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via TED-Ed Blog http://blog.ed.ted.com/2017/08/17/ted-ed-is-on-patreon/


“We live with the legacy of slavery”

MLK Memorial Flag 2

Public-interest lawyer Bryan Stevenson delivered the remarks below at TED2016, following a talk by architect Michael Murphy (TED Talk: Architecture that’s built to heal), who is designing The Memorial to Peace and Justice. The memorial is scheduled to open in spring 2018.

Today in America we are not free. We are burdened by a history of racial inequality and injustice. It compromises us; it constrains us. We live with the legacy of slavery, and that legacy has created a shadow that undermines so many of our best efforts to get to something that looks like justice.

The great evil of American slavery was not involuntary servitude and forced labor. To me, the great evil of slavery was the narrative of racial difference, the ideology of white supremacy that we created to make ourselves feel comfortable with enslaving people who are black. We’ve never addressed that legacy.

To me, the great evil of slavery was the narrative of racial difference, the ideology of white supremacy that we created to make ourselves feel comfortable with enslaving people who are black. We’ve never addressed that legacy.

In the 13th amendment, we have language that prohibits involuntary servitude and forced labor. But we never talked about the narrative of racial differences, and as a result, I don’t believe that slavery ended in 1865. Instead, it turned into decades of terrorism and violence and lynching that terrorized people of color. Thousands of people were pulled into courthouse squares in America, brutalized and sometimes even burned alive.

1863 albumen print, carte-de-visite: 'Rebecca, Augusta and Rosa. Slave Children from New Orleans'. Image courtesy of George Eastman Museum.

Before the Civil War, the 3 children pictured here were sold as slaves in the United States. 1863 albumen print, carte-de-visite: ‘Rebecca, Augusta and Rosa. Slave Children from New Orleans’. Image courtesy of George Eastman Museum.

The demographic geography of this nation was shaped by terrorism. The black people who moved to Cleveland and Chicago and Detroit and Los Angeles and Oakland and New York and Boston didn’t go to those communities as immigrants looking for new economic opportunities. They went to those communities as exiles and refugees from terrorism in the American South, and they are burdened by that history.

Even during the Civil Rights era, we never confronted all the pain and anguish that was created by decades of segregation. During that time, we said to black people, “You’re not good enough to vote because you’re black”; we said to black kids, “You can’t go to school with other kids because you’re black.” I started my education at a colored school. My parents were humiliated every day of their lives when they saw those signs that said “white” and “colored.” They weren’t directions; they were assaults. We haven’t addressed this. We try to press on instead, but now there’s a presumption of dangerousness and guilt that follows black and brown people in this country. It’s why kids are being killed on the streets by police officers.

An older black man said to me, “You see the scar I have behind my right ear? I got that scar in Greene County, Alabama, in 1963, trying to register people to vote.”

We cannot recover until we commit ourselves to a process of truth and reconciliation. We need to create a new relationship to this history of ours. I was giving a talk one time in a church. An older black man in a wheelchair came in while I was speaking. He sat in the back, and he looked at me with such intensity while I was talking. He had an angry, almost mean look on his face. I got through my talk, and people came up to speak to me afterwards. That man kept staring at me, and I couldn’t figure out why. Finally, when everybody else had left, he got a young kid to wheel him up. The man got in front of me and said, “Do you know what you’re doing?” I just stood there and looked at him. He asked me again: “Do you know what you’re doing?” I mumbled something. He asked me one more time, “Do you know what you’re doing?” And then he looked at me and told me, “I’m going to tell you what you’re doing. You’re beating the drum for justice.” He said, “You keep beating the drum for justice.”

I was so moved. I was also relieved, because I hadn’t known what he was going to do. Then he grabbed me by my jacket and pulled me towards him. He said, “Come here. I want to show you something.” He turned his head and asked, “You see the scar I have behind my right ear?” He said, “I got that scar in Greene County, Alabama, in 1963, trying to register people to vote.” He turned his head and said, “You see this cut I have down here at the bottom of my neck? I got that cut in Philadelphia, Mississippi, in 1964, trying to register people to vote.” He turned his head and said, “You see this bruise? I got this bruise in Birmingham, Alabama, in 1965, trying to register people to vote.” He said, “I’m going to tell you something, young man. People look at me and think I’m some old man sitting in a wheelchair covered with cuts and bruises and scars. But I want to tell you something.” He said, “These aren’t my cuts; these aren’t my bruises; these aren’t my scars. These are my medals of honor.”

If we create spaces where we resurrect the truth, we can get to something that feels more like freedom.

I tell you this because our history has scarred us, it has bruised us, and it has injured us, but when we tell the truth about our history, we can change things. If we create spaces where we resurrect the truth, we can change the iconography of the American landscape; we can get to something that feels more like freedom; and we can achieve something that looks more like justice. We can shift this narrative that has burdened us and resurrect the hope that animates many of us.

That’s why I’m excited about projects like The Memorial to Peace and Justice, a memorial to victims of lynching in Montgomery, Alabama. It’s a place that will tell a hard story but a necessary one. You can’t go to South Africa without seeing these incredibly difficult but important monuments and memorials to apartheid; you can’t go to Rwanda without being reminded of the genocide; you cannot go 100 meters in Berlin, Germany, without seeing a marker or a stone that’s been placed at the home of a Jewish family abducted during the Holocaust. The Germans want people to go to Auschwitz and reflect soberly on the history of the Holocaust. We do the opposite in this country, and I think this kind of space will invite us to look at this truth. And when we do, we will find ourselves — maybe for the first time — freer, more just, more motivated and more liberated from our history.


Bryan Stevenson is the founder and Executive Director of the Equal Justice Initiative in Montgomery, Alabama. Under his leadership, EJI has won major legal challenges eliminating excessive and unfair sentencing, exonerating innocent death row prisoners, confronting abuse of the incarcerated and the mentally ill and aiding children prosecuted as adults. Stevenson has successfully argued several cases in the United States Supreme Court and won an historic ruling that mandatory life-without-parole sentences for all children 17 or younger are unconstitutional; he and his staff have won reversals, relief or release for over 115 wrongly condemned prisoners on death row. He is also a Professor of Law at the New York University School of Law.

Art credit: Martin Luther King Jr. memorial poster, Smithsonian National Museum of African American History & Culture

via TED-Ed Blog http://blog.ed.ted.com/2017/08/18/we-live-with-the-legacy-of-slavery/

A STEM competition that connects urban planners with next-generation thinkers: students!



Natalie Coleman is a TED-Ed Innovative Educator, a US military veteran, and a K-8 administrator in Illinois. As the Science and Social Science Coordinator for Joliet Public Schools District 86, Natalie enjoys training teachers in best practices for 21st-century learning, and working with urban students to create STEAM projects that improve community life. During school breaks, she travels and writes. (This summer, she retraced the Underground Railroad journey of the first female African-American war hero in the US: Harriet Tubman!) Below, Natalie explains how to run a STEM competition in your school district that connects local officials with local solutions.


Two STEM Club students plant seedlings for a proposed hydroponic center in Joliet, Illinois.

Two STEM Club students plant seedlings for a proposed hydroponic center in Joliet, Illinois.

Students are full of great ideas (like this one!) about how to improve their neighborhoods. Unfortunately, city officials rarely get a chance to hear student solutions. By creating a district-wide STEM competition with an infrastructure focus, you can increase communication between urban students and urban planners, while also teaching core science curriculum with real-world impact.


To create a STEM competition with an urban planning/infrastructure focus, try these steps:

  1. Invite all STEM Clubs in your local school district to participate in a “Shark Tank” style innovation competition related to local community development. Decide to crown one winning innovation at a district science fair, and to present this idea to city officials.
  2. In each participating STEM Club, teach students about urban planning, infrastructure, and presentation skills.
  3. Ask participating STEM Clubs to select sites in their neighborhood or the community that could be further developed. (For example, there may be an empty lot where a park could be built, or an abandoned building that could be rehabbed into a community center or drop-in tutoring facility.)
  4. Ask participating STEM Clubs to write proposals to be distributed to community stakeholders (i.e. the mayor, city council, etc.) Proposals must include a cost analysis, site photos, and information on how the infrastructure will be energy efficient. Teams can also design, build (using Legos), and/or 3D print infrastructure models.
  5. At a culminating event — such as a district-wide science fair — have student teams present their innovative community development ideas to peers, teachers and urban planners. The winning idea at this competition can then be further developed and presented to city officials.

Innovation means allowing students to be creative thinkers, free to try what they think will work to solve a problem. By allowing students to address a local infrastructure problem, you can offer them a greater sense of accomplishment and contribution to society.

Ready to try this project with your students? Download the STEM competition scoring rubric for judges here.

Natalie’s tips:
DO keep the project timeline short to keep students engaged.
DO allow students to decide what they want to build.
DO show student TED Talks (like this one) so students can see how to improve their presentation skills.
DO use a timer that students can view when presenting during the “Shark Tank” competition.
DO ensure that the STEM competition judges have adequate time to go over the rubric and ask any questions they need for clarification.

This article is part of the TED-Ed Innovation Project series, which highlights 25+ TED-Ed Innovation Projects designed by educators, for educators, with the support and guidance of the TED-Ed Innovative Educator program. You are welcome to share, duplicate and modify projects under this Creative Commons license to meet the needs of students and teachers. Art credit: iStockPhoto.

via TED-Ed Blog http://blog.ed.ted.com/2017/08/11/a-stem-competition-that-connects-urban-planners-with-next-generation-thinkers-students/

This educator wants you to teach more girls about computer science. Are you in?


Silicon Valley tech executives aren’t the only ones struggling to close the gender and diversity gap in computer science. Education leaders must also work to shift the paradigm around STEM education. If you agree, pledge to teach more girls about computer science by sharing this post!

Computer science is foundational knowledge for students in the 21st century, and every student should have the opportunity to learn computer science skills. If you’re not a teacher, you can still get involved as a mentor, parent, or advocate. To get started, try these Code.org resources and Girls Who Code tools.

Girls Who Code founder Reshma Saujani (left) and TED-Ed Innovative Educator Kimberly Lane Clark (right).

Girls Who Code founder Reshma Saujani (left) and TED-Ed Innovative Educator Kimberly Lane Clark (right).

Author bio: Kimberly Lane Clark is a TED-Ed Innovative Educator, a Code.org facilitator, and a Blended Learning Specialist in Texas. To read more of her writing, or to sign up for a Code.org training, click here.

via TED-Ed Blog http://blog.ed.ted.com/2017/08/12/this-educator-wants-you-to-teach-more-girls-about-computer-science-are-you-in/

5 TED-Ed Lessons about water

water image TED-Ed

Access to clean drinking water is a fundamental human right. But just why is it so important? To learn more about how water affects the human body, watch this playlist of original animated videos, curated just for you. Behold, 5 TED-Ed Lessons about water:

1. When is water safe to drink?

Water is refreshing, hydrating, and invaluable to your survival. But clean water remains a precious and often scarce commodity — there are nearly 800 million people who still don’t have regular access to it. Why is that? And how can you tell whether the water you have access to — whether from a tap or otherwise — is drinkable? Mia Nacamulli examines water contamination and treatment. Watch this TED-Ed Lesson below.


2. What would happen if you didn’t drink water?

Water is essentially everywhere in our world, and the average human is composed of between 55 and 60% water. So what role does water play in our bodies, and how much do we actually need to drink to stay healthy? Mia Nacamulli details the health benefits of hydration. Watch this TED-Ed Lesson below.


3. Where we get our fresh water

Fresh water accounts for only 2.5% of Earth’s water, yet it is vital for human civilization. What are our sources of fresh water? In the first of a two part series on fresh water, Christiana Z. Peppard breaks the numbers down and discusses who is using it and to what ends. Watch this TED-Ed Lesson below.


4. Fresh water scarcity: An introduction to the problem

Fresh water is essential for life — and there’s not nearly enough of it for the world right now. Why is that, and what could we do? Christiana Z. Peppard lays out the big questions of our global water problem. And no, shorter showers are not the answer. Watch this TED-Ed Lesson below.


5. Where did Earth’s water come from?

Water covers over 70% of the Earth, cycling from the oceans and rivers to the clouds and back again. It even makes up about 60% of our bodies. But in the rest of the solar system, liquid water is almost impossible to find. So how did our planet end up with so much of this substance? And where did it come from? Zachary Metz outlines the ancient origins of water on Earth. Watch this TED-Ed Lesson below.

To learn about the ancient ingenuity of water harvesting in India, watch this TED Talk.

Art credit: TED-Ed

To get brand new TED-Ed Lessons delivered to your inbox each week, sign up for the free TED-Ed Newsletter here >>

via TED-Ed Blog http://blog.ed.ted.com/2017/08/08/5-ted-ed-lessons-about-water/