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.
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.
Follow three people who credit their upstander behavior to the impact of one survivor’s story. The experience of Dr. Anna Ornstein, Hungarian survivor of Auschwitz, child psychiatrist, and author, has impacted choices of students since the 1970s.
After 25 years of distinguished service to our organization, Dr. Karen Murphy, Facing History’s Director of International Strategy, will join our partner organization High Resolves as CEO of an initiative called The Human Responsibility Accelerator. In this article, we invited Karen to share a bit of what she has learned in more than two decades at Facing History.
Research released by the Claims Conference found that 49% of U.S. millennials and generation Z have seen Holocaust denial or distortion content online—and that one in five U.S. millennials and generation Z surveyed in New York believe that Jews caused the Holocaust. This toxic combination of ignorance allied with antisemitic hatred continue to permeate global consciousness, and teachers have an important part to play in turning the tide.
International Holocaust Remembrance Day is Thursday, January 27th. This is a day when we remember the 6 million Jews murdered in the Holocaust, their loved ones, and the ways in which this incalculable tragedy has transformed our world. It is also a time for educators to ensure their readiness to integrate instruction on the Holocaust into their annual teaching plans.
Facing History on Martin Luther King Day: A message to our educators
Martin Luther King Day is a moment for reflection and service; for considering the life and legacy of an extraordinary individual; and for recommitting ourselves to the unfinished work he championed. At a time of extraordinary bigotry and violence, Dr. King challenged all Americans to confront our history of racial discrimination, to open our eyes to injustice, and to be intentional about building a better future.
Here are 9 Facing History resources that can help you reflect on your own teaching practices, teach the history of the Civil Rights Movement, and explore contemporary issues around racial justice and democracy in the United States.
Like many people of my generation who cut their teeth on the critical insights of bell hooks, news of her passing in December unleashed a wave of reflection for me about the ways she’s impacted me as a person and public scholar. Beyond the many moments of resonance I experienced while reading her writings over the years, her impact on me is most powerfully encapsulated in an experience I had in 2008 when I met her.
The January 6th investigation has deepened widespread concerns about rising threats of fascism, racism, white nationalism, and other phenomena that undermine justice for all. But in analyses that focus primarily on the role of white nationalism fomented within media echo chambers, for example, commentators have overlooked what may be a more pervasive parallel phenomenon: the widespread crisis of faith in U.S. media and institutions at large.
The 26th U.N. Climate Change Conference of the Parties (COP26) that took place in Glasgow, Scotland from October to November 2021 was, in many ways, a historic event. However, even though the COP remains a crucial space for international cooperation in the fight against climate disaster, there is notable consternation over the unique burdens that various policies may place on poorer nations and those most vulnerable to adverse climate events.
Teaching about the January 6 Insurrection and its Impact on US Democracy
The January 6 insurrection remains important to understand and discuss, as well as the larger questions it raises about the state of US democracy. A recent poll found that 52% of young people between 18 and 29 believe that either US democracy is "in trouble" or "failed," while only 7% agree that it is "healthy," further highlighting the need to teach students about democratic institutions.