Upstander | Facing History & Ourselves
Facing History Student Leadership group photo.


Discover what it means to be an 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.

We believe every student can become an upstander, whether by challenging negative stereotypes with family, standing up to a bully in their school, or encouraging civil discourse when neighbors disagree. 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.

Cartoon of speaker and audience.





Student-led teaching session takes places in a classroom.

What Difference Can a Word Make?

What encourages people to act on behalf of others? Do words have the power to influence the choices people make? In 2014, two New Jersey high-school students began a campaign to promote a word, upstander, that gave a name to a behavior that is crucial for building stronger communities and a more humane world. Read and share “What Difference Can a Word Make?” and consider what encourages people to act on behalf of others.

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