Social Justice Issues

  • Connection Challenge: Building Stronger, Safer Communities | PBS NewsHour

    Inspired by Parkland students, three schools across the U.S. participated in the Connection Challenge as a way to step out of their comfort zones and connect with other young people at school with whom they wouldn’t normally interact. PBS NewsHour Student Reporting Labs teamed up with Snapchat on April 20th, the day of the National School Walkout, to cover the event.

    Watch the video and answer the discussion questions in our support materials below. Your class or school may want to hold its own Connection Challenge. Check out the extension activity linked below under Follow Up.

    Grades: 6-12
  • You Have to Speak Up: Lessons from the Holocaust | PBS NewsHour

    International Holocaust Remembrance Day is held each year as a way to remember the killing of 6 million Jews and millions of others during World War II. Holocaust survivor Reva Kibort tells the story of when German soldiers came to Warsaw, Poland. She was taken to a concentration camp at age 12, where her family was eventually killed. At a time when extreme right-wing groups, including anti-Semitic and anti-Muslim groups are on the rise, Kibort says, “We have to speak up. Wherever you see injustices at all, you have to speak up.”

    January 29, 2018 video and resource materials from PBS NewsHour.

    Grades: 6-12
  • Harvey Weinstein, Sexual Harassment, and the Civil Rights Act of 1964 | PBS NewsHour

    Note: This Daily News Story discusses sexual harassment and assault as they pertain to allegations surrounding Harvey Weinstein. You may want to consider inviting your administrator or a representative from human resources to your class during this lesson. 

    Harvey Weinstein, one of the most powerful producers in Hollywood, was fired on October 8th from the film company he founded after The New York Times detailed three decades of sexual harassment allegations against him from many women who worked for him. Weinstein had reached at least eight settlements, according to the Times’ report. Since then, dozens of more women have come forward to share incidents of times when Weinstein sexually harassed or assaulted them. While sexual assault or sexual harassment may take many forms, it is important to always keep in mind that it is never the victim’s fault.

    To help define harassment and to learn more about the civil rights legislations that made workplace sexual harassment illegal in 1964, see the support materials below.

    October 30, 2017 video and resource materials from PBS NewsHour.

    Grades: 6-12
  • How to Discuss the History of White Nationalism with Your Students | PBS NewsHour

    Three people died and multiple people were injured in the chaos of a white nationalist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, on August 12, 2017. A judge ordered 20-year-old James Alex Fields Jr. be held without bond on second-degree murder charges. Fields was accused of ramming his car into a crowd of demonstrators who came out against the white nationalist rally to denounce a Charlottesville city decision to remove a statue of Confederate General Robert E. Lee. President Donald Trump faced criticism from the left and right alike when he didn’t name neo-Nazi or white supremacist groups for inciting the attacks until two days after the events took place. He instead denounced violence — quote — “on many sides.” 

    August 15, 2017 video and resource materials from PBS NewsHour.

    Grades: 6-12
  • All-Girls Robotics Team from Afghanistan Competes after Initial Visa Denial | PBS NewsHour

    An all-girls team from Afghanistan reached the United States for a robotics competition after having their visas denied twice by American officials. The girls joined students from over 150 countries around the world, including a team representing refugees. The competition was an effort to get more young people, particularly those from underrepresented countries, interested in STEM fields.

    July 27, 2017 video and resource materials from PBS NewsHour.

    Grades: 6-12
  • Remembering Japanese Internment, 75 Years Later | PBS NewsHour

    February 19, 2017 marked the 75th anniversary of President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s controversial executive order, which allowed the government to incarcerate Japanese Americans following the World War II attack on Pearl Harbor. From 1942 to 1946, more than 100,000 Japanese Americans were forced to live in the harsh and demoralizing conditions of internment camps. Minoru Imamura, whose parents emigrated to California in 1926, spent his last two years of high school in a Colorado camp and afterwards was drafted into the U.S. Army. Imamura and his wife Mary were beneficiaries of a 1988 law signed by President Ronald Reagan that granted survivors $20,000 in reparations.

    February 22, 2017 video and resource materials from PBS NewsHour.

    Grades: 6-12
  • Student Volunteers Use Technology to Monitor Human Rights Abuses | PBS NewsHour

    In places around the world where violent conflict makes it impossible for human rights investigators to observe war crimes and atrocities committed against civilians, social media platforms like YouTube, Instagram and Twitter now make it possible to document abuses. The Human Rights Investigations Lab at the University of California, Berkeley is now training students to verify videos and other publicly available social media content coming out of areas like Syria, where human rights violations have been occurring.

    February 15, 2017 video and resource materials from PBS NewsHour.

    Grades: 6-12
  • Women's March Draws Support around the World | PBS NewsHour

    On the Saturday, January 21, 2017 following President Donald Trump's inauguration, hundreds of thousands of protesters gathered in Washington, D.C. for the Women's March on Washington. Marchers from all over the country converged to protest issues from affordable healthcare, to immigration law, to access to abortion services. Similar marches took place around the world. So many people gathered on the National Mall that demonstrators ultimately marched up several streets, instead of the single route to the White House initially intended.

    January 23, 2017 video and resource materials from PBS NewsHour.

    Grades: 6-12
  • An American Muslim Marine | PBS NewsHour

    Mansor Shams served as a U.S. Marine from 2000-2004. Since his duty, Shams has been traveling around the country with a sign that reads, "I'm a Muslim and a U.S. Marine, Ask Me Anything." Shams explains that engaging in an open dialogue with other Americans about his faith is an important part of combating Islamophobia. While Shams has mixed feelings about President Donald Trump, he would like the opportunity to explain his faith to the president and make clear that he is a loyal, abiding citizen. 

    February 6, 2017 video and resource materials from PBS NewsHour.

    Grades: 6-12
  • Anger and Unrest in Missouri After Police Kill Unarmed Teenager

    Update your students on the police shooting that took place in Ferguson, Missouri, with this video and educational materials from PBS NewsHour from August 11, 2014.

    Grades: 7-12
  • Why So Many Migrant Children Are Braving the Journey Across the U.S. Border Alone

    Help students understand the motivations and consequences for the tens of thousands of young children migrating to the United States illegally with this PBS NewsHour video and educational resource from June 25, 2014. Many of the unaccompanied minors are making the dangerous journey, which has killed thousands of adults, because their parents believe they will get a free education and brighter future in the U.S.

    Grades: 7-12
  • Struggle for Justice by ‘Central Park 5’ Culminates in $40 Million Settlement

    Help students understand the case known as the Central Park Five and its consequences with this PBS NewsHour video and educational resource from June 23, 2014. New York City will pay $40 million to five black and Latino men who 25 years ago were wrongly convicted of raping and beating a woman in Central Park. Their conviction was vacated in 2002, but it took until now to close the book on the decade-long civil rights lawsuit.

    For a more in-depth look at the case we suggest the PBS documentary "The Central Park Five"

    Grades: 7-12
  • 25 Years Later, Tiananmen Square Massacre Remains Unspoken Tragedy in China

    Help students understand the significance of the Tiananmen Square massacre with this PBS NewsHour video and education resource from June 5, 2014. Twenty-five years ago, Chinese authorities indiscriminately massacred pro-democracy protesters in Beijing's Tiananmen Square as part of a government crackdown that captured the world's attention. Today, the incident garners little attention in China.

    Grades: 7-12
  • Olympics Spur Protests Against Russia

    Help students understand the human rights issues surrounding the Sochi Olympic Games with this PBS NewsHour video from February 5, 2014. With the start of the 2014 Winter Games only days away, the president of the International Olympic Committee insisted that all countries respect the neutral, apolitical nature of the competition. That statement comes in the wake of international furor over a recently adopted Russian law that bans so-called gay propaganda. For a unit with four lesson plans on this topic please click here.

    Grades: 7-12
  • Syria: Peace Talks Open with Disagreement over Assad's Future in Syria

    This Daily News Story from PBS NewsHour Extra was created on January 23, 2014.

    Infighting and acrimony marked the first day of talks on the Syrian war. While State Secretary Kerry and other officials insisted that a transitional government could not include current President Bashar al-Assad, the Syrian foreign minister insisted no country but Syria could dictate its own future.

    Grades: 7-12
  • NYPD Program Offers Last Chance Justice by Monitoring Teens

    This Daily News Story from PBS NewsHour Extra was created on December 30th, 2013.

    The NYPD's Juvenile Robbery Intervention Program aims to mentor and monitor teens who have been arrested for a robbery.

    Grades: 7-12
  • Food Stamp Program Changes Lead to 'Staggering' Increase in Need

    This Daily News Story from PBS NewsHour Extra was created on December 18th, 2013.

    Stimulus funds used to boost the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program during the recession ran out Nov. 1, meaning the growing pool of Americans who rely on food stamps will have to make do with less.

    Grades: 7-12
  • Can the U.S. Find Consensus in Better Mental Health Access to Curb Gun Violence?

    This Daily News Story from PBS NewsHour Extra was created on December 17th, 2013.

    One year after the Sandy Hook tragedy, violent acts like the latest shooting at a Colorado high school remind the nation that the gun debate is not over.

    Grades: 7-12
  • How Will Thousands of Drones Impact Already Crowded Skies?

    This Daily News Story from PBS NewsHour Extra was created on December 16th, 2013.

    The future of aviation could be an aircraft light enough, rugged enough and flexible enough to do just about anything in the air.

    Grades: 7-12
  • Where Tragedy Turned to Transformation: Newtown Families Make Promise for Change

    This Daily News Story from PBS NewsHour Extra was created on December 12th, 2013.

    One year after the massacre at the Sandy Hook Elementary School, parents of the young victims are struggling to make sense from a senseless act of violence.

    Grades: 7-12