USC Shoah Foundation – The Institute for Visual History and Education (USC Shoah Foundation), and Discovery Education have announced the winners of the 2020 Stronger Than Hate Challenge. The Challenge and the 2020 winners exemplify the power of youth voices to connect communities and the role of social and emotional learning in empowering students to overcome hate.
The Stronger Than Hate Challenge encourages students ages 13+ in the United States, United Kingdom, and Canada to work individually or in groups of 2-4 to submit multimedia projects demonstrating the power of story to create a community that is stronger than hate. The Stronger Than Hate Challenge builds upon the USC Shoah Foundation and Discovery Education no-cost and standards-aligned educational program, Teaching with Testimony, designed to inspire middle and high school students to create a better future by learning from the powerful testimony of survivors and witnesses of genocide.
“The COVID-19 pandemic has fueled rapid increases in racism, xenophobia, and antisemitism all over the world, making the Stronger Than Hate program more important and relevant in this moment. As classrooms shifted to virtual learning, students produced remarkable content, despite many barriers and distance, that exemplified the power of storytelling to promote empathy, understanding, and respect. We were proud of every submission and left hopeful that students would enact real change in their communities as a result of the program,” said USC Shoah Foundation Director of Education, Dr. Claudia Wiedeman.
The winners illustrate excellence in leveraging testimony and creativity to promote empathy, understanding, and respect in their local communities. The 2020 Stronger Than Hate Challenge winners are:
11th grader Emma F. from San Clemente High School of the Capistrano Unified School District located in San Clemente, CA will receive a $6,000 scholarship for the project titled “Conquering Hate Through Testimony.” In addition, Emma receives an exclusive experience learning directly from the storytellers at USC Shoah Foundation.
The artistic multi-media project depicting a hand-drawn mural of George Floyd with the words “you can’t conquer hate with hatred.” As Emma stated in her submission, the piece connects the “current situations in the United States of racism to what has happened throughout history. So many of the genocide survivors’ stories have strong similarities to what is occurring today,” said Emma. “I feel that people can connect with art and thus connect to the meaning behind it.”
8th grader Vaishnavi M. from R.J. Grey Junior High School of the Acton-Boxborough Regional School District located in Acton, MA will receive a $3,000 scholarship for the project titled “The Strength in Love.”
The project demonstrates the power of positivity through art. “As shown in my painting, hate is like a fire burning everything in its path. It affects everyone, even the people spewing the hate. There is no strength in hate, but instead a lot of strength in mercy and compassion,” said Vaishnavi. “So, if hate is like fire, then love is like the water that puts it out. The best way to combat hate, is by spreading stories to inspire these small acts. All this can make communities brighter, as shown in the painting, with strength, happiness, inclusion, and most importantly love.”
9th grader Anayla W. from Episcopal High School, part of the Independent Schools Association of the Southwest, located in Houston, TX will receive a $1,000 scholarship for the video submission titled “No Longer Silent.”
The project uses testimony to raise awareness about the “whole side to history that people never talk about,” said Anayla. “Especially during times like these, I like to have open conversations with people… I like to speak to others and share my experiences in life to enlighten others.”
“Discovery Education is proud to support the critical work USC Shoah Foundation undertakes every day to promote understanding and overcome hate through uniquely powerful social and emotional learning resources,” said Lori McFarling, President of Corporate & Community Partnerships at Discovery Education. “The Stronger Than Hate Challenge encourages students to use testimony to establish habits of respect, love, and kindness for all, while actively engaging peers and community members in the critical work to make a more just and equitable world.”
Teaching with Testimony integrates social and emotional learning—student understanding of their emotions, social skills, and how these influence decision-making and interpersonal relationships—with the dynamic and thoughtful content, inspiring resources, and educational supports.
The digital resources from Teaching with Testimony, including the Stronger Than Hate Challenge, support education online, at home, or wherever learning is taking place. Discover more about the Stronger Than Hate Challenge and the partnership at TeachingwithTestimony.com and within the Discovery Education Experience Teaching with Testimony channel.
For more information about Discovery Education’s digital resources and professional learning services, visit www.discoveryeducation.com, and stay connected with Discovery Education on social media through Facebook, follow us on Twitter at @DiscoveryEd, or find us on Instagram and Pinterest.
USC Shoah Foundation – The Institute for Visual History and Education develops empathy, understanding and respect through testimony, using its Visual History Archive of more than 55,000 video testimonies, award-winning IWitness education program, and the Center for Advanced Genocide Research. USC Shoah Foundation’s interactive programming, research and materials are accessed in museums and universities, cited by government leaders and NGOs, and taught in classrooms around the world. Now in its third decade, USC Shoah Foundation reaches millions of people on six continents from its home at the Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences at the University of Southern California.
Discovery Education is the global leader in standards-aligned digital curriculum resources, engaging content, and professional learning for K-12 classrooms. Through its award-winning digital textbooks, multimedia resources, and the largest professional learning network of its kind, Discovery Education is transforming teaching and learning, creating immersive STEM experiences, and improving academic achievement around the globe. Discovery Education currently serves approximately 4.5 million educators and 45 million students worldwide, and its resources are accessed in over 140 countries and territories. Inspired by the global media company Discovery, Inc., Discovery Education partners with districts, states, and like-minded organizations to empower teachers with customized solutions that support the success of all learners. Explore the future of education at www.DiscoveryEducation.com.