Sunday, December 14, 2014

Teaching English as a Second Language Through a Radical Lens Employing Cultural and Historical Perspectives

Lesson 1: The U.S. Civil Rights Movement and Ferguson

The U.S. Civil Rights movement in 1950s and 1960s worked for full civil rights for all Americans, especially African-Americans, whose ancestors had arrived in the Americas as slaves and had suffered many indignities, violations of basic rights such as voting and public accommodation, as well as psychological and physical attacks sometimes resulting in injury or death.

Many Jewish Americans, whose families had been routinely persecuted and killed in Europe during the Nazi era in the 1930s and 1940s, went to Southern U.S. states to assist in voter registration for African-Americans and support efforts to racially integrate buses, lunch counters, etc.

Terry Koch and his family are representative of Jewish Americans of who did this.

Although he grew up on Long Island, New York, he and his family had a long association with the South, and particularly with the greater St. Louis, Missouri area. Terry went to college in St. Louis and has maintained life-long links to the area.

Terry has recently been active in supporting those protesting the death of Michael Brown, an unarmed African-American 18 year-old at the hands of police in Ferguson (near St. Louis), one of several suspicious deaths of civilians at the hands of police in several American towns in 2013 - 2014.

Here is a short video showing the police response to a Ferguson protest against police brutality in Oakland, California on December 13, 2014. You can see several police helicopters overhead as well as dozens of riot-equipped police from Oakland, the California Highway Patrol, and Homeland Security (a Federal agency):

Lesson 2: The Anti-Apartheid Movement in the U.S.

Apartheid was the legal system of racial separation between Blacks, Whites, and Coloreds in South Africa. For many years, U.S. government and corporate policy gave massive support to the apartheid regime. Billy Nesson was active in the 1980s with the Campaign Against Apartheid at the Berkeley campus of University of California (U.C. Berkeley), which pressured the university to divest their investment portfolios from companies that did business in South Africa to force the South African government to abandon apartheid and build a new South Africa which was more fair to Black South Africans, who made up 90% of the country but had essentially no rights under apartheid.

Lesson 3: Let's Hear Your Story

Make a video using your cell phone, camera, or computer (or borrow one from the AV department) telling your family's story.