Upstander

/ʌpstandə/    noun
A person who speaks or acts in support of an individual or cause, particularly someone who intervenes on behalf of a person being attacked or bullied.

Facing History and Ourselves celebrates the addition of the word "upstander" to the Oxford English Dictionary. Students in Facing History classrooms learn about the power of individual choices to shape history and explore how each of us can participate as citizens to create a more humane, just and compassionate world. With the readings and resources collected below, we invite you and your students to discover what it means to be an Upstander. 

Facing History Upstanders in the News

September 9, 2016

An “upstander” is a person who has chosen to make a difference in the world by speaking out against injustice and creating positive change. The term, coined by diplomat Samantha Power and popularized by Facing History and Ourselves, has now been recognized an official word in the English language. Columnist Ben Zimmer, who pens a weekly column "Word on the Street" for the Wall Street Journal wrote about the news that "upstander" will be added to Oxford Dictionaries.

September 6, 2016

More than a year after the New Jersey State Legislature passed a resolution that urged Merriam-Webster, Inc. and the Oxford University Press to add the word “upstander” to their dictionaries, Oxford Dictionaries will officially add the word to this year’s dictionary. 

May 5, 2016

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Memphis's Facing History and Ourselves announces the people and groups who will be memorialized on the “Upstanders Mural," the South Main public art project.

August 6, 2015

The New Jersey State Legislature have passed on a resolution that urges Merriam-Webster, Inc. and the Oxford University Press to add the word “upstander” to their dictionaries.

Learn about Upstanders in History

Defying the Nazis: The Sharps’ War

A new film by Ken Burns, premiering September 20 on PBS stations nationwide.

Get inspired by the untold story of American upstanders who risked their lives to help desperate refugees. Our three lesson plans use excerpts from the film, personal letters, photographs, and thought-provoking questions to explore what motivated the Sharps, the dilemmas they faced, and the impact of their actions.

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