#USvsHate is an educator- and youth-led messaging project designed to counter bigotry in schools and create safe and welcoming classrooms. In #USvsHate, students dialogue about inclusion and then create anti-hate messages for their school communities that explicitly address, explore, and refuse racism, xenophobia, homophobia, Islamophobia, sexism, or other hate forms. Schools can display messages on school walls or websites, and send them to #USvsHate for broader sharing. Twice a year, winning entries in an #USvsHate contest will be amplified nationally via our website and social media, and made into free posters and stickers for participating classrooms!
Since the 2016 election, examples of hate and harassment have spiked in schools and communities nationwide. Students and teachers across the country say they have experienced heightened tension and anxiety. And 91.6% of teachers recently surveyed nationally agreed that “leaders should encourage and model civil exchange and greater understanding across lines of difference.”
So today, more than ever, every community needs to unite locally against hate.
And every school community can help spread the message that all students are part of “US”!
We like to say this has always been educators’ job—it’s just more important now than ever.
The goals of #USvsHate are to:
- shift school climate to emphasize safety for all;
- help students more fully know and value the people they share their school and community with;
- build youth voice, and encourage students to take action against hate;
- equip teachers with dialogue tools;
- facilitate networking between educators and youth involved;
- and, build a process that can be scaled up nationally.
The project was started by #Schooltalking (UC San Diego Professor and CREATE Director Mica Pollock), and a team of educators in San Diego. (#Schooltalking is a national network of educators designing K-12 communications for equity. Join us here!)
In #USvsHate, teachers will teach a sample lesson (ideally, a short series of lessons) from a national group of partner organizations, and spark a classroom dialogue about inclusion.
Students will then be invited to create anti-hate messages (hand-drawn or digital posters; poems, essays, spoken word, performances, or other media) that will do the following:
- explicitly address, explore, and refuse racism, xenophobia, homophobia, Islamophobia, sexism, or other hate forms in schools;
- communicate that people across lines of difference contribute to our communities, regions, and nation;
- bust a myth about a “type of" kid too often misrepresented;
- ask peers to treat peers kindly and respectfully so schools stay safe for learning.
Schools can share and spread students' anti-hate messages locally via walls, websites, and school activities. Any such student products (in any media) can be sent to #USvsHate at any time for broader sharing via our website and social media. Twice a year, #USvsHate will host a contest, and winning entries (chosen by students) will then be shared out digitally and made into posters and stickers for all participating classrooms!
We think #USvsHate is a potential lever to put youth in the driver’s seat of powerful, inclusive, anti-hate messaging sorely needed today. We also think our frame will spark proactive clarification that ALL students and community members are part of "US"!