers benefits that a diverse faculty can offer
for Ways to Build Diversity?”). But don’t share. “They are often seen as to students are subtle. “Because we
Partelow’s research shows that, when the disciplinarian,” Swimpson says, have matriculated through an educa-
hiring teachers, 40 percent of districts “responsible for fixing every black and tional system anchored in white, mid-
consider “contribution to workforce Latino boy.” dle-class American values,” she says,
diversity minimally or not at all.” In 80 At times, the leaky pipeline feels “we understand the nuances of that
percent of districts, there are no spe- more like a feedback loop: The few culture juxtaposed against our own. We
cific supports geared toward inducting teachers of color who make it all the often are able to season the curriculum
teachers of color. way through are overworked, which with our own perspective and offer it up
The absence of support leads us is in part why so few teachers of color in a much more digestible way.”
to the last leak in the pipeline: reten- make it all the way through. Other benefits may be more obvi-
tion. While recruitment campaigns ous, but they’re no less important.
have been shown to double the num- Benefits for All “When a teacher of color flips the exist-
ber of teachers of color in schools, these When he was a student, Michael ing narrative, it can be very powerful,”
same teachers are also 24 percent more Williams, head of the history depart- Williams says.
likely than their white colleagues to ment at John F. Kennedy High School in McAdoo agrees. “Our mere presence
change careers. Wheaton, Maryland, shared McAdoo’s often debunks stereotypes.”
Some districts have taken steps to search for teachers who reflected his
address this issue. The Building Our identity. “I had one male black teacher Paterson is a Lewes, Delaware-based
Network of Diversity (BOND) project throughout school,” he says. “There was freelance writer who covers education
has worked with about 350 educators in a lot of comfort in knowing he may have for a number of national publications.

Association, IMDiversity, 3. Fight Bias During Screening including name, address, college(s) yourself,” try asking, “Tell us how
Professional Diversity Network and Interviewing. attended and graduation date. your experience has prepared
and HBCUConnect are all good You can counter even uncon- Build diverse teams for screen- you for this position.”
places to start. scious bias with training and ings and interviews. Keep interviews structured.
Partner with or recruit from alter- careful preparation. Create a team with varied iden- Using the same series of ques-
native certification programs. Acknowledge unconscious bias. tities and experience levels. tions in all interviews ensures
Teaching residency programs and Plan facilitated discussions and Audit questions for bias. that each candidate has an equal
alternative certification programs trainings to challenge it. Interview questions should not opportunity to demonstrate
b can provide access to a candi- Use blind screenings. provide information that could their competencies.
s date pool that is more diverse Remove nonessential data that bias interviewers. Instead of ask-
than the national average. can lead to biased assumptions, ing a candidate, “Tell us about

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52 T E AC H I N G TO L E R A N C E

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When members of this middle school basketball team
experienced bigotry and harassment, they had a choice:
Give up or rise up.


Eleven girls, each on one knee, in white uniforms in the shadow of a basketball hoop. Two other play-
ers and their coach are standing, hands over hearts. Some of the kneeling players also have their
hands on their hearts and look in the direction of the flag. Others look around at each other, seem-
ing confused. In the stands behind them, some people stand at attention; others look disengaged. ¶
Snap. A moment. A photo. ¶ But then, that photo gets shared on social media. The caption reads:
“Licking Heights 8th grade girls basketball team during the national anthem. Can’t believe this.” ¶
The comments were instantaneous:

“Let’s go to next game An smack their coach”

“Disgraceful little nappy headed hoes…shame on
that gutless school for not doing anything about it.”
“I hope you booed them”

Just like that, a middle school girls basketball team in central Ohio was caught up in their own Colin
Kaepernick moment—stories in local newspapers and Columbus-area TV stations spread the photo
across social media. Some local residents supported them, but the loudest voices came from those
who believed the girls were disrespectfully protesting the flag.

A Coach Speaks Out

Coach Sonya Glover, who comes from a mili- throughout the season, a quiet response to police
tary family, confronted the situation directly. brutality and the treatment of African Americans.
In an interview on a local television station, she She said she’d discussed the student’s decision
explained that the team captain had been kneeling to kneel with the player and her parents. And

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besides, Glover pointed out, her play-
ers—most of whom are also African
American—had faced hate speech from
“My mother’s middle
hecklers in the stands all season long.
But the photo that sparked the social school story and my
media storm had little to do with the
captain’s personal protest. At their last
home game, each player was presented
daughter’s middle
a rose before playing. Immediately
after, the announcer said, “Please stand
for the playing of our national anthem.”
school story should
Coach Glover didn’t have time to move
the team over to the bench before the not be the same.”
anthem began to play. There was some
confusion, and players started follow-
ing what their captain was doing with-
out understanding why.
“I noticed all of my girls started to
kneel and I looked over at them and I said ‘Planet of the Apes. His name was Caesar.’”
to them, ‘Those that are not understand- On another occasion, a white player was
ing why they’re kneeling should get up.’” called a “[n-word] lover.” Glover told her
Most of the students stood up. But the team to ignore them—to “shut them out.”
photo had already been taken and shared. district to reimagine itself, but acknowl- She worried about her team’s safety.
edges that they have work to do. After an argument broke out at one
A Population in Transition While the Licking Heights Local game, the girls were told they should
Licking Heights Local School District School District’s demographics are exit from the back of the school. At
is on the edge of mostly rural Licking changing quickly, its student athletes play another game, the opposing team’s
County and urban Franklin County against many schools where the popula- coach refused to shake Glover’s hand.
in central Ohio. Franklin is home to tion has remained relatively unchanged. As one player put it in an online
Columbus, a city experiencing booming Its athletic league is in Licking County, report about the season, “You will never
growth, and that growth is spreading which is about 93 percent white. know what we had to go through. You
outward. Last year, this school district Enter a basketball team that is pre- were never there during the games.”
was the fastest-growing in central Ohio. dominantly African American, coached And then, sometime in December,
Just outside the district, Amazon has by a dynamic African-American woman a Snapchat exchange between some
built a distribution center that employs and includes a student who takes a knee of Glover’s players and students who
more than 4,000, and Facebook has during the national anthem. apparently attended another school
announced a new data center squarely led to the cancellation of a game and
in the district. “Rise Up” the suspension of players from both
In 2011, according to district Glover says that, throughout the sea- schools. Students from the other school
Superintendent Dr. Philip Wagner, son, the team was heckled when play- wrote: “White power,” “[N-word] go
there were about 3,300 students in the ing at other schools. It started slowly. At home,” “KKK,” “6 [n-words] in a tree is
district. Today, there are nearly 4,400. one game folks in the stands shouted, a alabama wind chime” and “The KKK
Some corners of the state are losing “Caesar!” at players. Glover was confused. go burn your ass on a cross.”
people; central Ohio is becoming an “[The girls] were like, ‘Coach, the Things were bad; after the photo was
economic engine. talking ape. Caesar.’ I’m like, ‘What?’ posted they got worse. That’s when the
More people of color, including
recent immigrants from Somalia and
Bhutan, are moving to the area and Hate in schools is on the rise. How will your school respond if it happens in your
attending schools in a region that’s his- cafeteria, hallway or basketball court? Our publication Responding to Hate and
torically been majority white. Wagner Bias at School can help you plan for the worst and take the steps necessary to
sees these changes as a way for the prepare, prevent and protect.

54 T E AC H I N G TO L E R A N C E

TT60 Rebounding From Hate.indd 54 8/22/18 11:31 AM

Three sheriff’s deputies were conspicu-
ously present, but so was a large crowd
that had shown up to support the girls.
It was the epitome of what’s good
about sport—a close game between
two teams that love playing the game.
The Licking Heights girls won. They
shot from the field, playing hard and
aggressive; they picked each other up
when they fell.
They were also awkward at times, a
reminder that they are, in fact, middle
schoolers. And yet, unafraid and strong.
Coach Glover says this is what it may
have looked like from the stands, but
it was more complicated on the court
and on the bench. She and her players
had noticed those sheriff’s deputies.
assistant principal shared a song called It was stressful. “Your heart’s pound- Her players asked her, “Wait a minute,
“Rise Up” with Glover. “I hear this song ing. You’re hot. You’re sweating,” Currie Coach—are we OK?”
and I think of you and your girls,” she says. She’s relieved the season is over. The fear her girls felt rattled her as
told her. Currie is originally from mideast well, she says, and made her wonder
The discouraged team gathered Ohio. “My mom was one of the first about every person who entered the gym.
around their coach’s cellphone. They lis- black students integrated into a mid- This is not what Glover expected
tened, transfixed, as Andra Day crooned: dle school there, so my mother’s middle during her first season coaching this
“And I’ll rise up / I’ll rise like the day / I’ll school story and my daughter’s middle team. It has been an eye-opener, she
rise up / I’ll rise unafraid / I’ll rise up.” school story should not be the same.” says, coming in at a moment when
The team felt renewed, inspired, Torres and Currie are grateful for there’s such division in the United
ready to play again. the school’s guidance counselor and for States and encountering people who
Glover; both were invaluable to them feel emboldened to speak hate aloud.
The Fabric of the Community during the season. But they are even But throughout the season, she
Superintendent Wagner says the school more grateful for the team itself. says, she was proud of her players. “I’m
district has hired a diversity consultant. “There was never any divide,” Currie proud of the fact that at no point did we
The Licking County League is revising says. “They went through it all as a jump out of character.”
its sportsmanship guidelines and plans team. They stuck together as a team, Glover is looking forward to next
to do some interteam work next season. and they supported each other as a season. She’s excited about the group
There’s a consensus, he says, across the team.” In her estimation, they handled of seventh-graders moving up. They
district and in the athletic league that it better than most adults would have. ended the season with “Rise Up,”
there needs to be an intervention. “And they’ve shaken things up. I tell and she hopes to start the next with a
But he wants to be intentional about my daughter and the other girls on the new theme: “The Future Is Now.” She
what they do. “You can’t treat things team, I’m like, ‘You guys have no idea how admits she’s not just talking about bas-
like you’re checking a box,” he says. “It’s big of an impact you guys are having on ketball. She’s talking about America.
got to be interwoven into the fabric of the school by just being brave enough.’” “This group of young ladies, they are
the community.” the future. And so, the future is now.
Some of the players’ parents hope the The Future Is Now One, two, three,” she says, clapping her
events of the season serve as a wake-up On a cold day in February 2018, the hands. “The future is now!”
call for the district and the league. Licking Heights Middle School team
Rokeidra Currie and Santino Torres, who played their first game following the Shuler is a writer and associate professor
each have a daughter on the team, say social media storm. The girls walked of English at Denison University in Ohio.
they didn’t want to miss a game because out on the court wearing black shirts
they worried for their daughters’ safety. emblazoned with the words “Rise Up.”

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And the
Teaching Students at William Howard Taft High School
Meet the recipients of the 2018 to Recognize and Fight Systemic Inequality

Teaching Tolerance Award for Chicago, Illinois

Excellence in Teaching.
“I learned from Miss Almaraz that in order to
“IF WE’RE GOING TO SOLVE THE PROBLEMS OF THE create change, you have to analyze the root
WORLD,” former U.S. Poet Laureate Rita Dove is
problems of an issue.”
credited with saying, “we have to learn how to talk
to one another.” The teachers we celebrate here— “Teaching ethnic studies is so important, so vital
the recipients of the 2018 Teaching Tolerance in our society right now,” Mayra Almaraz explains.
Award for Excellence in Teaching—work every day “People want to be in these conversations.” In her
to create spaces where students learn how to talk 11th- and 12th-grade Latin American history and
to one another. They model ways to value iden- ethnic studies classes, Almaraz encourages her stu-
tity, diversity, justice and action in their classroom dents to look at systems “to understand why there’s
instruction and culture, and they’re guided by those inequality, why there’s discrimination, why some of
values in their work with families, communities and us have more privileges than others.” To support stu-
fellow educators. dents as they work to answer these questions, she
established the Issues to Action Social Justice Club.
Awarded biennially, the Award for Excellence in
Members work on projects educating, advocating
Teaching recognizes five classroom educators who
and protesting to address problems they’ve studied
help students develop positive identities, exhibit
in class.
empathy, consider different perspectives, think
critically about injustice and take informed action. In the club, as in her classes, Almaraz’s students
Our 2018 nominees were an impressive group, and examine their own experiences and learn about the
the winners inspired us with their dedication to— experiences of others. This is one of the goals around
and effectiveness in—creating spaces, curricula and which she’s built her curriculum and her classroom’s
communities where all students can thrive. culture. “I think something powerful happens when
you hear different stories,” she says. “Reconciliation
Because their exemplary practices and professional
begins with truth.”
accomplishments are too numerous to list, here’s
just a small sampling of the work that each of these
exceptional teachers is doing every day.

Delacroix is the associate editor for Teaching Tolerance.


TT60 And the Winners Are.indd 56 8/27/18 4:22 PM

Encouraging Students at The Workshop Starting Critical Conversations at Citizens
School to Solve Real-World Problems of the World Charter School Silver Lake

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania Los Angeles, California


“When I want to give up, I think of Miss “I would describe her as amazing.”
Coven and what she would say to me and
what she would do to help me figure it out.” In her fourth-grade classroom, Elizabeth Kleinrock
delights in watching students tackle critical topics.
It’s pretty difficult to play it cool in Rebecca Coven’s Kleinrock explains that her students are already
10th-grade English/language arts classroom. “All of thinking about ideas like racism, civil rights for
my students care really deeply about something,” LGBTQ people and privilege. “I think it’s very
she says, explaining that she sees her job as “help- important to have these conversations with chil-
ing them find what they care about and then translat- dren,” she explains, saying she ultimately wants them
ing that passion into action.” Providing students with all to understand that “somebody else’s differences
an “authentic audience” for their work, Coven shows don’t threaten or change your identity.”
them how they can use their voices to create change.
To ensure these conversations continue beyond her
For their mass incarceration project, for exam- class, Kleinrock pulls family voices into the class-
ple, Coven’s students spend eight weeks studying room. She began her class discussion on racism, for
the topic. The project concludes with the students example, by surveying students on their comfort lev-
leading a public, citywide symposium, bringing their els when talking about race—then revealing an online
class conversations to the broader community and form showing how their families had (anonymously)
encouraging others to take action. Erasing the line responded to the same question. And she plans
between schoolwork and “real-world work,” Coven activities, like a field trip to the Japanese American
says, helps students see “that the work they’re doing National Museum, where families can learn together
now and the work they’re producing now can actu- and practice working through their discomfort to
ally have an effect on their communities now.” discuss critical topics. After all, as Kleinrock says,
“There has been no problem in the history of our
world that has been solved by not talking about it.”

FA L L 2 0 1 8

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Developing Curricula for Peace Education Collaborating With Colleagues to Support
at Anacapa Middle School Students at The U School and Beyond

Ventura, California Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

“In her classroom, you feel safe and you “He taught me how important it is to accept
know you’re going to get the education my identity.”
you deserve.”
For Charlie McGeehan, a high school human-
Danna Lomax had been teaching middle school for ities teacher, the collaboration and shared growth
10 years when everything changed after she was that characterize his relationships with colleagues
asked an important question. “I thought I was at expand beyond his school. With the Teacher Action
the top of my game,” she explains, until an eighth- Group–Philadelphia (TAG) and the Caucus of
grader asked, “Miss Lomax, this whole year has been Working Educators (WE), last year McGeehan
about how we’re not supposed to treat each other. helped organize the Black Lives Matter Week of
When are you going to teach us how we are supposed Action—a Philadelphia event they’ve already begun
to treat each other?” preparing to take national this year.
As a result, Lomax says, “I changed my entire peda- He’s also joined with other educators from TAG and
gogical approach. I started creating units that deal WE to form and lead reading and discussion groups
with peace with ourselves, peace with each other and for white educators committed to anti-racist action.
peace with our planet.” Central to this work is the Ultimately, McGeehan explains, the understanding
“peace spectrum,” which places actions that isolate he and his colleagues share is simple: “It is our work
an individual at one end and those that build com- as white people to help other white people develop
munity at the other. In class, Lomax’s students use these habits and practices to really live out fully
it to analyze the choices made by literary or histor- anti-racist lives and that it is not the burden of peo-
ical figures—and to consider their own. Lomax has ple of color to educate us. ... We can challenge each
produced dozens of project-based units, which she other, and we can challenge ourselves.”
shares with other educators at conferences. The
curricula she’s designed are open-source and freely
available, and they’ve been taught in classrooms
across the United States and around the world.

58 T E AC H I N G TO L E R A N C E

TT60 And the Winners Are.indd 58 8/21/18 10:37 AM

staff picks

What We’re Reading

Teaching Tolerance loves to read! Check out a
few of our favorite books for diverse readers
and educators.

In her searing memoir, written with

Asha Bandele, Black Lives Matter co-
founder Patrisse Khan-Cullors invokes
“Unites the personal
communal love and political resistance
and political in honest
to jolt the public out of complacency
affirmation that ‘all our
and into awakening. With grace and
bones matter, that all the
vulnerability, she recounts in When
broken pieces of us some-
They Call You a Terrorist an upbringing
how make a whole.’”
–Jey Ehrenhalt
plagued by interlocking oppressions
and generational trauma, and illustrates
the gut-wrenching power of her
movement’s message: Black lives must
be recognized as worthy in this world.

Benny Doesn’t Like to Be Hugged, written by Zetta Elliott and

PROFESSIONAL illustrated by Purple Wong, tells the heartwarming story of
DEVELOPMENT friendship between a girl and a boy, Benny, who has autism.
Gender Diversity and Illuminating Benny’s neurological difference, which includes
LGBTQ Inclusion in
heightened sensitivities, this book encourages children to
K–12 Schools: A Guide
to Supporting Students, recognize and celebrate diversity, from race to disability. It also
Changing Lives edited by reinforces the importance of respect through the loving and
Sharon Verner Chappell, accommodating actions of peers and adults.
Karyl E. Ketchum and ELEMENTARY SCHOOL
Lisa Richardson
“This beautifully illustrated book captures an
environment that celebrates difference.”
Deep Dark Blue: A
–Coshandra Dillard
Memoir of Survival
by Polo Tate In this engaging and eye-opening YA read, we learn about the
institution of American slavery through the experiences of five
people enslaved by none other than four American presidents.
MIDDLE SCHOOL With In the Shadow of Liberty, Kenneth C. Davis manages to do
Forget Me Not two things really well. The first is to paint vivid portraits of human
by Ellie Terry
beings who lived under the yoke of slavery while also sketching the
big picture. The second is to explore the great contradiction of the
ELEMENTARY American story: that the men who eloquently shaped our ideals of
The Rooster Who freedom derived their comfort and their wealth from forced labor.
Would Not Be Quiet!
by Carmen Agra Deedy,
illustrated by Eugene “Recommended not only for tweens and teens. Adults
Yelchin will learn something too.”
–Maureen Costello

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TT60 Staff Picks.indd 59 8/22/18 11:43 AM

staff picks
“Put your thinking cap on
and add these must-know
thinkers to your reading list.”
— Monita K. Bell

“The kind of book that will

shape young people’s sense
of justice for years to come.”
— Cory Collins
“An inclusive story
that explores sexuality,
acceptance and love in an
“One of those books
age-appropriate way.”
that makes kids fall — Lindsey Shelton
in love with reading.”
— Julia Delacroix

Long Way Down is a collection of poems parents, sets out to find the perfect bride. But
that begs to be read in one sitting, describing not every prince wants to marry a princess.
one minute and seven seconds in the life of On his path to self-discovery, vibrantly and
15-year-old Will. That’s the time it takes him colorfully illustrated by Stevie Lewis, the prince
to ride an elevator down seven floors, and the battles a fire-breathing dragon with the help of
time it takes him to decide whether he wants a handsome knight—in shining armor, no less—
to kill the man who murdered his brother, and finds love in an unexpected place.
Shawn. In his bio, author Jason Reynolds says ELEMENTARY SCHOOL
he writes for “young people who are tired of
feeling invisible,” a dedication that shines Jewell Parker Rhodes’ poignant and poetic
through every page of this book. novel Ghost Boys features narrator Jerome
HIGH SCHOOL Rogers, a 12-year-old boy killed by police in
Chicago. Only in death can he freely explore his
When black women found themselves free city, meet the ghost of Emmett Till and meet
from slavery but still extremely vulnerable Sarah, the living daughter of the policeman
“Presents nuanced and disenfranchised in their black, female who killed him. Connecting past to present,
discussions of colorism, bodies, how did they add their voices to the novel shows readers the consequences of
class and justice all movements for justice and equality? With racial bias and illustrates the importance of
within an emotionally Beyond Respectability: The Intellectual listening to the ghost boys, silenced by death
gripping adventure.” Thought of Race Women, Brittney C. Cooper and misinformation. Until now.
— Gabriel A. Smith charts the journey of black women thinkers’ MIDDLE SCHOOL
meticulous and unorthodox cerebral work to
uplift their race and gender, from the post- Tomi Adeyemi’s debut novel, Children of Blood
slavery era through the 1970s. They made the and Bone, is set in Nigeria-inspired Orïsha.
personal political and intellectual—and formed Here, diviners, a race of magic bearers known
foundational social theories that predate for their darker skin, are treated like second-
such concepts as intersectionality. These class citizens after being stripped of their full
days especially, it’s time to take black women powers 11 years earlier. Zélie, a diviner herself,
seriously as knowledge producers. is chosen by her ancestors to restore magic
PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT and justice to Orïsha, but she’ll need all the
power she can muster—and the support of
Daniel Haack’s Prince & Knight tells the story friends—to succeed.

of a charming prince who, at the behest of his HIGH SCHOOL

60 T E AC H I N G TO L E R A N C E

TT60 Staff Picks.indd 60 8/22/18 11:44 AM


What We’re Watching Dim the lights and get ready to learn
with these TT-approved films!

Lou is a Pixar short about a trash-monster A project of The New York Times’ Retro took on his mental health in the final
that will steal your heart. Composed en- Report, Safe Haven: The Sanctuary years of his life. With a quiet elegance and
tirely of lost-and-found items, Lou feels Movement explores the roots of an interfaith historical acuity, the film explores King’s
a childlike, innate anger when witnessing movement built to protect refugees in the unshakeable commitment to nonviolence
injustice. So when one student begins 1980s. The short film profiles some of the as an immutable principle in the face of a
bullying his classmates at recess, Lou can’t original leaders of the sanctuary movement swiftly changing movement. (111 min.)
help but step (or, more accurately, tumble) and follows its 21st-century resurgence. As
in to help. Funny, sweet and lovely by turns, attacks on immigrants, refugees and their Available from HBO
the Oscar-nominated short offers a great families increase, places of worship and
way to start classroom conversations about cities across the United States are declaring king-in-the-wilderness
bullying, restorative justice, empathy and themselves sanctuary spaces. Safe Haven is HIGH SCHOOL AND PROFESSIONAL
friendship. (6 min.) an informative, in-depth story of compas- DEVELOPMENT
sion, resistance and struggle. (13 min.)*
Available for purchase on iTunes
We ask students to speak up when they
or Available from The New York Times
hear hate speech at school. But what about hate speech witnessed in digital spaces?
Countering Online Hate Speech, TT’s most
recent digital literacy video, offers the spe-
RBG documents the life and legacy In the new documentary King in the cialized skills and strategies students need
of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Wilderness, close friends of Martin Luther to interrupt and redirect online harassment.
Ginsburg and her strategic work to bring King Jr. tell the story of his last years, from
equal gender rights to the United States. his role in the passage of the 1965 Voting Available from Teaching Tolerance
The documentary allows viewers an inside Rights Act to his assassination in 1968.
look at Ginsburg’s personal life as well as Toward the end of a 12-year era of tireless MIDDLE AND HIGH SCHOOL
her roles as an icon and a dissenter. A must- civil rights advocacy, the film shows, King
see for everyone who believes that one per- and the Southern Christian Leadership
*This film contains content that students
son can truly change the world. (98 min.) Conference expanded their focus to ad-
may find disturbing. TT recommends that
dress the triple evils of racism, poverty
Widely available for purchase educators preview the film before deciding
and militarism. King in the Wilderness also
to show it to students. touches on King’s personal side, his inti-
MIDDLE AND HIGH SCHOOL mate relationships and the toll his work

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TT60 Staff Picks.indd 61 8/22/18 11:44 AM

Having the Talk

The bus let out its usual sigh as it grade—one hand slap, two claps, three “Well,” his mom answered, “I don’t
stopped with a lurch and the door folded slaps, dab—and parted ways. feel like my vote for president really
open. Jeremiah and Noelle exchanged Jeremiah could see his mom and dad counts. Most of our state usually
tired glances. They were only two sitting at the kitchen table. He took a doesn’t vote for the issues I care about.”
weeks into fifth grade, and it already deep breath, marched into the kitchen Jeremiah thought about everything
felt like being the big kids in school and placed his notes on the table. His he had learned that week in social stud-
meant having big responsibilities. parents looked over, startled by his sud- ies about voting.
And now this. They looked at the den entrance and serious face. “Well, Ms. Choi had us do research.
sheets of paper Ms. Choi had sent home “We need to talk,” he said. “Ms. Choi I found that lots of other stuff gets
with them. gave me this paper to have you sign.” decided by voters,” Jeremiah said. “Like
“What if we just…don’t talk to our Jeremiah’s parents’ eyes got wide. who is on the school board! Don’t you
families?” Jeremiah asked as they “Were you doing the floss dance want to help choose what happens at
stepped off the bus. thing from Fortnite in class again?!?!” my school?”
“I think we have to,” Noelle said. his mom yelled. “Of course I do,” his mom said, sur-
Jeremiah shuddered. He always Jeremiah squirmed. “Well, yes, but—” prised by how much Jeremiah knew.
asked his parents for help on home- “Mijo, did you get into trouble?” his “But you know, son, I only have one
work and stuff. But this was different. It dad asked. vote. What I think doesn’t matter.”
was more personal. And they were, like, “What? No!” Jeremiah said. His par- Jeremiah looked at his mom. He felt
old. He was afraid it would be awkward. ents sighed with relief. his nerves go away. Thanks to what he’d
“FaceTime me when you’ve done it,” “This is an interview,” Jeremiah con- done in class, he was more prepared for
Noelle said. She knew interactions with tinued. “I’m supposed to ask if you vote.” this than he thought.
adults about anything serious made Jeremiah’s parents suddenly looked “Of course what you think matters,
Jeremiah nervous. “Promise?” as awkward as he felt. Mom!” he said. “All votes get counted.
“Promise,” Jeremiah said. They “No,” his mom said. “I guess I don’t.” In Ms. Choi’s class, we looked up elec-
did their secret handshake since third “Why not?” Jeremiah asked. tions where people won by just one vote.

62 T E AC H I N G TO L E R A N C E

TT60 Story Corner.indd 62 8/21/18 11:33 AM

Isn’t that cool?! You could be the per- Jeremiah put his paper between his Grandma can vote, she says she will!”
son who decides who wins!” parents. “So, will you sign? If you sign, “Cool!” Jeremiah said. Then he had
Jeremiah’s mom raised her eye- you commit to voting or helping other an idea. He was done with homework,
brows, impressed. “I guess you’re right.” people with their vote!” but this was important.
“What about you, Dad?” Jeremiah His parents nodded, looking proudly “Mom!” he yelled over his shoulder.
asked. His dad looked sad. at their son. Jeremiah jumped and danced “Will you call Grandma and Grandpa? I
“Well, mijo, I can’t vote,” his dad said. in celebration. “I have to FaceTime want to ask them if they vote!”
“I still only have my green card. I may Noelle!” he said, darting out of the room.
not be a U.S. citizen for another year. So, “I did it! They signed!” Jeremiah
there isn’t much I can do about it.” shouted into the phone. Noelle’s face
Jeremiah felt silly. He knew that. His beamed back. “How did it go for you?” Questions for Readers
dad had only joined him and his mom he asked her. RIGHT THERE (IN THE TEXT)

two years ago after living in Mexico for “Good!” Noelle said. “I talked to Dad Why did Jeremiah feel like he couldn’t
most of his life. Jeremiah looked down and Grandma. She told me about how ask his parents for help with his special
at his notes from class and remembered her grandma used to have to walk miles
something. to find a place where she could vote. THINK AND SEARCH (IN THE TEXT)
“Sorry, Dad,” he said. “But there And even then, people would make Why is it important for Noelle’s
are things you can do! Ms. Choi had us her pay money to vote! Sometimes she grandma to vote?
brainstorm. We said that even people didn’t have the money.” AUTHOR AND ME (IN MY HEAD)
who can’t vote can still go to town halls “That’s not fair!” Jeremiah said. Why does Jeremiah’s mom feel like her
or protests or even help register other “Right?” Noelle agreed. “Grandma vote doesn’t matter?
voters in our neighborhood. You could says she always votes because she
be like a superhero for other voters!” knows how hard it was for our ances-
What facts do I know about voting?
Jeremiah’s dad smiled wide. “I like tors. She said even today some peo-
that!” he said. ple have trouble voting. So, as long as


FA L L 2 0 1 8

TT60 Story Corner.indd 63 8/21/18 11:33 AM



Teaching Tolerance and participating artists encourage educators to clip the One World
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Actress Laverne Cox is a vocal advocate for the transgender community. She’s known for an
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for an Emmy in acting or to be featured on the cover of Time magazine.


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