(This #USvsHate message by Mica Pollock and Minhtuyen Mai was made into a bumper/laptop sticker and used to launch the project.)
#USvsHate is an educator- and youth-led messaging project designed to counter bigotry in schools and create safe and welcoming classrooms. In #USvsHate, students dialogue about inclusion, then create anti-hate messages for their school communities that explicitly address, explore, and refuse racism, xenophobia, homophobia, Islamophobia, anti-Semitism, sexism, or other hate forms. Schools can display messages locally via school walls, activities, or websites, and send them to #USvsHate at any time for broader sharing. Three times a year, winning entries in an #USvsHate contest will be amplified nationally via our website and social media. A subset will be made into free posters and stickers for participating classrooms!
Our 2018-19 contest deadlines are November 16, 2018, February 22, 2019, and April 26, 2019.
In #USvsHate, teachers will teach a lesson of choice (ideally, a short series of lessons) from a national group of partner organizations, and spark a classroom dialogue against hate and about inclusion.
Students will then be invited to create anti-hate messages in any media (hand-drawn or digital posters; poems, essays, spoken word, performances, op-eds, videos, sticker designs, or other media) that will do the following:
- explicitly address, explore, and refuse racism, xenophobia, homophobia, Islamophobia, anti-Semitism, sexism, or other forms of hate in schools and society;
- communicate that people across lines of difference contribute to our communities, regions, and nation, and deserve access to opportunity and well-being;
- bust a myth (challenge a stereotype) about a “type of” kid too often misrepresented;
- ask people to treat each other kindly, fairly and respectfully, so schools stay safe for learning and society includes us all.
All messages can be shared locally to shape school climate. Any such student products (in any media) can be submitted to #USvsHate at any time for broader sharing. Three times a year, #USvsHate will host a message contest. Winning entries (chosen by students and the #USvsHate team) will be amplified nationally via our website and social media, with poster and sticker messages also produced for participating classrooms.
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 and community members are part of “US”!
Whether messaging ends up on one classroom wall or gets shared digitally to thousands, we hope #USvsHate’s public anti-hate messaging will help reshape the speech, symbols, and messages students across the U.S. see, hear and repeat every day. Publicly saying no to hate is our place to start. Our messages insist that all people are equally worth it.
In recent years, 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”!
We like to say this has always been educators’ job—it’s just more important now than ever.
The goals of #USvsHate are to:
- shape school climate to emphasize safety and inclusion for all;
- help students more fully know, value, and respect the people they share their school, community, and nation with;
- build youth voice, and encourage students to take action against hate;
- equip teachers with dialogue tools and curricular resources from national educator support organizations;
- catalyze ongoing intergenerational learning and exploration in school communities;
- facilitate networking between educators involved (sign up to join our community!);
- build a process that can be scaled up nationally.
The #USvsHate project was started by Professor Mica Pollock of UC San Diego and a team of San Diego educators, as part of Pollock’s #Schooltalking project and with seed support from Teaching Tolerance. After a successful Spring 2018 pilot, #USvsHate is expanding in the 2018-19 school year to include educators and students across San Diego County, with support from Teaching Tolerance. We hope to fully scale the project nationally in fall 2019. Join our community and help shape the work!