The #USvsHate Process
Publicly refusing hate jump-starts the deeper, ongoing learning we need to do to value all participants in our diverse schools and society. #USvsHate projects can be completed in as few as two class periods, or they can be expanded into longer lessons or units. We hope you’ll adapt this process to best suit your students, classroom and community.
How does #USvsHate work?
1. Consider local needs.
- DETERMINE YOUR COMMUNITY NEEDS. Before beginning your #USvsHate project, you should invite feedback from members of your school or classroom community. Survey students to better understand your school’s current climate and where anti-hate messaging may be needed. You might ask:
- Recently, have you heard students make derogatory remarks or express biased opinions about particular groups of people? Give an example.
- To make your school feel welcoming and safe for all students, what additional supports do students need? Give an example.
- Are there issues of fairness (or justice) in your school or community that you wish your class would explore more? What are they?
- Right now, what do you think are the major controversial policies, events, or local/national issues affecting your school or community? How have you or other students been affected? Describe.
- DETERMINE YOUR OWN NEEDS. What anti-bias and anti-hate skills and knowledge will you need to build before leading students through this project? Check out our PD resources!
- BUILD A COALITION. Consider how you can include colleagues, administrators, district staff, and families before you begin your project. You may want to share this site with collaborators before you begin, and discuss student answers to the questions above.
2. Choose lesson(s)!
Review the lessons. Our resources are comprehensive, 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 national challenge. You can build anti-hate messaging into your existing curriculum. Whatever lessons you choose, build on what you are already doing!
Start where it works: choose lessons that fit your school’s needs, your curriculum, your preparation, and your student relationships. 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.
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 PD resources.
4. Create anti-hate messages.
Invite students to create anti-hate messages in any media to complete any #USvsHate lesson, or to complete a series of lessons. Let them explore prior winners as they consider possible message forms!
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, antisemitism, 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.
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. See prior winners: 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; art installations—the options are endless. 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, and to reach an intended audience?
- How could this message help our community, or keep the conversation going?
- Suggested norms:
- Do not disparage 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. Document your sharing, using the #USvsHate hashtag.
Then, submit “best” messages to #USvsHate for broader sharing in our national message challenge!
Here are a few things to remember as you prepare to submit:
- 5 entries max per class, to each challenge! Consider inviting students to help you select entries.
- 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 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 next topic on the website that people want to explore? Could a favorite #USvsHate activity be taught every year? Who could join #USvsHate 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, parents, and even school boards. Some are now doing #USvsHate lessons schoolwide.
Our goal is to refuse hate together — and do the long-term work to treat all as equally valuable. Join us!