This year, in my social psychology unit, I used a lesson from Echoes and Reflections, a Holocaust education resource program, to open up a dialogue about racism, discrimination, intolerance, sexism, hate crimes and other issues related to diversity. We viewed clips of Holocaust survivors and then watched a dated PBS documentary, circa 1996, called “Not in Our Town,” about a group of citizens in Billings, Montana, who joined together and stood up to put an end to anti-Semitism.
The documentary led to a social movement, and there is a wonderful webpage (https://www.niot.org/) and YouTube channel which highlights modern “Not in Our Town” messages across America. I highly recommend both as resources in the classroom. Ironically, this lesson coincided with an incident less than a mile from our school, where an anti-Sematic message was spray-painted across the front of a business in plain view of all of our students passing by. This happened in an affluent, middle class neighborhood, proof that it can happen anywhere.
I wrapped up this message by asking students to work informally in groups and choose a minority population for which to advocate, with the intent of expressing this group’s view points and any discrimination faced by them to the other students. The goal was to teach empathy and compassion. This part of the plan was literally put together on a whim as our conversations unfolded; however, I was stunned by how wonderful the presentations were. Here is an example of one of the beautiful messages that was delivered. It is shared with permission.
This month, our school participated in the First Annual Holocaust Education Resource Council (HERC) Living History Museum. I am on both the HERC education committee and the school’s committee, so I wanted to contribute something special. I asked my students to create a mural that would reflect that they had learned as part of our “Not in Our Town” unit.
This is the final product. We named it Diversity.
Lawton Chiles Student Government Association is hosting A Night of Stars Benefitting Honor Flight Tallahassee on Monday, March 6, at 6 p.m., at Cross Creek Banquet Room, a beautiful facility off of I-10 and Mahan Drive, which has been generously provided by the Tallahassee Auto Museum, one of the event’s sponsors.
The mission of Honor Flight Tallahassee is to serve veterans in North Florida and South Georgia by transporting them to visit the memorials in Washington, D.C. This year’s trip will take place on Saturday, May 20, 2017.
A Night of Stars will feature two WW2 liberators, Mr. Bryce Thornton of Tallahassee and Mr. George Aigen of Valdosta. Aigen, who has been featured in a Georgia PBS documentary honoring the state’s veterans, was recently nominated for the French Legion of Honor.
The $25 admission will include dinner by Marie Livingston’s Steakhouse and performances by the acclaimed Chiles High School chorus. Tickets may be purchased from the school’s website under the “Announcements” tab. For more information or to make donations, contact Rebecca Bandy, SGA sponsor, firstname.lastname@example.org.
My good friend, Tammy Rabon, has been taking our family photos since the kids were born. I love her work, and she took our annual Christmas card pictures again this year.
However, about the same time, one of my other friends offered me the opportunity to do a “lifestyle” photo shoot. This is a new style for Casey Asa, Captured by Casey, and she wanted to experiment. I gladly welcomed her into our new home, and she shadowed us for about four hours on a Sunday after church.
I was nervous and thought we would bore her; but, while Mason relaxed watching football, Miss J and I played. She is the sweetest, most kind professional, and I enjoy Casey’s company, so we literally just relaxed and let her be a fly on the wall. It was actually therapeutic, because electronics were away and we were completely engaged without distractions.
When it was all done, the kids did not want her to leave.
I was not sure what kind of photos we would get out of the shoot, but I was and am AMAZED at the beautiful memories she captured for us. My favorites are of Miss J and I rocking in their nursery chair. She and I were just chatting away, then we embraced, as we often do. Casey actually pointed out that the last shot is priceless, because Miss J is smiling as I hold her. I often wonder about their faces when I embrace them, and now I know. I feel so loved just seeing her warmth. I am truly blessed beyond measure.