Witness, Accompany, and Advocate During ICE Raids
This is a personal post. Yesterday, I, Eva, participated in the first post-election event that made me feel potentially useful — beyond marching, phoning, or attending a meeting. I am sharing in case you want to look for similar opportunities. The event was a 2-hour training to be a witness to ICE immigration raids.
Community groups in Santa Clara County, California, are setting up a rapid response network that will have its soft launch this week: a hotline for undocumented immigrants, and their family and friends, to call if ICE shows up at the door. A dispatcher will answer the phone, guide the caller through his/her rights, and text a network of citizen-witnesses who will come to the site of the raid to document it.
Here’s how my event was advertised:
Come learn how you can be a rapid responder so that we can respond to calls from community members concerned about immediate ICE actions throughout Santa Clara County.
The Rapid Response Network aims to expand the community’s capacity to monitor and document ICE operations in real time. We will support the process of gathering evidence used to free someone from ICE custody. We will expose the intimidating and unconstitutional tactics ICE uses to detain immigrants.
Please invite others to attend to help us build the Rapid Response Network we will launch very soon with many partners and volunteers, like you!
I’ve now been trained to be a citizen-witness, with basic knowledge of how to comply with ICE directives while recording the encounter on my phone and documenting the unfolding events. How many agents? What did they say? From which agencies did they come? Badge numbers. Vehicle license plates. And more.
The attorney who helped train us recommends US citizens serve as witnesses because we’re at lower legal risk than immigrants. It’s also something white people can usefully do, with more possible roles if you speak Spanish (I don’t).
I was trained through an event organized by PACT-San José. If you live in Santa Clara County, you can go to their events calendar to sign up for a training. In the event of a raid within 2-5 miles of your address, you’ll receive a text asking if you can come document it. Even if it takes you a while to arrive, it’s helpful. We learned that raids in the Bay Area have been 3 to 6 hours long.
I’m told San Mateo, San Francisco, and Alameda Counties have similar networks. I did some online searching and found the San Francisco Rapid Response Network and another in Brooklyn, NY. The PICO website appears to be a place to hunt for more area networks (I started on their press release page).
Here’s an accessible article about implicit bias in schools, with a quick overview of the state of the research on how to combat it. The article appeared earlier this week on The Brown Center Chalkboard, a blog of the Brookings Institution. We promise it’s an easy read that won’t make you feel bad or hopeless. It touches on the following key points:
What is unconscious bias (UB)?
UB is the phenomenon in which stereotypes, positive or negative, influence decisions and behaviors without the individual consciously acting on the stereotype or being aware that he or she is doing so. Moreover, UB can occur even when individuals know or believe the stereotype to be false.
There’s an evidence base indicating it exists.
There is ample evidence of UB in educational settings, both in experimental labs and “in the field” with real individuals who were unaware of their participation in an experiment.
Students who are used to being on the losing end of a stereotype are highly primed to see bias.
Additionally, individuals from stereotyped out-groups themselves react negatively to seemingly innocuous environmental factors, such as the demographic composition of a classroom, the race or sex of an instructor or proctor, and even the design and decoration of the classroom.
There’s research on what to do to counteract UB. “Teacher-facing” interventions hold the most promise, though more study is needed. Key suggestions include:
- Nurture employees’ motivation to reduce UB by building an awareness of one’s own biases without shaming or blaming
- Develop an awareness of the shared psychological basis for UB and of the fact that UB is a naturally occurring, physiological phenomenon
- Evaluate individuals based on their own unique attributes and not through their group membership (social, demographic, or otherwise)
- Reduce the anxiety created by cross-group interactions by increasing the frequency of such interactions, particularly in low-stakes settings
- Encourage empathy and perspective-taking
- Build partnerships and teams that reduce out-group status
The blog post links to many additional resources and reports on unconscious bias and ways to reduce it. Highly recommended as an entry point!
(Image copied from the above-referenced Brookings Chalkboard post)
As we often say about running this blog, you can’t do it alone. The same holds true for raising a socially-conscious, motivated kid. Here’s some help for those of you engaged in that endeavor.
The Washington Post has a lovely list of children’s books in their On Parenting blog focused on activism:
As protests and marches continue to sweep the country, parents can use books to help them broach complex topics with their kids. Many kids recently attended protests for the first time and these budding activists often have tough questions.
Here is a list of books that can introduce even the youngest children to the idea of rebellion in an age-appropriate and inspiring way. Give the princesses and pirates a rest and try these inspiring reads — just don’t be surprised if bedtime negotiations rise to a new level. Every activist has to start somewhere!
Want more? Check out Teaching for Change’s online store. There are some incredible bargains to be had, and if you need to order 500 copies or more, some titles are free, save for shipping.
And if you need a reminder about the power of reading when it comes to sparking social change, take a look at these testimonials from the Zinn Education Project. Back in March, when there was a proposed ban on books by Howard Zinn in Arkansas schools, people coordinated to send those very books to teachers and libraries in protest. The response was incredible, and some of the stories about why people donated are here.
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A HUGE thank you to those who have already stopped by. Responses are already helping us figure out what we’ll be working on next, how to bring you more of what’s been helpful, and what you might like to see that we haven’t done quite yet.
We are also about to begin a project preserving stories from educators in this national moment. If you’d like to talk with us, anonymously or otherwise, about how things are for you and your students, right here and now, we’d love to hear from you. (And you can indicate that on our survey.)
Now for opportunity! If you are a Bay Area teacher working with students in grades 8-12, you just might be interested in KQED Learning’s new Student Inquiry and Publishing pilot program.
We are looking for 40 Bay Area English, science, social studies or VAPA educators who teach grades 8-12 to pilot a new project starting this summer and continuing into fall of 2017.
The project will feature curriculum, media-making resources and professional development for teachers to support students in investigating questions and creating media about their findings. Using an online publishing platform, students will be able to work with peers both in their own classroom and other classrooms in a safe space where they can seek authentic feedback, support and inspiration. Students will access this platform through their teacher (similar to Google Classroom), and student work will not be visible to anyone not participating in the project.
Head on over to the link above to read more and apply. Get moving–applications close 3/24!
And plants: we recently discovered the Smithsonian’s Botany and Art and Their Roles in Conservation. Aside from being gorgeous to look at, these resources for primary and middle grade students can help provide in-depth interdisciplinary content for a science or art classroom.
This teaching guide includes a lesson plan originally published as “Smithsonian in Your Classroom.” It introduces students to the work of botanists and botanical illustrators, specifically their race to make records of endangered plant species around the world. The students try their own hands at botanical illustration, following the methods of a Smithsonian artist. Also included here are additional resources on the topic, a one-hour webinar and a website.
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From the CS Monitor, here’s an article about teachers addressing politics in the classroom. Entitled, Teachers’ new Catch-22: Students want to talk politics, but their parents don’t, it offers anecdotes from teachers about what they’re encountering right now, and profiles two resources for building empathy in students.
First, some observations about the new reality
[Today’s] political tensions have created a fundamental dilemma for teachers: how to make class work relevant while acceding to school efforts to prevent or minimize political blow-ups between students, parents, and administrators with opposing views.
[Many] schools are not navigating the new climate decisively. Enright believes part of the problem is that while the public conversation has paid greater lip-service to the importance of teaching empathy and diversity in schools, many educators feel they have neither the time nor flexibility to make that a priority.
And, the resources:
The Harvard Graduate School of Education presents One and All, which offers “strategies to protect students, reject bullying, and build communities where everyone thrives.”
From Newsela, A Mile in Our Shoes is “a K-12 program that promotes empathy and inclusivity through reading.”
(Image courtesy of Harvard GSE One and All website)
There’s bipartisan agreement that civics education matters. This isn’t to deny that people disagree about which topics should receive emphasis, but it’s worth remembering we still have big areas of cross-party agreement. For example, it’s not controversial to say that American kids should learn about our government institutions, how to participate in them, and so forth.
One of our points of personal interest is how to amplify the issues on which there’s broad agreement amongst Americans. In that spirit, he’s a civics teaching resource list created by the American Enterprise Institute (AEI), a conservative think tank.
It includes lists of social studies blogs, government sites aimed at educators, civics lesson plans for all ages, presidential libraries online, games and entertainment, and more. Check it out!
(Featured image from AEI, Lincoln and the Constitution)
In honor of International Women’s Day, A Day Without A Woman, and Women’s History Month, we’ve gathered some resources that may be helpful in the classroom.
The National Women’s History Museum has a great list of lesson plans and downloadable biographic posters. Notable is the lesson plan “Reforming Their World: Women in the Progressive Era” for secondary students, with a focus on the importance of grassroots movement in creating social change.
It is important that students have an understanding of what “reform” is and how reform comes about in a country. Quite often, reform starts at a local or “grassroots” level and expands to get national attention. Usually, history textbooks focus on the “end-product” or the point at when something received national attention — but there is not always a focus on the energy and effort it took to make a reform movement gain momentum and success (and the millions of people behind it)!
During the Progressive Era a lot of the people who worked at a grassroots (and national) level were women — specifically clubwomen. This lesson will have students examine the number of clubs that were created by women during the Progressive Era and how these clubs were effective in bringing about political and economic changes that broadened democratic input.
There are many more lesson plans at the link!
A game called, we kid you not, Wonderful Women Top Trumps, comes from the British site TES. There’s downloadable content to help middle grade students learn about all sorts of inspiring women–and a new game. We came across this game on a larger resource site from TES, Ideas for International Women’s Day.
And finally, another wonderfully curated list from Edutopia, put together in 2013. It includes resources for discussing gender stereotypes as well as a thorough list of other reading lists. We do love a good list, and this one is worth your time.
Fridays are good days to cut yourself some slack and enjoy the approach of the weekend. In that spirit, we thought you might enjoy this easy read, “Embrace Authenticity: How to Break Free from the Tyranny of Positivity.“
The article is a conversation between psychologist Susan David and Maria Shriver. We urge you not to get hung up on the participants or the jargony language of “authenticity” and “resilience”. Just be reminded that feelings can’t be wrong.
Instead of struggling with whether we should or shouldn’t feel something, it’s important for us to say, “What is the function of this emotion? What is the value [it represents]? What is this emotion trying to tell me?”
Within that, it’s important for us to recognize that our emotions are data, not directions. Because you feel guilty doesn’t mean you need to feel guilty. Because you feel angry doesn’t mean you need to attack the people that you’re angry with.
What are we saying this? One of us was in Pittsburgh this week, staying with friends who have two little ones in a JCC preschool. The friends happen to be secular Christians who enrolled at the J because it’s comparatively flexible and affordable. This J hasn’t been targeted by threatening phone calls, but it felt ominous to be there twice a day, dropping off and picking up two beautiful babies of 33 months and 9 months, even as a nephew’s Jewish school in Philadelphia was evacuated. Meanwhile, another nephew’s JCC daycare was evacuated a few weeks ago in St. Louis, as were friends’ kids’ in Syracuse and Minneapolis.
What to do with the feelings of dread and anger? The article gives a non-answer that somehow helps a little:
Many people are feeling really troubled at the moment, and when we think about being fearful or angry, people tell us to control our fear, our anger, and do away with it… [But] These emotions are normal, and help us to position ourselves effectively in the world. Courage is not an absence of fear. Courage is fear walking. It’s not about doing away with your fear, but recognizing your fear, your anger, and still choosing to walk in the direction of your values.
Surely we’re all feeling a version of this emotion on whichever current event cuts closest. It seems important to admit we feel unpleasant emotions, even as we maintain normalcy as an act of resistance.
(Image by Mike Lehmann/Mike Switzerland (March 2007) via Wikimedia Commons, used under CC-BY-SA-3.0.)
Reading has been shown, over and over, to help readers of all ages develop empathy. Here are a couple of things we’ve been reading lately that may help students face the current situation.
As reported by The Atlantic, teachers are using historical fiction to help students put the current moment, and its impacts on various groups of people, in context. “Using Historical Fiction to Connect Past and Present” is worth a read, if only for the titles sprinkled throughout that may come in handy. There’s also a nice take on how teachers can help students make comparisons even if politics is a touchy subject in their classrooms.
And while teachers must obviously be wary of making false equivalencies or grand generalizations, understanding history more thoroughly than what’s offered in, for example, a textbook leads students to an educated examination of current events. For example, referring to possible comparisons with the treatment of Japanese Americans during the internment, Levstik explains the need for teachers to ask: “When somebody says they’re going to lock up people on the basis of their religion, their ethnic background, their point of origin, what does that look like in our history?”
And from New York Magazine, a curated list of books about immigration and refugees. Go check it out.
Soon after Donald Trump enacted his travel ban, the Upper West Side’s Bank Street Book Store posted a photo of front-facing titles to its Facebook page. “Don’t be at a loss for words when explaining to children that the heart and soul of America is to welcome others to our country who need a safe place to make a home,” the caption read. “Books like these help.”
Here’s a school resource about the basics of Muslims’ religious practices: An Educator’s Guide to Islamic Religious Practices.
It’s a brief informational bulletin developed by the Oklahoma chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), a Muslim civil liberties organization (read about CAIR here).
The bulletin is meant purpose is to increase administrators’ and teachers’ awareness of Muslim students’ basic religious tenets and practices. You can download it here, too.
The brief guide collects a lot of basic but useful information in one place. It addresses personal modesty (esp. head coverings for adolescent girls); gender relations, with particular reference to sports and P.E. activities; major holidays; and the rules of fasting and prayer. It ends with a bulleted summary of key issues and basic principles for respecting student practices.
If you want to learn more about teaching students about Islam, the Teaching Tolerance website provides a list of online platforms. Among them is the Islamic Network Group (ING), which provides curricula about Islam for middle school and high school students.