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Lessons from Survivors


This lesson raises awareness of hate crimes and their impact through survivor testimonials included in American Hate: Survivors Speak Out, edited by Arjun Singh Sethi (The New Press, 2018).

Hate crimes and hate groups are increasing, including in schools. According to the FBI, there were 7,175 hate crimes in 2017, representing a 17 percent increase from 2016. While this statistic is alarming, the real number of hate crimes in 2017 was closer to 250,000.

Through a mystery activity, participants investigate why hate crimes are underreported and undercounted. Participants create an intervention project based on the recommendations of survivors. As a result, they learn about the positive role that activism can have in their lives and the lives of others.

This lesson is included in the “Islamophobia: a people’s history teaching guide” because Muslims are one of many groups who have experienced an increase in hate crimes. Anti-Muslim hate groups grew from five in 2010 to 114 in 2017. Anti-Muslim assaults rose significantly between 2015 and 2016, exceeding the number of assaults reported in the year after the 9/11 attacks. Bullying of students of color, including Muslims, is increasing. In this lesson, participants learn who else is being targeted in the rising nationalist tide and what they can do about it.

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