#USvsHate Collective Action Project
This page walks you through the simple #USvsHate process. #USvsHate can start with as little as two class periods, or take as long as a semester or year. You can use our lessons or your own. You can enter one of our contests, or all three! It’s about teaching one or more inclusion/anti-hate lessons, and then inviting students to make public anti-hate messages in any form. Publicly refusing “hate” jumpstarts the deeper, ongoing learning we need to do to value all people in our diverse schools and society. We love Teaching Tolerance’s Social Justice standards, which make the case for ongoing exploration of identity, diversity, justice, and action!
Each time you complete the process, you can ask yourself: What’s Next? What else do we want to learn and do in our school? — and start the process again.
How does #USvsHate work? The details
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 colleagues who might be interested. Enlist the support of administrators, plus parents and district staff as useful. 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. You might consider teaching lessons in more than one classroom, in collaboration with other educators, or in an afterschool club. One pilot educator included parents in her #USvsHate activities. Youth leaders are also leading some activities themselves.
- Get a baseline on inclusion and intergroup relationships in your school and community right now. Before teaching any #USvsHate 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. This will help you get a baseline on necessary learning and help you choose lessons for #USvsHate. (Make a copy of the Google form provided here, or lift the questions onto a paper survey.) To build student agency from the beginning, many educators discuss these results directly with students.
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! (You do not have to use #USvsHate lessons to submit anti-hate messages to our contests.) Whatever lessons you choose, build on what you are already doing!
We have organized #USvsHate lessons into two 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 that take learning deeper. See Teacher Stories for others’ experiences with specific lessons.
Start where it works: choose lessons that fit your school’s needs, your curriculum, your preparation, and your student relationships. Remember the ultimate goals of #USvsHate: we want students to more fully know and value themselves and the people they share their school, community, and nation with, and we want to encourage students to take action against hate, bias, and injustice.
3. Teach the lesson(s).
Each lesson page offers suggestions for Before You Teach. Check out our resources for professional development as well!
4. Create anti-hate messages.
Invite students to create anti-hate messages in any media to end any #USvsHate lesson, or to end a series of lessons. You can also give students this Guide and let them run with it.
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, bias and injustice in schools and society;
- communicate that people across lines of difference contribute to our communities, regions, and nation, are equally valuable, 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!
Here are a few things to remember as students make messages:
- Students can make #USvsHate messages as individuals or in groups.
- Students’ anti-hate messages can be made in any media. That means hand-drawn or digital images, to become stickers and posters or be shared digitally; essays; poems; performances or public actions documented in photos or on video; public service announcements, videos, memes, speeches, and spoken word; op-eds; 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 photograph, a comic book, an infographic, a public event, or an animation can be an anti-hate message!
- Invite students to share and improve draft messages with peers.
- Possible discussion questions: How does each anti-hate message realize one of the four goals above? What could be added or changed to make this message more powerful, to reach the intended audience or spark an intended response? How could this message help our community, or keep the conversation going?
- (Possible norms: Don’t hate on anyone’s message! Find something about others’ messages that you can affirm and compliment in some way. If you disagree with the message, address the message, while respecting the creator.)
5. Share/submit messages!
Share students’ anti-hate messaging locally. This is a CRUCIAL part of #USvsHate! Teachers are sharing messages locally on school walls, bulletin boards, websites, and T-shirts, via gallery walks, and in assemblies to highlight live speeches or presentations.
Then, submit “best” messages to #USvsHate for broader sharing in our message contests!
Here are a few things to remember as you prepare to submit:
- Ten entries max per teacher.
- Consider inviting students to help you select entries. One teacher set up a gallery walk allowing students to see and vote on one another’s work.
- PLAN AHEAD: 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.
- Any message submitted must be ready to share publicly.
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 latest winning messages!
6. Ask each other: What’s Next?
Now, take the most important followup step of all: ask students and colleagues what they want to learn and do NEXT in your school community to tackle hate, bias and injustice. Is there a specific topic on the website that people want to explore? Could a favorite #USvsHate activity be taught every year? Who could join the work in a next round? Go for it!
- To figure out “what’s next,” you might ask students and adults these questions:
- What is one thing you learned from the #USvsHate activity, or are still thinking about?
- If you could change one thing about the #USvsHate activity, what would you change?
- Which issue from the #USvsHate site do you think students should learn about next? (e.g., stereotypes, bullying, racism, homophobia, xenophobia, Islamophobia, anti-Semitism, sexism.) Why?
- What other actions do you want to take? How could students help lead next steps?
- (Sign up with contributing organizations for ongoing resources.)
- Refusing hate requires increasing participation. Many #USvsHate teachers have reached out NEXT to colleagues in their school to invite them to teach next lessons together. Teachers have shared their work with administrators, entire faculties, and even school boards. One school is now planning to take the entire first day of school to do #USvsHate lessons.
- Finally, please share your own thoughts with us on how #USvsHate went. Your take on our brief survey will help the #USvsHate team make any necessary adjustments to the #USvsHate process. We might also reach out to you for a Teacher Story, as well!
Our goal is to refuse hate together — and do the long-term work to treat all as equally valuable. Join us!