Do you remember how high school history textbooks taught about World War Two? How do you think that very same content is taught in Russia? Or a question even closer to home for our American readers - how do you think certain extremist groups are taught about in Texas?
Two summers ago, there was a debate in Texas about particular textbooks not talking about the Jim Crow laws or lessening the impact of slavery upon America. The Civil War is a defining point in American history and the differences on how textbooks handle that issue are hugely important. For some textbooks, the cause of the war can be thought of in a purely federal vs. states’ rights context while for others, the main instigator was slavery and the rights of every person who lives in the states, not just white male landowners.
This is not, however, a purely American problem. In Russia, the government put forward a manual titled, “A Modern History of Russia: 1945-2006: A Manual for History Teachers.” What was the manual meant to do? Like textbooks in Texas, it is meant to create a different kind of history - one where Stalin’s actions against the Russian people are justified against American aggression. The Soviet Union is not a failure, but rather an example of a fair and equal society.
When we think about historical events, it might not be easy to imagine that in a sense, they are changeable. How we write down our pasts does change them. Consider that if no one had written about the Holocaust, we wouldn’t be mindful of threats to particular ethnic groups today. It may be a cliche, but history is doomed to repeat itself unless we are wary of what has happened before and how it may happen again. Textbooks aren’t the more obvious indicator of where things in the past can shift, but they play a huge role in what is taught and how it is remembered.
Texts that teach
Project Social T is more than just a fashion line. Based in Los Angeles, all of its materials are locally sourced and its goal is to show the authenticity of its consumers as well as its models.
“Project Social T wants to know about you. We are interested in your dreams, your struggles, and most importantly, your passions. Each of the individuals featured are here to share their story, their beauty and a bit of their soul. After all, a t-shirt is just a t-shirt until you give it life.”
Each fiscal quarter, the company partners with a few organizations across the United States that are truly making an impact. It supports those organizations by giving them a monthly sum of $5,000 during the partnership. Social T’s larger agenda is making sure people know about the organizations. To do this, Social T creates hand-made tags on its products in order to inform consumers about the current partnership —knowing that every purchase has an impact, and it is not just your T, but also a T - with an extending impact.
Currently, Project Social T has partnered with Kids Need More, Motivational Recovery Environments and Community Service Programs. Kids Need More gives children who have been diagnosed with cancer the opportunity to attend ultimate summer camps with their siblings, all while supporting the families. The idea being children deserve not to just survive, but they truly deserve to thrive. Community Service Programs in the LA area do an extensive amount of work for their local communities - from cleaning up public areas to supporting the local youth shelters.
We love that a fashion company is partnering with an initiative that celebrates life. To learn more go its website and purchase beautiful clothing that is supporting life. To learn more directly about Kids Need More click here.
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understand and Support the Syrian Refugee Crisis
Over the past month, the plight of the Rohingya has been publicized across the world, with even a top human rights official of the United Nations reporting it as a “textbook example of ethnic cleansing.” Since the end of the August 2017, around 507,000 Rohingya have fled their own country into Bangladesh. Where they will go is as much a question as to how Bangladesh will support this swell of IDPs (Internally Displaced People) in their borders. And unfortunately, it’s not just a question of shelter. The government and the international community have to think about access to food, clean water, proper sanitation and treatment for those attacked in their own country, The International Organization for Migration has trucked over 243,000 litres of water but is that enough? Can any one organization do enough?
Thankfully, the UN Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF) has allocated another 12 million USD to help these refugees. This is the preceded by the CERF usage of 7 million USD to help humanitarian actions in Myanmar. There is little question that the money is needed. No state government can cope with the massive refugee population at the gates.
But why is this happening? Why are the Rohingya being attacked? Why are their villages being burnt down forcing them to be chased out of the country? Who even are the Rohingya? Of the questions, we can answer a few.
The Rohingya are an ethnic Muslim minority that are not eligible to be citizens of Myanmar. They arrived in the Rakhine area of Myanmar (then Burma) in the 8th century as seafarers of the Middle East. Some were forced into servitude, others used for slave labor. When the British arrived in 1825, there was a mass immigration of Rohingya to Myanmar (then Burma) to find work. This caused mass resentment among the local population. So when the military junta renamed the country Myanmar and shook off the colonialist rule of the British, becoming a free state after World War II, the Rohingya were massively discriminated against.
In 2012, camps were set up throughout the Rakhine area for the Rohingya, where they were unable to access schools or healthcare. Two years later, their identity cards were taken, and with that - the loss of the ability to travel. Now, mass persecution and ethnic cleansing have followed. Myanmar claims that the persecution is due to a series of violent attacks against the Buddhist population of Myanmar and cites its actions are primarily due to terrorism.
One particularly appropriate behavioral comparison to the Rohingya is the way that the United States government has treated its indigenous population, the Native Americans. They are considered outsiders. Forced from their lands, they are called “illegal immigrants”. The military has even made it their quest to force all Rohingya to leave the country of Myanmar. Why the military and not its leader? Aung San Suu Kyi is Myanmar’s de-facto leader’s Nobel Peace Prize winner. She has faced widespread international criticism for her lack of action. However it may be the case that it is the military that still runs the country and she can do little about it.
In many countries where there is internal unrest, the solution is often to find a scapegoat, a population to be targeted and ostracized in order to avoid an overt focus on other problems the country faces. While we cannot be sure this is the main reason for the atrocities being committed, it is one possibility. When we ask the question - why the Rohingya? - we’re asking the same question as with every other genocide. Why the Jews? Why the Armenians? Why the Aboriginal population of Australia? The reasons do matter, but what matters more is bringing attention to their plight - which is what we hope to do.
Advance your Knowledge, Spread Awareness
Global Citizen is an app that is committed to making social change. This app helps individuals become social activists in terms of pressing global issues. The objective of Global Citizen is to serve as a platform that creates direct dialogue between the people, the countries, and the world leaders who are in place to make real changes. And because it is targeted to millennials, it is incentivized. By this we mean, patrons receive tokens for every social action they do. The tokens can go toward various rewards, such as being put into a drawing for a chance to attend a festivals, concerts, sporting events and more.
How it works:
People use the app to find social issues that they are passionate about.Then, they are given various ways that they can help be a part of the movement of governments, NGOs, and other organizations implementing real change, i.e. through policy, etc. For instance, users are given an email template that they can sign and send to world leaders who are in a place to make the changes - especially if enough people demand it. The end goal is to make everyone an activist for the causes that they believe in. Where protests call attention to important issues, Global Citizen puts the power in the hands of people.
For more information visit their website here: https://www.globalcitizen.org/en/
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