#USvsHate Collective Action Project
What is #USvsHate?
Thanks for joining #USvsHate, a youth empowerment project that engages teachers and students in creating and sharing pro-inclusion and anti-hate messages! We seek to unite school communities against the recent hate surge. See The Thinking Behind #USvsHate for a deeper discussion of what we’re trying to accomplish!
Sign up to join our community so we can contact you about student products and updates as we go along, and connect you to other educators trying #USvsHate! Be sure to sign up for resources from all the great organizations featured on this website.
How does #USvsHate work? The details for the 2018-19 school year
1. Consider local needs.
- Read the Thinking Behind #USvsHate to get a deeper sense of what we are trying to do.
- Ask yourself: which issues of inclusion, equality, and respect do we most want to get students talking about in our school? Which of my own skills and knowledge do I most want to build? And most importantly, who should I invite to join me in this project?
- Frame the effort to administrators and potential partners. Share this website with educators who might be interested. Enlist the support of administrators. Explain that #USvsHate is an effort to help school communities unite together. This is not partisan; we are inviting all voices into a collective dialogue about inclusion and valuing people.
- Decide who is participating. We want this project to generate the space for any student interested, but we also want to work with willing educators. You might consider locating this effort in one or more classrooms, with lessons taught by teachers or counselors; in an afterschool club; or in a conversation hosted by staff in a school district. One pilot educator included parents in her #USvsHate activities.
- Get a baseline on inclusion and intergroup relationships in your school and community right now. Before teaching any lessons, we highly encourage you to offer students the opportunity to comment on the current climate for inclusion and intergroup relationships in your school and community. Students can comment anonymously and we’ll email you the results. (You can also print the same questions and keep the results yourself.) This will help you get a baseline on necessary learning and help you choose lessons for #USvsHate! #USvsHate staff will use the same pre-survey to keep tabs on the project this year, so that we can help address any needs as we go along.
2. Choose lesson(s)!
Review the lessons. It’s a gold mine, so give yourself enough time to read, choose, and flag resources to explore later!
We have organized #USvsHate lessons into three sections. You can ask your students to make #USvsHate anti-hate messages after just one lesson. Of course, we’ve found that the best results come from a combination of lessons—and from linking to what you are already doing in your classroom, club, or advisory. See Teacher Stories for others’ experiences with specific lessons!
Start where it works: choose lessons that fit your school’s needs, your curriculum, and your student relationships. Remember the ultimate goals of #USvsHate: we want students to more fully know and value the people they share their school, community, and nation with, and we want to encourage students to take action against hate.
3. Teach the lesson(s).
- After any #USvsHate lesson, we encourage you to ask students how the lesson affected them. You can let students know their take on our survey will help us make sure #USvsHate goes well for students this year – and inform future #USvsHate activities! We can send you results for your own class. Or, just print our questions and keep your results.
- At the end of your #USvsHate effort, please share your thoughts on how #USvsHate went. Your take on our survey will help the #USvsHate team make any necessary adjustments to the #USvsHate process and materials during the 2018-19 pilot.
4. Create anti-hate messages.
Invite students to create anti-hate messages to end any #USvsHate lesson, or to end a series of lessons. Each lesson list ends with suggestions for prompting messaging. You can also give students this Guide and let them run with it!
- Students’ anti-hate messages can be made in any media: hand-drawn or digital images, to become stickers and posters or be shared digitally; essays; poems; performances; videos; public statements; speeches; tshirt designs; etc. An anti-hate message can be drawn by hand on paper, or created digitally using a phone or computer. A speech into a smartphone camera, a great letter to the editor, a poem, or a school performance can be an anti-hate message! Don’t limit your creativity! Emphasize that messages can offer powerful words and powerful visual images. You don’t have to be an amazing artist or filmmaker. The real power is the message!
- To prime students’ messaging, you might ask students to find a poster, image, speech, video, poem, etc. that really speaks to them and consider what about it is so powerful.
- Students can make #USvsHate messages as individuals or in groups.
Remind students that the goal is to create an original #USvsHate message that will do one or more of 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.
Emphasize that no message submitted should be harmful or hateful to others. #USvsHate!
Highly recommended: facilitate a dialogue to help students improve their draft anti-hate messages. This will help students improve #USvsHate submissions for local sharing — and also help them win our contest!
- Invite students to share their draft messages with peers for feedback. Don’t hate on anyone’s message! If you disagree with the message, address the message, not the creator personally. Ask students to find something about others’ messages that they can affirm and compliment in some way.
- Ask students to comment on one another’s work. Some useful questions: How does each anti-hate message realize one of the four goals above? Why would you love to see its message shared broadly? How could the message help a school community unite, clarify an issue, or keep learning and talking? What else could you do to make the message even more powerful? (With messages for posters or stickers, we find that “less is more”: a simple message is more powerful than lots of words. Other media forms can be more complex.)
To be considered for a “winning” #USvsHate message in our contests, the message also must do the following. See our Guide for full instructions:
- Include the hashtag #USvsHate. (If you don’t put it on your submission, we’ll add it.)
- Be both creative and original. Use original words and other material. Don’t plagiarize other people’s work or copy material off the internet. (Teachers: you can tell students that if we can google a student’s entry and find its words or art already existing on the internet, it means it’s not original enough.) If you use others’ publicly available material, credit the creator whenever possible. A design could make a common slogan or style original, but our preference is new words and ideas. Do not use clips from music, videos, or other media copyrighted by others.
- Successfully communicate the #USvsHate message of inclusion, to a group of peers.
5. Share/submit messages!
Share students’ anti-hate messaging locally to shape school climate. This is a super important part of #USvsHate. Teachers are sharing messages locally on school walls or websites, on school T-shirts, or via other school activities, like assemblies to highlight live speeches or theatre presentations.
Then, submit “best” messages to #USvsHate for broader sharing!
Select one or more #USvsHate messages to submit to our November, February, and April message contests!
- We don’t limit contest entries; it’s your call how many you submit. Any message submitted will be considered for the upcoming contest.
- For students under 18, parent/guardian permission is required for any entry submitted with a student’s name on it. Here’s a permission slip educators can use to get that parent permission. See Kim’s story on #USvsHate Teacher Stories, for how one educator handled permissions by email.
- A submission to our contest should be high quality enough to be reproduced for many. As noted on the Guide to Creating a #USvsHate Message, any image submitted for reproduction as a poster or sticker should be reproduction-ready (no pencil; no tiny writing; make sure images are clear and not blurry). Ideally, you’d scan and upload a paper submission instead of submitting a photograph of the piece of paper.
- Please make sure to add the #USvsHate hashtag.
- We encourage both individual submissions and group submissions that combine student skills!
Winning entries (chosen by students and the #USvsHate team) will be amplified nationally via our website and social media. A subset will be made into free posters and stickers for participating classrooms! Check out our first winning messages, and our Fall 2018 contest winners!
#USvsHate 2018-19 contest deadlines:
November 16, 2018, February 22, 2019, and April 26, 2019.
Finally, take the most important followup step of all: convene an #USvsHate leadership group of students and adults who showed particular interest in #USvsHate, and ask them what they want to learn and do NEXT in your school community. Then, you can start the loop above again, considering local needs!