The Southern Poverty Law Center founded in 1971 is a nonprofit civil rights organization dedicated to fighting hate and bigotry. Some of the issues of social injustice on which they focus include children at risk and teaching tolerance. I believe one of the greatest needs in our world at the moment is tolerance. Tolerance for all religions, all races and much else.
An outreach project titled Mix It Up will be presented in schools across the nation in October. Descriptions of the program and activities can be found at: http://www.tolerance.org/mix-it-up/activity. Activities focus on building empathy and creating friendships, acceptance, and teamwork; dealing with group dynamics, accepting differences, eliminating intolerance.
One activity that catches my eye is Flag Day for grades 1-5 in which each student contributes a red, white or blue piece of construction paper decorated with words or pictures that reflect their individuality. These individual pieces of colored paper are then combined to create the American flag. Once the flag is constructed each student is invited to the front to share their contribution to the flag. The flag construction happens after discussion posing and answering such questions as: What is diversity? What are some differences we have in this classroom? What kind of diversity can be found in this school? In this city? In this state? In this country?
How poignant! Individuals make a great nation. I applaud any school, community, church, family, business, or any other entity you care to name that respects individuality and diversity. Please visit the site http://www.tolerance.org/mix-it-up/activity and know first-hand the material being presented in this project. Tolerance is vital to peace.