First, meet Ibrahim from Turkey who worked with four PenPals from across the United States. Each week, Ibrahim wrote thoughtful responses to the discussion questions and used examples from his own experiences to enrich the conversation. His experiences of racial discrimination helped his PenPals gain further understanding of how racism affects people around the world.
When asked to describe his favorite part of learning with PenPals, he explained, “I’m happy to meet someone who cares about the people who experience racism.”
Meet another outstanding PenPal, Daniela from the United States. Daniela worked with PenPals from across the United States and France. After being inspired by the individuals and movements that Daniela studied during the project, she decided to research a person who advocates for equality in the 21st century: Oprah Winfrey.
By learning about groups and individuals who have advocated for racial equality throughout American history, Daniela was able to research and reflect on the ways that Oprah Winfrey has been an advocate throughout her career. Thanks to her research, Daniela and her PenPals were able to have a deeper conversation about how people can promote tolerance.
Some of Daniela’s classmates also stood out during this project as great PenPals. Meet Jordan, who also worked with PenPals from the United States and France. Jordan and his PenPals explored the role of identity in shaping systems of inequality.
When asked what his favorite part of his PenPal exchange was, Jordan told us, “My favorite part was being able to see what my PenPals from other parts of the world feel about racism in America and how it affects them. Learning about activists during the Civil Rights Movement really gave me insight into their motivations and their goals in ending segregation. Signs of racism are still seen throughout our community, so it is great to reflect with my PenPals on how they feel about it and what we can do to make a change.”
Finally, meet Mariano, who worked with PenPals from Sweden and the United States. His group of PenPals also chose to do their own research to expand their learning throughout this project.
Mariano told us, “My favorite part of the PenPal exchange was getting a new perspective on a problem of our world. I got to see my PenPals’ perspectives on racism and those affected by it in the past. Racism, segregation, and Jim Crow laws - these were normal things to see in the past. This was far from being just. However, courageous activists and change agents wanted that to change. People such as Martin Luther King, Jr. and Rosa Parks risked their lives for a better world. In today’s world, there is still more change to go around. With all of us working towards peaceful resolutions, our world will change.”
By working together, we can promote tolerance to overcome racial inequalities and other forms of discrimination around the world. Thank you Ibrahim, Daniela, Jordan, and Mariano for sharing your perspectives and ideas for how we can work together to learn more and make the world a better place.
Want your students to learn and share perspectives about the history of racism in America? Learn more about this project, Race in America, which starts again Monday, December 11.