Take action against genocide
Type of activity: Groups will take concrete action that will affect people who are targets of genocide.
Grade level: Middle school and high school
Setting: Can be adapted for use in public schools, Christian schools, other private schools, homeschools, and other groups
Overview: Before touring the REAL. LIFE. Exhibit with your group, give them the assignment below.
As students and lifelong learners, it is imperative that we reflect on the fundamental values on which the United States was founded: freedom of speech, respect for human dignity, freedom of religion, equality, and justice for all. If individuals are not willing to stand for something, then they will fall for anything. This assignment requires us to step out of our comfort zones and take action by standing for what’s right and against what’s wrong.
The United Nations defines genocide as “any...acts committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group.” While we are aware of the genocide in the Holocaust, we are not always aware of the existence of genocide in our world today. The Spanish philosopher George Santayana said, “Those who fail to learn the lessons of history are doomed to repeat them.” History is already repeating itself in the twenty-first century.
As you tour the REAL. LIFE. Exhibit, look for examples of genocide and think about these questions:
- Who are the groups committing the genocide?
- Who suffers the results of the genocide?
- What issues provoke the genocide?
- What damage is done as a result?
- What is being done to stop the genocide?
After touring the exhibit, your group needs to come up with an action plan. Here are some idea starters:
- Develop a newsletter about human rights and genocide, including information about current countries in a crisis of genocide. Distribute the newsletter to an audience of at least 300 people.
- Create a video (newsclip, re-enactment, etc.) with information about taking action against genocide, and put it on the morning announcements; or write an article for the school newspaper.
- Develop and post a website about human rights and genocide, including information about the impact of genocide on children and families.
- Put up a display somewhere in the school to give students and staff information about genocide.
- (Bonus!) Put together a walk-a-thon, with a minimum of 50 young people and march against genocide.
- Create a petition about a specific action you would like taken in response to a genocide that you have identified. Go into the community and have at least 1500 people sign it. Send the signed petitions to the governor’s office and to the White House.
- Hold a fundraiser and raise money to donate food and medical supplies for children suffering from genocide now. Help Medical Teams International do its work.
- Create a temporary memorial on the grass in the front of the school. Get it broadcasted on the news! Local television stations love doing community pieces.
Come up with your own idea not listed here. When this project is complete, write a reflection paper about your experience in taking action.