Be a Mural Maker and Shaper

Mural Infographic

8 Ways to Use Murals to Open New Worlds, Share Perspectives and Explore History

1.  Highlight Celebrations or Events

Consider a mural project for your school or organization. This could showcase an historical anniversary, some cultural achievements or a special community event. The subject matter a cooperative venture among your student body, staff, volunteers and community. Start with a list of themes and be sure that the message of the mural is hopeful and uplifting.

2.  Represent All Ethnic Groups
Murals should represent the aspirations and hopes of all of the diverse individuals and families that make up a community or neighborhood. Be sure to include and represent all of the genealogies of your participants in your mural depiction.

3.  Create a Mural Unveiling Day
Whether the mural is within a school, community center, business or other organization, consider establishing a special day when the mural is unveiled.  Incorporate special music, a narrative that explains the creation of the mural and its message, and perhaps even food or kid-friendly beverages to round out the event.

4.  Explore Various Mural Options
Don’t limit murals to interior walls!  Consider sharing the message of your mural with the outside world.  An exterior mural can be an ideal way to share your values and mission with the neighborhood and wider world.   Another idea is to use murals in smaller ways.   For example, contacting your city to find out if you can paint murals on city park benches might be another way to explore murals with themes that are relevant to your community or neighborhood

5.  Represent Heroes and Heroines
Whether past or present, there are many women and men who have a significant impact on how the world is shaped. Using a robust process among your class or group, a specific hero or heroine from either the past or present can be selected as the subject of the mural and how he or she has achieved something through taking a stand

6.  Celebrate Holidays Creatively
Holidays such as Thanksgiving and the 4th of July are celebrated by many. But for others, these can be painful reminders of history, stereotypes, or even a time when they miss loved ones.  Select holidays such as these as a time to create murals that move beyond celebrating to finding purpose so that everyone can enjoy the holiday.  For example:  On the 4th of July try a mural that represents the promise and potential of America and the Constitution.  On Thanksgiving: what are ways that diverse groups can come together in gratitude?

7.  Honor the Peacekeeping of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
Consider creating a mural that remembers the many wise words, actions and deeds of Dr. King and unveil this around the date of his birthday in January. This mural can be accompanied by a day of service and celebration in your community such as writing wishes of peace on ribbons, tying them on helium-filled balloons and sending them off into the greater world.

8.  Reflect on the Reasons for Mural-making

Murals can be beautiful art forms. Consider the many reasons for your community mural as well as its style.  Ancient.  Historic.  Modern.  Pride.  Hope.  Inspiration.  Action.  Thanksgiving.  Remembrance.  Memorial.  Protest.  Uplifting.  Encouraging.

  _________________________________

Mural art, while not housed in a museum can be priceless and have a significant impact on a community. Mural making can create a welcoming environment while forging greater sense of community is sharpened. Pride flows. The bonds between people are made stronger.

 


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A Simple Story about History…and Courage

By Dovie Thomason

Story Summary:

Dovie weaves history within her narratives to engage listeners in the context of her life experiences as Native American. What happens when a narrative is described both as “massacre” and “victory”? Are we responsible for our ancestors’ actions? (more…)

The Story You Live (John Brown’s Fatal Decision)

By Doug Lipman

Story Summary:

Some people live their lives in such a way that the story of their life, after they die, accomplishes what they could not. This little-known story about U.S. abolitionist John Brown shows us his last, most courageous – and most effective – decision. (more…)

Lurking in the Silence: The KKK Haunts A Michigan Town

By Jeff Doyle

Story Summary:

The small town of Howell has a secret. Its reputation has been tainted by the once Grand Dragon of the Ku Klux Klan, Robert Miles. Jeff and his wife make the decision to move to Howell as they ponder how they can make a difference. (more…)

We Don’t Match: Experiences of a Transracial Adoptive Family

By Cindy Rivka Marshall

Story Summary:
A transracial, non-traditional family (two white women with one biological child and one adopted child who was born in China) have dealt with many rude questions and often have not been perceived as a family. (more…)

A Jewish Woman and Her German Friend

By Cindy Rivka Marshall

Story Summary:

Cindy is an American Jewish college student studying in Paris when she meets Sabine, a German student. Their friendship feels almost illicit in the wake of World War II and the Holocaust. How does Sabine prove to be an ally? (more…)

Tales – and Conversations – from Beyond the Ban

By Milbre Burch

Story Summary:

A college teacher learns traditional tales to advocate for international students whose countries have been targeted by an anti-Muslim travel ban. Interviewing the students about the tales they grew up hearing uncovers images that help them endure. (more…)

Atlanta’s First Black Millionaire and His Crystal Palace

By Chetter Galloway

Story Summary:

Alonzo F. Herndon owned a barbershop that catered to whites only. Because of the Jim Crow laws, the black people who worked at the barbershop and even Alonzo himself had to enter by the rear door. How did the 1906 Atlanta Race Riots affect Alonzo? (more…)

Be Human – Find the George Within You!

By Sadika Kebbi

Story Summary:

Sadika witnessed the Lebanese civil war. The atrocities and the horrors can change a human being into a monster. Is there any hope for tolerance, love and forgiveness after such an experience? “Uncle George” made the difference. (more…)

Urban Renewal and Vanport, Oregon in the 1940s

By Chetter Galloway

Story Summary:

During World War II, a young African-American couple relocates from Georgia to Vanport, Oregon in pursuit of the American dream. But the dream turns into a nightmare due to a major catastrophe and they have to decide if they should move back home. (more…)

Spark Matsunaga: U.S. Senator and Warrior Poet

By Alton Takiyama-Chung

Story Summary:

Spark Matsunaga was a member of the 100th Battalion in WWII. He was elected to be a U.S. Senator from Hawaii and spearheaded the Redress Act through the Senate compensating Japanese Americans who were incarcerated in the U.S. during WWII. (more…)

Chinese Immigrants Help Complete the Transcontinental Railroad

By Alton Takiyama-Chung

Story Summary:

Two young men leave China and voyage to Gam Saan, Gold Mountain (San Francisco), America in 1850. They become two of the 12,000 Chinese who are hired by to help complete the first Transcontinental Railroad across the United States. (more…)

A Letter From Gold Mountain

By Alton Takiyama-Chung

Story Summary:

Two young men leave China and voyage to Gam Saan, Gold Mountain (San Francisco) America, in 1850. One of them writes a letter home to tell of their adventures, misfortunes, and of a promise to his best friend, which he could not keep. (more…)

Cielito Lindo, Lovely Piece of Heaven: A Bully Tale

By Leeny Del (del Castillo) Seamonds

Story Summary:

After years of being bullied in school and teased, especially by her sister, Leeny’s Cuban grandmother teaches her a song and a Spanish phrase that changes Leeny’s perspective on beauty and, therefore, on her life. (more…)

The Strange System of Human Society: Creature Tells His Tale

By Jon Spelman

Story Summary:

In this excerpt, Jon Spelman uses Mary Shelley’s elevated language as he moves from the Narrator’s to the Creature’s perspective to help us think about the ways we treat and classify each other. What are our basic responsibilities to one another? (more…)

Two Women: Alone in the Vast Alaskan Wilderness

By Ingrid Nixon

 

Story Summary:

When their hunting party was suddenly attacked by a rival group, two upper Kuskokwim women escaped the onslaught to find themselves alone on the wild Alaskan landscape. With slim resources in such a vast, unforgiving wilderness would they survive? (more…)

No Friends but the Mountains

By Diane Edgecomb

Story Summary:

An encounter with a young, Kurdish refugee leaves Diane face to face with how her government is perceived outside of her own country. How could this brief exchange, where neither could speak the other’s language, lead to a lifetime of advocacy?

(more…)

Raising a Glass to My Teachers

By Pam Faro

Story Summary:

Pam Faro grew up in very white central Wisconsin. Decades later, over a glass of wine with family, she learned that something she’d always done innocently was racially hurtful. How could a class taken way back in high school be of any help?

(more…)

It was 1966 in Warrensburg, Missouri

By Joyce Slater

Story Summary:

On Joyce’s first day of college she met Catherine. Catherine was Black and Joyce was Caucasian. Their friendship was not a normal sight for small town, Missouri in 1966. How could Joyce ever really know the prejudice Catherine faced? (more…)

Mexicans Say No To Despair

By Valentina Ortiz

Story Summary:

Mexico is at war. This war is not about drugs but about mining and fracking. “The disappeared” is a new expression; it refers to those who just vanished from the streets. The 27,000 men and women who “disappeared” in 2017, will they reappear one day? (more…)

The Lei Queen Contest in Honolulu, Hawaii: A Small Incident

By Jeff Gere

Story Summary:

In Hawaii, Jeff Gere meets a Samoan man, who tells him his history of crime and prison. “What turned your life around?” Jeff asked. What do you think can change the direction of a life? Listen, and Jeff will tell you what the Samoan man said. (more…)

Icebreakers!

ice breakers list

Student Groups: Strategies that Facilitate Positive Interactions

How many of us have felt uncomfortable approaching someone new to a group we are used to? Unsure of what to say to them? Worry that they may find us strange or abnormal? Concerned that we may not have anything in common with this new person? Students are no different. They encounter regular situations of interacting with someone unfamiliar. Below are some helpful activities for creating warm, welcoming atmospheres for students in your classroom who are not afraid to spend time with someone different from themselves. 

Begin the school year (or new term) with icebreaker activities that allow all students to interact with one another simultaneously. Leveling the playing field makes group interactions much less intimidating for all. Below are a few examples of icebreakers:

Identify and Match a Pair!

  • List out several pairs of items that belong together such as peanut butter/jelly, salt/pepper, pencil/paper, chair/table, chips/salsa, milk/cookies, cheese/crackers, etc. (Feel free to add cultural pairs, celebrities, fictional or historical characters, etc.).
  • Write the items on note cards, one item per card.
  • Randomly tape one card to the back of each student. (Make sure that you have a match for every item. You may need to participate if you have an odd number of students.)
  • Students must ask yes/no questions of other classmates to try to figure out the item taped to their back.Once students have determined their own items, they must seek out their matching pair..

Snowball Fight!

  • Each student writes down three bits of information about themselves on three separate sheets of paper – no names on the papers.
  •  Have students crumple up the papers into balls.
  • Snowball fight for 30 seconds! (Students love this part!)
  • When time is up, students retrieve 3 random papers.
  • Each student reads the papers, and the class tries to determine who is described on each paper..

Who Is It?

  • Create a list of experiences (at least as many as there are students) that students can relate to.  Students must go around the classroom and ask classmates who identifies with each experience. Only one name can be recorded on the list for each experience. This requires all students talk to every other student in the room, while minimizing the fear of approaching someone new because everyone is doing this. Here are some sample experiences to include on the list:
    • Hates broccoli
    • Broke a bone
    • Traveled to or lived in a foreign country
    • Speaks more than one language
    • Has more than 3 siblings
    • Plays an instrument
    • Has gone camping
    • Has been on a boat
    • Has attended a concert.

Tons more ideashttp://www.icebreakers.ws/good-icebreakers-by-name

Write a Bio-Poem! This is an 11-line poem that students complete about themselves, and then share with the class. It is a great way for students to learn about each other, while developing more comfort with others in the room. Below is a link where you can find the template for this type of poem: http://www.ehow.com/info_7978561_bio-poems.html

 _______________________________

If you like this subject you will enjoy RaceBridges resource

INCLUDING EVERYONE: Small Changes to Create a Welcoming Classroom

 

 


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10 Clues to Spot Cyber-Bullying

Cyber-bullying is carried out in order to shame, embarrass, tease or frighten the receiver.  Messages are often electronically sent from an “anonymous” sender.  Can you spot a cyber-bully?

The following 10 electronic clues could be signs of cyber-bullying behavior among your students:

  1. Posting humiliating or embarrassing memes or other edited images to mock a student on social media
  2. Asking a student to take "private" photos or videos and then forwarding to other students
  3. Intentionally taking embarrassing photos or videos of a student without permission and sharing it with others
  4. Catfishing a student by pretending to be someone else with a malicious intent to hurt the student
  5. Sending repeated messages through email, texts or social media chats that are cruel, demeaning, or threatening
  6. Posting gossip, rumors or lies about a student in group chats or on social media
  7. Encouraging other students to troll and flame a student by posting mean comments in social media
  8. Vicious gaming such constantly destroying a particular student's avatars, characters or properties on purpose
  9. Creating an online group or website for the purpose of mocking certain students
  10. Repeated sending of neutral messages to a student at all hours of the day that become harassing and annoying

When this occurs in a serious way personal, home, classroom and school intervention is needed.

RaceBridges recommends this detailed resource on the complex problem of Cyber-Bullying: cyberbullying.org.

__________

A number of RaceBridges resources can be found by searching “bullying” on: RaceBridgesStudio.com

 


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Creating a Classroom Diversity Checklist

As this school year comes to an end, teachers around the country take a brief break from the classroom. This summer is a perfect time to reflect on the school year. What went well? What could you do better? How did your students do – did they meet your expectations academically?

You know that the diversity in American schools and classrooms is rapidly increasing each year. Think about how you can further incorporate diversity into your lessons. What can you do to reach your students where they are, and help them to master the necessary academic concepts for advancement? What can you do to facilitate awareness and understanding between cultures?

Below is a checklist for creating classrooms that embrace diversity, and therefore, a school that strives for the success of all its students.

Classroom Diversity Checklist:

………….  
red-check Do you discuss many different cultures throughout the school year?

For example: social studies might cover countries or wars; language arts might cover literature by cultural authors or read works about differing cultures; art or music classes might cover cultural songs or painting styles; etc.
red-check

Do you use instruction that includes a wide variety of techniques intended to appeal to a wide variety of student learning styles?

Are you using Multiple Intelligences (Harvard professor Howard Gardner’s theory suggesting a much more comprehensive method of identifying intelligence and learning styles of people)? Do you gear lessons toward visual, auditory, and kinesthetic learners? Do you offer activities that foster collaboration and cooperation amongst students?

  • Follow this link to learn more about Multiple Intelligences and education: http://www.thomasarmstrong.com/multiple_intelligences.php
red-check

Do you construct your lessons around Bloom’s Taxonomy of Higher Thinking?

This method, created by Benjamin Bloom, focuses on the development of higher level thinking skills in students. It utilizes hands-on experiences to teach mastery at progressively more challenging levels of thinking. Use the tiered method to develop the critical and creative thinking skills of all your students.Follow these links to learn more about Bloom’s Taxonomy of Higher Thinking:

  • http://eduscapes.com/tap/topic69.htm
  • http://www.teach-nology.com/worksheets/time_savers/bloom/
red-check Do you build technology use into your lessons?

Teachers should be utilizing technology in instructional techniques as much as they should be creating activities for students to use technology.
red-check Do you use hands-on activities in your lessons?

Hands-on allows students to experience new things – new cultures, new artifacts, new stories, new cuisine, new dances. Experience builds understanding.
red-check Do you assess your students using unbiased and balanced methods?

For example: tests should include a variety of cultures in questions. Students should also be assessed in multiple ways, never simply one.
red-check Do you offer choices for students, in projects or assignments?

Giving options to students promotes ownership and understanding. Students are able to choose something more relatable to their own background.
red-check Do you encourage group work?

Students who work in groups learn more effectively about backgrounds and cultures from their peers and in less formal environments. Group work builds understanding and empathy.
red-check Do you use a variety of communication styles in your teaching arsenal?

A wider array of communication will reach a larger number of students and will allow them to reach mastery of skills more effectively.
red-check Does your school openly value diversity?

Do they celebrate accomplishments of prominent cultural figures? Are there school-wide events that celebrate multiculturalism?
red-check Does your school have faculty members from a wide variety of backgrounds?

Visit the link below for fantastic information on diversity in education, as well as another checklist for teachers and schools: http://education.washington.edu/cme/DiversityUnity.pdf

 


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Release September 1, 2017


“ … Bridges are more important than Boundaries …”
Pope Francis September 15, 2015

RELEASE
September 1, 2017.

27 NEW RaceBridges VIDEOS PUBLISHED

OVER 200 STORYTELLER VIDEOS NOW IN THE RACEBRIDGES COLLECTION!

 

Techny IL. Derek Simons SVD through Bridges ministry at Techny has produced 27 new storyteller videos. The videos are original short stories about race relations, diversity and inclusion. Simons worked with creative partner Susan O’Halloran and CVP Productions in Kansas City shooting original stories by professional storytellers from around the U.S. and overseas. Post production and online work was completed by Capture Hits Inc.

The slate of new productions now increases the RaceBridges collection to the significant milestone of 213 videos. All the videos can be accessed on RaceBridgesStudio.com. Each of the videos have transcripts which are also downloadable. Brief descriptions of the 27 stories can be seen on the next page as well as photographs of the storytellers.

Derek Simons said of these videos : “These true stories contain much pain and challenge. They contain many tears of sorrow. But they also contain tears of laughter and much redemptive dignity.”

The videos are being placed on a variety of social media, on the online platform of the National Storytelling Network and also via the professional live and online outreach of the storytellers.

These short online stories provide ideal springboards for discussion starters for groups and individuals exploring race relations and interculturality. They easily fit a variety of local contexts and needs. Difference & Belonging is an online guide to the themes of all the video stories. It can be found on the RaceBridgesStudio.com Home Page.

In addition to the video collection there are hundreds of texts, ideas and lesson plans on the site that explore race relations and diversity.

To view the new 27 short videos go to :
http://racebridgesstudio.com/category/fall2017videos/

Further information :
Simons@racebridges.net


THEMES OF THE NEW 27
RACEBRIDGES VIDEO RELEASES : FALL 2017

Information : www.RaceBridgesStudio.com

Because I’m Jewish, Doesn’t Mean I Have Horns: An Encounter with Anti-Semitism in Appalachia

By Storyteller Laura Packer

Story Summary

At 14, storyteller Laura Packer visited friends living in the rural south and encountered negative assumptions about Judaism for the first time. How she responded could have made the situation much worse, but she found a way to keep her dignity and maybe break down some ancient, inaccurate beliefs at the same time. (more…)

Mother Jones: The Most Dangerous Woman in America

by Pippa White

Story Summary

Someone once called her a humanitarian. “I’m not a humanitarian,” she replied. “I’m a hell-raiser!” And she was. She was over fifty years old, she weighed one hundred pounds, and she was under five feet tall. And yet she was called by the United States Government, “the Most Dangerous Woman in America.” Come and hear what she has to say. Come and hear how she changed the world. (more…)

A Change of Heart: Muslims & Whites Crossing Cultures in a Memphis Neighborhood

By Storyteller Kate Dudding

Story Summary

In 2010 when the members of the Memphis Islamic Center bought property on the street nicknamed Church Road, they thought they’d have a hard time proving to their Christian neighbors that they were a peaceful community. When the pastor of the Methodist church across the road learned of the purchase, he didn’t know what he should do.  (more…)

Riding the Dog: A Talmudic Christmas in the Suburbs

By Joseph Sobol

Story Summary

While Joseph’s father and his neighbor debate whether a good Jewish family in a New York suburb should have a Christmas tree, 6-year-old Joseph plots how to ride the family’s English setter, Freckles, the way cowboys ride horses in the Westerns. Joseph succeeds – for about a second and a half – but then the tree, the decorations, the lights, the jar full of pennies, the glass and the cat go flying! Joseph’s neighbor, a conservative Jew, surveys the disaster and pronounces that this is proof the Sobol’s should not have had a tree! (more…)

Hey, I’m Black Too! So, Where Do I Fit In?

By Mama Edie McLoud Armstrong

Story Summary

Because she had grown up in a predominately white community during the turbulent Civil Rights years, when Mama Edie’s new friend, Renee, went to college she learned the pain of being treated as an outsider by some of the other African American students.  But Mama Edie and Renee both learned that a strong sense of identity can combat bullying, provide a sense of direction and belonging and create meaningful bonds that can last a lifetime.  (more…)

Finding Light in the Dungeons of Ghana with Mother Mary Carter Smith

By Storyteller Mama Edie McLoud Armstrong

Story Summary

When Mama Edie and Mother Mary Carter Smith, Co-Founder of the National Association of Black Storytellers, Inc. enter the dark dungeons of Ghana, West Africa, where people were imprisoned for the Trans-Atlantic slave trade, unexpected things begin to occur.  This story speaks to how one can perceive and be guided by just a small beam of light, finding strength, hope and direction despite barbaric and seemingly hopeless situations.  (more…)

Culture Shock: An Israeli Immigrant Learns America

By Storyteller Noa Baum

Story Summary

Noa arrived from Israel to America in 1990 the month Iraq invaded Kuwait and threatened to attack Israel. She arrived from a place where everyone walked around with boxes of gas masks in case they were attacked with mustard gas, to the quiet peaceful college town of Davis, California. To call it culture shock would not do it justice…

Here is the story of crossing over and learning to live in a culture where the perceptions of time, space and values are completely different from your own.  (more…)

Peacemaking Beyond Borders – An Israeli Palestinian Friendship

By Noa Baum

Story Summary

Noa grew up in Jerusalem, Israel. In America, she met a Palestinian woman who also grew up in Jerusalem, only on the “other side”. Their friendship inspired her to tell the stories of their families that echo the contradicting national narratives of their people. Noa continues to use the transformative power of storytelling for peacemaking through her memoir A Land Twice Promised: An Israeli Woman’s Quest for Peace. (more…)

Every Day is Basil Houpis Day: Bullying Doesn’t Stop After High School

By Storyteller Robin Bady

Story Summary

Robin was in middle school.  Basil Houpis had just moved to the U.S. from Greece, and he was different. He barely spoke English, wore mismatched clothes and smelled funny. Everyone picked on him mercilessly.  It was not until Robin went to her 30th high school reunion that she was able to take a stand.  (more…)

A Twist of Fate: My Jewish Father in World War II

By Storyteller Heather Forest

Story Summary

Heather tells of the odd twist of fate that saved her father’s life when he, along with all the other Jewish teenagers in his neighborhood, gave up their personal life plans and enlisted in the U.S. army to go fight Hitler in 1942.  (more…)

Grow to Give: An Interfaith Food Equity Project

By Storyteller Heather Forest

Story Summary

The true tale of how storytelling inspired a group of diverse religious leaders in the town of Huntington, NY, to dig up their congregational lawns, grow vegetables tended by congregants, and then donate the produce to local food pantries.  (more…)

My Chinese Grandfather

by Brenda Wong Aoki

Story Summary

As a child, Brenda visits her Grandfather who collects, dries and sells seaweed along the coast of California. When she is older, she helps him with his work. Brenda finds his ways strange and the work hard, but the two find unique ways of talking and enjoying each other’s company.  (more…)

On the Train to the Japanese American Incarceration Camps

by Brenda Wong Aoki

Story Summary

Brenda recounts a story that was told to her by a woman who was a nurse and who, along with 120,000 of other Japanese Americans, was forced to leave her home and all she and her husband owned to be imprisoned in Incarceration Camps during WWII. A baby who should have been in the hospital is placed on board the train to the camps with her mother. The nurse does all she can to help the mother and baby but the end-result is out of her hands. (more…)

Racism on the Road and Into the Next Generation

by Brenda Wong Aoki

Story Summary

Brenda performs a children’s song in Japanese and is told to stop using “demonic language” and is called “a witch.” She is told by a producer that he is disappointed she isn’t a “real” Japanese. Unfortunately, the bias and ignorance Brenda encounters on the road is also visited on the next generation as Brenda learns that her son is mistaken for another Japanese American student who looks completely different from her son. (more…)

The Brownlee’s Migration

By Storyteller Kucha Brownlee

 

Story Summary

Kucha’s Grandfather had a marketable skill and a spiritual home in the South after the Civil War. With a large family and plenty of hard work, life was good in Mississippi. But, one incident changed everything.  Suddenly the whole family became immigrants – packing up and moving out of Mississippi. (more…)

First Generation Chicagoan – No Pigeon Holing

By Storyteller Kucha Brownlee

Story Summary

Kucha was born in the North, but her Southern family values and ties came North with her family. In this story, Kucha wonders why everyone feels the need to pigeon hole other people? She knows that a strong family defies stereotypes and grows love.  (more…)

Tewas Go Home

By Eldrena Douma

Story Summary

A poster appeared and words were being spoken on the school yard. “Tewas Go Home”! After hearing these words from other students and seeing the poster at the Trading Post, she needed answers. In a state of confusion, Eldrena asked her Tewa-Hopi grandmother, Nellie Douma, what those words meant. Why would her Hopi relatives talk that way? Was this land that they lived on in Arizona not their homeland? Go home to where? These were the questions she could not answer on her own.

Eldrena had never felt uncomfortable about going to school or where she lived. But after hearing these words from other students and seeing posters at the Trading Post, she needed to find out answers. This way of talking confused and scared her. But after hearing the “hand me down story”, it gave Eldrena a sense of pride and taught her about integrity and keeping one’s word no matter how much time passes. (more…)

Being Black Enough: Bullying and Race Discrimination

By Storyteller Linda Gorham

Story Summary

In kindergarten, Linda dressed in green for St. Patrick’s Day, was told by a teacher, “My, my, I’ve never seen an Irish N-word before!” In 7th grade, Linda was told by her classmates, “You act white! You dress white! You have white people’s hair…” And then, the taunting began, “Linda is a white girl, Linda is a white girl!” It took Linda a long time to understand what it means to be Black.  (more…)

My Japanese Parents’ Unromantic Marriage

by Karin Amano

Story Summary

Karin never dreamed about marriage growing up because of her Japanese parents’ unromantic arranged marriage. But when her father had a severe stroke and fell into a profound state of dementia, her mother, who had very bad knees, struggled through her pain to go to the hospital every day for two months to teach him how to read, write, and talk again… until a miracle happened and Karin learned to appreciate her parent’s relationship. (more…)

Loss and Acceptance

By Karin Amano

Story Summary:

Karin had been a practical Asian woman and everything, such as “going to America by age 24”, “being a professional actor by 31”, “finding a partner from match.com by age 37”, “getting pregnant by age 40”, had been happening exactly as she planned. A sudden stillbirth of her baby boy changed her view, and she overcame the grief through the help of storytelling at a support group, workplace, and in her Japanese blog.  (more…)

When a Japanese City Person Moves into a Small Town in America

By Storyteller Karin Amano

Story Summary:

Five years ago, when Karin moved to a small town in the Midwest after previously living in Tokyo, New York City and Orlando, Florida she worried at first about fitting in but was glad to find that people seemed overall friendly and open-minded. Very recently, however, she had a troubling encounter with racism and told her story to her friends (one Caucasian and two African American sisters) in town as well as her Jewish husband and got very different responses.  (more…)

Arriving in Bulgaria: Overturning Assumptions in the Communist Era

By Storyteller Priscilla Howe

Story Summary

When Priscilla Howe traveled to Communist Bulgaria in the 1980s, she found herself in a difficult situation. She found help from a Bulgarian man who reminded her to look beyond appearances.  (more…)

Sagebrush Santa: Christmas, 1942 in the Minidoka Internment Camp

By Alton Takiyama-Chung

Story Summary

Five-year-old Kiyoshi, tries his best to make sense of his world which has been turned upside down since Japan attacked a place called Pearl Harbor. Since his father was taken away, he has had to leave his home, and spend the summer in a horse stall in the big city of Portland, Oregon. He has gone on his first train ride ever and has ended up near Twin Falls, Idaho in a place called Minidoka. It is Christmas Eve, 1942 and Santa will be coming soon. (more…)

Exotic Food: The Legendary Origin of a Chinese American Dish

by Storyteller Alton Takiyama-Chung

Story Summary

People from all over the world came to America in the 1850s in search of riches during the California Gold Rush.  Many young Chinese men immigrated to America to earn money to support their families in China.  They experienced discrimination and violence, and could only live in specially designated areas, which became locally known as Chinatown.  Chinese food was considered to be “exotic” by the Lo Fan or White people.  This story follows one of the legends surrounding the origins of a popular Chinese American dish.  No one knows when or where the dish was invented and that makes for a good myth.  (more…)

Becoming a Woman of Color: Discovery in the Philippines

By Storyteller Rebecca Mabanglo-Mayor

Story Summary

Rebecca, a Filipino American, grew up in nearly all-white neighborhoods and schools. In 2000, she began reconnecting with her Filipino heritage and became a woman of color.  (more…)

December 7, 1941: An Eyewitness to the Attack on Pearl Harbor, Hawaii

by Alton Takiyama-Chung

Story Summary

Charles Ishikawa grew up in Plantation camps in Waipahu, Hawaii in the 1930s and 1940s.  He was 14 years old and on his way to his high school basketball practice when Japanese planes attacked Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941.  He saw the planes diving like sea birds over the ships in the harbor.  After Marshall Law was declared, he helped patrol the Plantation camps to make sure that no lights shown out at night.  He was issued a gas mask at school and helped dig an air raid shelter in his backyard.  He and his family took down and burned everything that was Japanese in their home.  They were Americans, but worried if they were American enough.  (more…)

That’s What My People Do: Facing Prejudice in a 1960s High School

By Eunice Jarrett

Story Summary

High school students organizing a memorial service for a teacher trigger an emotional process for Eunice who is asked to step out of her comfort zone, again.  Family life and school life create race-related expectations.

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The White Boys: Korean-Puerto Rican Girl Seeks Anybody

by Storyteller Elizabeth Gomez

Story Summary:

In The White Boys, Elizabeth tells of her struggle to be comfortable with her own identity outside the boundaries of the racial norm. She tells of the normal awkward struggles of adolescent love with the addition of struggling to find acceptance of her own racial features.  (more…)

The Colfax Louisiana Massacre: A Story about Reconstruction

By Zahra Glenda Baker

Story Summary:

This is Zahra’s personal story of reconnecting with her siblings and learning about how history is told through the voice of the “hunter”. On a journey back to their Louisiana birthplace, Zahra and her siblings uncover a story of an event that affects the lives of their family, community and the nation. (more…)

The Importance of Representation on Our Stages: Role Models for Young Audiences

By Rives Collins

Story Summary:

In this story, Rives Collins, Assistant Professor at Northwestern University,  recalls his work directing plays for children.  He shares the discoveries the young people helped him make regarding the importance of representation on our stages and the significance of role models for our children. (more…)

My Life as an Engrish to English Translator: Learning to Accept My Korean Immigrant Mother

 by Elizabeth Gomez

Story Summary:

A story about Elizabeth, an “Army brat”, who must navigate the world for her Korean immigrant mother. Through this process she learns to stop being embarrassed by her mother and shifts to fighting for her. (more…)

Standing on the Wall of Derry: An Irish American Confronts the Irish Conflict

By Margaret Burk

Story Summary:

Finding herself on a historical tour of the Wall of Derry in Northern Ireland, Margaret discovers within herself that she is holding on to an ancestral hostility, the kind of hostility that perpetuates hatred, violence and war.  Is this who she wants to be? (more…)

A Brilliant Day: A Dutch Woman’s Courageous Travels in Nazi Occupied Holland

by Peter R. LeGrand

Story Summary:

This story weaves present day observations with the true accounts of Peter’s grandmother, a Dutch Jew, and the incredible journeys she went through during the time of Nazi occupied Holland during World War II. As Peter takes a bike ride along Chicago’s lakefront, observing the ease and comfort of modern day life, he remembers his grandmother’s stories of the dangers of riding a bicycle across rural Holland to secure food for her husband and children. The contrasts of modern living are highlighted against the fears of appearing in public as a Jew during the war.  (more…)

Columbian Runaway: A Latina Pushes Back on the Role of Women

 by Jasmin Cardenas

Story Summary:
Jasmin takes you into the rabbit hole of panic that she faces when she gets engaged to be married. Questions about her identity and her role as a woman surface as she tries to weed through old world Latino expectations while being an educated American woman today.  (more…)

Stand Up! Redlining During the Great Migration and Marching in Marquette Park with Dr. Martin Luther King

by Mama Edie McLoud Armstrong

Story Summary:

Take the journey with 14-year old Mama Edie as she relives her 1966 experience of marching through the violent streets of Marquette Park in Chicago, Illinois with Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.  Ride the back of the train “up north” in the “Negro section” during the Great Migration from the slave south in search of a better life to only find the practices of “redlining” and Jim Crow blocking your way to a better life for your family.  NOW take a serious look at someone who would tell you to “just get over it.”  How do you heal?

50 years later, Mama Edie was in Marquette Park again to commemorate the original march! (more…)

Surviving and Thriving: When Racism Destroyed 1920s Black Wall Street in Tulsa Oklahoma

By Shanta Nurullah

Story Summary:

This family story describes Shanta’s father and grandparents’ escape from the 1921 Tulsa Oklahoma Massacre. Shanta’s grandfather, a tailor, was forced to flee with his family to Chicago where he was able to re-establish his business. (more…)

Black & White: Stereotypes and Privilege

by Storyteller Diggsy Twain

Story Summary:

Diggsy Twain, an African American man, tells a friend about an encounter he had on a train and what he did to stop the stereotype that all black men are angry. Then after telling his story he realizes anyone can stereotype the “other.”  (more…)

Fit In or Stand Out: An African-American’s Battle to Fit into White Culture

 by Storyteller E.B. Diggs

Story Summary:

As a teen E.B. liked being unique but his coaches wanted him to fit in. Then years later as an attorney he wants to hire someone who reminds him of himself. He decides to hire her and let her find out if she wants to fit in or standout.  (more…)

Zebra Children: A Guide to Interracial Dating from the Closet for Immigrants and their Children

by Storyteller Archy Jamjun

Please Note : The following video is part of a comedy routine. The video includes some mild sexual content.

Story Summary:

When in high school, Archy and his Thai family get into a fight about him dating a black girl. Years later, when Archy came out to his mother, he finds that his mother’s racial attitudes have conveniently changed.  (more…)

My Names: Gender Expectations for a Taiwanese Woman

By Ada Cheng

Story Summary:

In this story, Ada Cheng explains the meanings of her Chinese name: Shu-Ju. She explains the connection between her name, her parents’ expectations for her as a daughter, and the cultural expectations for her as a daughter. She details why she chose to stay with the name Ada and what Ada means to her life and her identity. (more…)

To Prove You Are Legal: Immigration from Taiwan

 by Storyteller Ada Cheng

Story Summary:

In this story, Ada Cheng explores her experience with the U.S. citizenship ceremony. She discusses the institutionalized vulnerability that immigrants are subject to during the process of becoming Americans. She also compares her experience as a naturalized citizen with that of one of her invited guests, an older African American man.  (more…)

Complexions of Love: Biracial Children and Folks Who Are Just “Too Dark”

by Storyteller Mama Edie McLoud Armstrong

Story Summary:

This story speaks to the cruelty of the imposed mental conditioning that inspires people to come to despise their own natural attributes. Mama Edie refers to her father who was considered “too dark” to marry her mother by Mama Edie’s great aunt. Mama Edie also reflects on her Mexican American cousin, who thought she looked “too light” or “too Mexican” to feel like a truly loved member of the family. The story explores how this toxic conditioning has often led to people seeing themselves as being “less than,” not as “beautiful” or well-loved. It further explores the impact this can have on family and other relationships, such that Mama Edie’s cousin felt that she didn’t quite belong anywhere.  It ends with a song segment sung in Spanish by Mama Edie that celebrates the beauty and strength of so-called “people of color.”  (more…)

Rosie the Riveter Part III

By Judith Black

Story Summary:

During WWII, men fought on the eastern and western front, but Rosie was the soldier on the home front. Working all shifts and all jobs she plowed her way through a workplace woven with sexism and racism and despite it all, this gal had production levels that turned heads. In this excerpt, you’ll meet an African American Rosie who changed the nature of a 1944 workplace. (more…)

15 WAYS TO TEACH CIVILITY TO CHILDREN

Today’s world is more diverse than ever.  People come from many different cultures and upbringings which can result in conflict and misunderstandings.  Children, from a very young age, need to be taught how to challenge differences in a way that is respectful and productive. 

  • Lead by example
  • Think before you act, or speak
  • Be Kind - always apply the golden rule and be respectful and polite to others
  • Apologize when you’re wrong
  • Disagree with humor, intelligence and intentional understanding
  • Listen with an open mind , free of emotional roadblocks like anger
  • Build character with skills like respect and empathy both at home and at school
  • Demand civility from politicians, celebrities and others who have influence and power
  • Encourage civil behaviors by setting ground rules at home and at school
  • Challenge ideas and perspectives without attacking the person
  • Be tolerant of people who are different
  • Praise good behavior, even if you disagree with what is being said
  • Take a stand by teaching children how to prevent and stop bullying
  • Remind students often why we should be civil
  • Teach children how to become engaged citizens

Download this as a poster to use in your classroom


. . .  Explore the challenges of teaching civility to our young and re-learning civility for ourselves. Go to our Resource :  Be Civil!

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Three Assassinations: Kennedy, King, Kennedy

by Megan Hicks

 

Story Summary:

 Megan was confused when her 9th grade classmates reacted differently to the assassination of President Kennedy than her family did. She didn’t know who was right. And then she learned to listen to what her heart told her was truth for her.
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Sparta, Georgia

by Gene Tagaban

 

Story Summary:

 Gene travelled by van across the country to see the land of his people. Along his journey, he had the experience of meeting a southern white couple on a backcountry dirt road and an old black man in Sparta, Georgia who fought with First Nation men during the Korean War. (more…)

Navajo Code Talker

by Storyteller Gene Tagaban

 

Story Summary:

During WWII the Navajo Code Talkers created a code that was never broken. The Navajo were forced off their reservations into boarding schools where they were told not to speak their language or practice their culture. But when WWII started, the United States military reached out to the Navajo to help them create a code using their previously forbidden language.  (more…)

Afternoon with Rachel, Holocaust Survivor

by Storyteller Gene Tagaban

 

Story Summary:

 Gene tells of an afternoon he spent with Rachel, a Holocaust survivor, in Omaha, Nebraska. Rachel, an elderly woman, asks Gene, “Tell me about your people?” Gene tells her of the 1835 Indian Removal Act and how his Cherokee ancestors were forced to leave their homes and walk for 800 miles through the winter months; many died. Rachel replies, “Your people, my people – same.” Later, Gene goes to the Holocaust Museum in Washington D.C. and while being overcome with emotion, is comforted by an African American woman.  (more…)

The Story of My Teacher

By Kiran Singh Sirah

 

Story Summary:

 Kiran reveals the experiences of living between two worlds: on one hand, his experiences with racism being one of the few brown boys in his town contrasted with the kindness of strangers as well as the inspiration he received from his storyteller teacher, Mr. George.  (more…)

Mixing It Up

by Laura Simms

Story Summary:

In schools, racial violence often stems from learned bias. Listening to one another is an antidote to the gap between people and transforms bias into deep concern and creative change. (more…)

The Complexity of Our Street – Burying the Unspoken

By Laura Simms

 

Story Summary:

Issues within the same religious group or ethnicity are complex and rarely discussed. Laura grew up on a street in Brooklyn with many kinds of Jews – Orthodox, Conservative, Sephardic, cultural and so forth. As different as they were, they had one thing in common: no one talked about World War II and the Holocaust. Two young children (one from an Orthodox family and Laura from a Conservative background) find a way to memorialize the unspoken through a make believe graveyard. In doing so, they strike up an unlikely and forbidden friendship. (more…)

That Place Within Untarnished

by Laura Simms

 

Story Summary:

 Laura befriends and, then, adopts a former child soldier from Sierra Leone. Years later, Ishmael Beah goes on to become a best-selling author. One day, while speaking on a panel together, she and her grown son hear of the genocide in Rwanda. A woman from Rwanda tells of a child who makes a difficult choice when he finds himself in the same room with the man who murdered his parents. Laura’s son, Ishmael, understands and applauds the child’s choice. He is glad the child will not have to define himself as a murderer and can keep in touch with the place within that Ishmael has once again found – the place within that is untouched by war, murderous alternatives and biases of any sort. (more…)

Close Encounters

by Storyteller Barbara Schutzgruber

 

Story Summary:

 Small town meets big city.  Boundaries are crossed and cultures collide when a Midwest family encounters the boys from New York City. Will they find common ground or confrontation?  (more…)

Escape to Freedom – Germany 1941

by Judy Sima

 

Story Summary:

 Judy Sima tells the story of her mother, Elsa Mosbach. She relates the events leading to Elsa’s escape from Germany during WWII, her encounter with the Gestapo following Kristallnacht or the Night of the Broken Glass, and how she used her father’s WWI medals to gain her father’s release from Buchenwald Concentration Camp.  (more…)

Small Town Silence

by Scott Whitehair

 

Story Summary:

A wannabe comedian in the suburbs of Pittsburgh finally meets a professional comic who is willing to take him under his wing. However, stunned silence over the discovery of a small town’s nasty racial secret destroys a brand new friendship before it can even begin. (more…)

Hasan’s Story: Escaping the Bosnian-Serbian War 1994

by Susan O’Halloran

 

Story Summary:

When former Yugoslavia broke up in the early 1990s, war broke out across the region. Hasan, a Muslim, was a college student in 1992 when the siege against his city, Sarajevo, began. He joined the Army of Bosnia but would do anything to escape and live in peace and freedom. A few of his many adventures are detailed in this excerpt as well as his victory in studying Islam and rediscovering his identity when he came to the United States.  (more…)

A Journey Story

by Storyteller Patricia Coffie

 

Story Summary:

 Storyteller Patricia Coffie learns that traveling to understanding is part of traveling from one physical place to another.  Understanding involves listening first.  Listen to what is said, to tone of voice, to body language and to the silences. Some colleagues of Pat’s give her feedback on a joke she told and help her realize that change, based on understanding, takes action.  Change for the better is always possible.  (more…)

The West Indies: Brer Rabbit Avoids Danger For A Black Family Traveling In America

by Storyteller Donna Washington

 

Story Summary:

 Donna’s father is quite a trickster, and one afternoon in the 1980’s, while her large family was traveling through the south, they ran into a potentially dangerous situation. Donna’s trickster father literally saved our lives.
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Election Night:  How President Barack Obama’s Elections Changed My Life

by Donna Washington

 

Story Summary:

The night Obama was elected to the presidency, Donna was a lone black woman in a very conservative part of the country. She discovered that it is possible be in a foreign land in her own country. She also found out that the world is full of people with good hearts.  (more…)

Everybody and Nobody: Racial Default Thinking

by Andy Offutt Irwin

 

Story Summary:

 When Andy was a child living in the Deep South, he visited some of his family in Colorado. A woman out there told Andy, “Everybody in Georgia is a bigot.” This put him on the road to thinking about Racial Default Thinking. Every day this informs his storytelling.  (more…)

Learning at the Dinner Table

by Bill Harley

Story Summary:

 Bill’s mother and father came from opposite ends of the political spectrum which meant that his mother and father’s family did as well. Bill’s father could not tolerate the biased language that was spoken at his in-law’s dinner table. Then, one Thanksgiving dinner, Bill’s father can take the bigotry no longer and speaks out. Bill learns a valuable lesson about the importance of taking a stand.  (more…)

I’m Gonna Let It Shine – It’s In All of Us

by Storyteller Bill Harley

 

Story Summary:

 Bill gathers a group of musicians together to record an album of Civil Rights freedom songs. However, they learn that they can’t assume they are all on the same page or that underlying emotions and biases aren’t in play.  (more…)

A Child’s Eye View

by Storyteller Cynthia Changaris

 

Story Summary:

Growing up in Charleston, South Carolina during Jim Crow, Cynthia is baffled by why Black people get to ride in the “best part” of the bus, the back of the bus with the great view out the rear window. She plays with a young boy named Sammy when his mother comes to help Cynthia’s mother with the ironing. Cynthia doesn’t understand when her mother tells her that Sammy is dead and that he died because he couldn’t get to a “colored hospital” in time. When she was 12, Cynthia’s mother takes her to an integrated church service in Winston Salem. Cynthia is able to sense the danger but her heart feels full and happy to be in this circle of women.  (more…)

Seriously…What Did You Call Me?!

By Onawumi Jean Moss

 

Story Summary:

 While getting a passport to prepare for a trip abroad, Onawumi Jean discovered that her name is not on her birth certificate. Her aunt is able to clear up the mystery by disclosing a concession Onawumi’s mother made to get along and keep her job in the Jim Crow South. As an adult, Onawumi arranges a naming ceremony where she is able to honor her past and celebrate her creative present and future. (more…)