Why Facing History | Facing History & Ourselves
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Why Facing History

We deepen students' understanding of how their choices and actions shape a better, more equitable future.

We have many collections, lessons, and other classroom resources that connect history and today.

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People make choices.
Choices make history.

Choosing to Participate

Young people have the power to affect meaningful change in their classrooms, communities, and the world. Learn how Facing History can help you inspire students to stand up for what they believe in and choose to participate.

From Reflection to Action

Hear three inspiring stories from Facing History upstanders about how choosing to participate had a positive impact on their communities.

Kobi J. at podium.
Student Reagan Miller in classroom.
Khamilla Johnson in classroom.

Kobi J., California


My name is Raegan. I'm a senior at Watchung Hills Regional High School. I was definitely like the girly cheerleader type. I liked having a lot of friends and going out. Coming into high school, I kind of wanted to see a different side of myself that I wasn't really expecting.

When I first met Raegan, she was this bright, earnest woman in my world history class. A lot of the Facing History pieces are what she seemed to connect to, the social and emotional. And just placing herself in history, I could see her begin to really evolve and excel both academically but also just growing as a person.

I definitely think she saw something in me that I didn't see in myself. Today we're going to continue our focus on identity, and we are going to be making identity charts.

The Facing History curriculum, I have found for my students that it has increased their ability to inquire and think about the world. It has engaged them in class lessons. It has encouraged them and empowered them to stand up and believe that they can make a positive difference in the world.

She planted these little seeds, important lessons that have now become lifetime learning opportunities. Throughout freshman year, we continued to have amazing lessons in world history. We learned about the Rwandan genocide. We read Facing History's No Time to Think.

My favorite Facing History piece from the Holocaust is No Time to Think because the professor is so articulate and just talking about how his inaction contributed to what happened.

It's noticing and realizing the small steps one takes for something big to happen.

The photo lighting up social media, two New Jersey teens at a recent Halloween party. One dressed as a slave owner, the other as an African American slave.

I was sitting at home and my cousin had showed me a picture that was taken at the party of these two boys, and I knew that right there and then that I was going to go into school the next day and we were going to talk about it in diversity club.

Students had a lot of questions, had a lot to process. There were students who were at the party that were upset that they didn't say anything or perhaps didn't know what to say.

You want to understand how a group of people could feel that this was OK and right. I volunteered to go see the Warren mayor to invite him to the event that we were scheduled to have in November.

We had our United Against Hate community-wide event that was led by Raegan and a group of our students, and that was an event that kicked off the community's commitment. We really wanted to make it clear that was the beginning of a series of difficult conversations that we wanted to engage our community in.

Not only did I learn that injustice is something real and happens, I learned people in my class and people that I see every day face these injustices and that's extremely eye-opening for a 14, 15-year-old to understand.

So in all of our conversations about embracing diversity, equity, and inclusion in the district, the mascot started to come up. We needed to reevaluate the symbols that we were using and see if they were in line with the culture of inclusivity and respect that we were committed to promoting.

We knew it was going to be very controversial. So it just seemed like we kept putting it off.

Having to tell an adult or an authority figure that what they think is not really acceptable, it's hard because you're going to get backlash for that.

There was a board of education meeting to discuss it. Raegan had already set the tone. We can no longer have this mascot represent Watchung Hills.

If you don't speak out and stand up against injustices and prejudices in your community, they'll just continue to happen, and then it becomes a spiral and it continues to get worse.

The Facing History curriculum and the premise of that curriculum really shows our students the relevance of the history they're learning and how to practically apply it to be more engaged citizens. And I think these students, Raegan at the helm, are really leaving a legacy for future Watchung Hills students.

An upstander is the person in the crowd who says that's not right. They're the person who when an injustice happens, they stand up. Through everything that I did, I learned that having a little bit of bravery goes a very long way. I will always consider myself an ally. I will always consider myself an upstander. And I'll always continue the warrior way and be a kind and respectful member of my community.



Raegan M., New York

Khamilla J., Tennessee

[My Facing History class] inspired me to learn how hidden histories and other injustices affect our lives today.
— Deztinee G., Facing History Student, Chicago, IL

Ready to go from reflection to action?

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Explore Democracy & Freedom in US History

Integrate themes of democracy and freedom throughout your US history course with our US History Curriculum Collection. Designed to be flexible, you can adapt this set of units, lesson plans, and C3 inquiries to fit your curriculum.

Get the Curriculum Collection

Transforming Schools

Facing History provides personalized resources and support to districts and schools to improve opportunities for all students, improve school culture, and develop new teaching practices. And it works.

  • Icon of a school building surrounded by dots representing a community.
    95% of students at Facing History partner schools have observed ways in which Facing History has positively impacted their school.
  • Orange and black icon of two hands outreached.
    83% of teachers in Facing History partner schools agreed that most students in their school treat adults with respect.
  • Teal and aqua icon of a teacher guiding students through a classroom activity.
    Two randomized controlled trials show that Facing History interventions in middle and high schools lead to the development of safer and more engaging learning environments.