Global Citizenship Interviews Lessons

PBS: We’ll Meet Again – Reiko Nagumo Reunited With Her Upstander

We made it home on Tuesday evening in time to watch the premiere episode of We’ll Meet Again. We were struck by the connection between Time of Remembrance and our Digital Citizenship Initiative.

As we explained in our previous postWe’ll Meet Again is a new PBS series produced and hosted by veteran journalist Ann Curry. The six-part series documents reunions between people whose lives were suddenly disrupted by historic events such as war. Episode 1 features Reiko Nagumo and her childhood friend Mary Frances, who, following the bombing of Pearl Harbor, became and upstander for Reiko.

 

As part of our EGUSD Digital Citizenship initiative, we recognize the importance of providing students with examples of those that have crossed the line from bystander to upstander. We especially want them to know about Reiko’s friendship with Mary Frances (clip 2, 04:52). It’s a beautiful example of what can happen when a single person takes on the “upstander role” by extending a simple act of kindness to someone in need.

 

Based on the impact of Reiko’s interview, and in every interview from our Time of Remembrance project, we always end with the same question: Can you think back to a time in your life (facing exclusion and forced removal, surviving in internment and refugee camps, starting the first day of school in a new country, etc.) when there was someone who stood up for you, making whatever challenges you were dealing with a little easier to cope with?

We are firm believers in the power of a single upstander to make a profound difference in someone’s life – or even change the course of history – and that “it is small things that allow bigger things to happen” (Sam Edleman, Holocaust historian).

The last few months have been painful in our district and city due to a number of hateful, racist incidents, which have been widely publicized through local and national media. To ignite classroom conversations on the exponential negative impact of bystanders, be it face-to-face or online, we invite students across the district, nation, and globe to contribute to our Upstanders, Not Bystanders VoiceThread. We started this VoiceThread a few years ago, and have had an amazing range of contributors, from kindergarten students to humanitarian Carl Wilkens. And, yes, Reiko Nagumo has already shared on our Voice Thread.

Note: A VoiceThread is like a visual podcast. Once you register with VoiceThread for a free account (a process that takes only a couple of minutes), you will be able to post a comment via voice, text, or webcam. Your comment will go “live” as soon as we approve it. If you are in a school district, like ours, that is a GSuite (formerly known as Google Apps for Education) district, you already have an account, as VoiceThread is now integrated into your district Google account. Head to your Google Apps launcher (waffle) and scroll down to the More section to find the VoiceThread icon.

We look forward to hearing your students’ upstander stories – and yours too! Besides the VoiceThread, you can also leave a comment on this post. We’d love to showcase any projects or programs you are implementing in your schools to promote tolerance, respect, empathy, inclusion and global citizenship. If you need lessons or resources to begin conversations on the role of the bystander vs. upstander, Common Sense Education is a great starting point.

In the Classroom: Lessons/Resources
Be an Upstander (Primary Grades) Video by the NED show, gives four tips that help kids go from bystander to upstander. 
Hero in the Hallway (Elementary) – Video created by a team of high school and college students to empower younger students to take a stand against bullying and exclusion.
Cyberbullying: Be Upstanding (Grades 6-8) – Common Sense Education (must create or have account to download the lesson PDF)
Cyberbullying: Crossing the Line (Grades 6-8) – Common Sense Education (must create or have account to download the lesson PDF)
Breaking Down Hate Speech (Grades 9-12) – Common Sense Education (must create or have account to download the lesson PDF)
Who is an Upstander (Grades 8-12) – Video created by Facing History and Ourselves

“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.” ~ Margaret Mead

“The world is a dangerous place to live; not because of the people who are evil, but because of the people who don’t do anything about it.” ~ Albert Einstein

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