On Sunday, February 17, educators and immigrant rights advocates, organized by Teachers Against Child Detention, are hosting a Teach-In for Freedom in El Paso, Texas. El Paso is a U.S.-Mexico border city 30 miles from the now-closed Tornillo Detention Center that, until recently, held 3,800 children.
Editor's Note: Written in advance of the February 2019 Teach-In for Freedom, this article offers recommendations educators can use at any time to advocate for immigrant children.
The Teach-In for Freedom, initiated by 2018 Teacher of the Year Mandy Manning, is one part of the TACD’s Call to Action. In addition to the Teach-In for Freedom, during which educators and students from across the country will gather to teach mini-lessons in support of ending child detention, TACD has issued an invitation to all educators: Advocate for immigrant children by teaching a lesson in your classroom, hosting a book and letter drive in your school, and making a video in support of TACD’s mission.
If you can’t travel to Texas, here are some suggestions for participating in the Call to Action.
1. Teach a Lesson with Teaching Tolerance Learning Plans
Not sure what lesson to teach? We’ve done the work for you! These sample learning plans, one for every grade level, all engage essential questions critical to understanding human migration, such as: What are reasons people migrate? How is my life easier or more difficult based on where I was born? and How has my community welcomed immigrants throughout history? Each learning plan includes relevant student texts, literacy strategies aligned to the Common Core and student performance tasks. You can also build your own learning plan here.
- Caring for Community K–2
- Fighting for Fairness 3–5
- Researching for Resistance 6–8
- Searching for Solutions 9–12
If you decide to create your own lesson, this list of recommended books can serve as a starting point:
- Dreamers by Yuyi Morales
- The Journey by Francesca Sanna
- Pancho Rabbit and the Coyote: A Migrant’s Tale by Duncan Tonatiuh
- Separate is Never Equal: Sylvia Mendez and her Family’s Fight for Desegregation by Duncan Tonatiuh
- Two White Rabbits by Elisa Amado, Rafael Yockteng and Jairo Buitrago
- Undocumented: A Worker’s Fight by Duncan Tonatiuh
2. Do Something: Host a Book and Letter Drive
This Do Something student performance task, created specifically for the TACD Call to Action, asks students to use their knowledge and skills to take action in support of detained students by sharing their favorite book along with a letter about why the book is meaningful to them. More details about the TACD book drive can be found here.
3. Make a Video
TACD is urging educators to make their voices heard by recording a video indicating their opposition to child detention. You can lend your support by recording a 30-second video statement with your phone and sending it here. Find a sample video script and filming tips here.
Bernal-Martinez is TT’s Teaching and Learning Specialist and a Xicana documentary artist and educator.