#USvsHate is an educator- and youth-led #Schooltalking messaging project, where students dialogue about inclusion and then create posters for school walls that explicitly address, explore, and refuse racism, xenophobia, homophobia, Islamophobia, sexism, or other hate forms. Winning entries in regional #USvsHate contests are then made into posters for real classrooms!
In #USvsHate, teachers 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 are then invited to create posters (with hand-drawn or digital images) 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 myths about “types” of kids too often misrepresented;
- ask peers to treat peers kindly and respectfully so schools stay safe for learning.
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 are part of "US"!
With a seed grant from Teaching Tolerance, educators representing three major districts in San Diego are piloting this project aimed at fighting bigotry in schools and creating safe and welcoming classrooms.
The goals of the #USvsHate pilot in San Diego are to:
- shift school climate to emphasize safety for all;
- build youth voice;
- equip teachers with dialogue tools;
- facilitate networking between educators and youth involved;
- and, pilot a process that can be scaled up nationally.
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”!