Social and racial justice classroom, community resources: COVID-19 & more

While it might not seem like it, COVID-19 shall pass. What remains constant, however, is the need for learning and community resources related to social and racial justice, a statement made all the more relevant in light of the inequities laid bare by the pandemic.

Here are some resources for your students, your community and yourself:

COVID-19 & IMMIGRANT COMMUNITIES COVID-19 doesn’t discriminate on race, age, gender, or immigration status. Smart public health and immigration policy responses are critical. NEA’s Center for Social Justice has compiled some key questions and answers about how COVID-19 is affecting students, educators, DACA recipients and our schools, as well as additional information and resources.

COVID-19, LGBTQ STUDENTS & DISTANCE LEARNING Recent data support the need for educator action and focus on how to provide a safe and affirming online learning experience for LGBTQ students who are more at risk due to the pandemic. Educators are uniquely positioned to provide support and resources. Learn more.

COVID-19 TAKES HEAVY TOLL ON NATIVE AMERICANS Lack of access to clean water, a higher prevalence of illnesses that contribute to COVID-19 fatalities, inadequate health care and a severe housing crisis are among the factors making COVID-19 especially lethal among Native American communities. Here’s more information about efforts and tools to address resource gaps.

STANDING UP TO COVID-19 HATE AND BIAS The rising number of COVID-19 cases has been accompanied by a spike in hate crimes targeting Asian Americans. NEA Ed Justice has compiled a regularly updated list of national and state organizations and governmental agencies where you can report hate or bias incidents related to COVID-19. Some of the reporting forms are in regular and simplified Chinese, Korean, Japanese and Thai.

MISSING, MURDERED NATIVE WOMEN AND GIRLS From 1979-92, homicide was the third-leading cause of death of Indian females aged 15 to 34, and 75 percent were killed by family members or acquaintances. In some tribal communities, murder rates of females are more than 10 times the national average. The National Indigenous Women’s Resource Center will host a webinar May 5 to honor missing and murdered Indigenous women, increase national awareness and demand change at the tribal, federal and state levels.

LESSON PLANS FOR WELCOMING SCHOOLS The Human Rights Campaign has released three lesson plans embracing all families, supporting transgender and non-binary students, preventing bias-based bullying and creating LGBTQ and gender inclusive classrooms. The lesson plans, referenced in a webinar, are Design a Welcoming Toy Store, Social Justice Acrostic Poems and What is a Family.

WHY FREDERICK DOUGLASS MATTERS Abolitionist, writer, and civil and women’s rights champion, Frederick Douglass shone a piercing light on the horrors and brutality suffered by African American slaves. In “What to the Slave is the Fourth of July?,” he extolled our young nation’s strides toward liberty but bemoaned the “mournful wail of millions! whose chains, heavy and grievous yesterday, are, to-day, rendered more intolerable by the jubilee shouts that reach them.” Here are lesson plans, classroom resources and readings.

A NATION OF IMMIGRANTS has played an indispensable role in building the United States, yet the nation has not always welcomed all new arrivals. Its history is marked by periods, like the present one, of hostility, restrictions, repatriation, internment and deportation. Take, for example, the coerced repatriation during The Great Depression of more than a million people of Mexican descent to Mexico; 60 percent were U.S. citizens. Or the relocation and incarceration in concentration camps during World War II of about 120,000 people of Japanese ancestry, the majority of whom were U.S. citizens.

Following are examples of lesson plans and classroom resources on the historical context of immigration, detention, deportations, and reparation:

  • Immigration History Research Center: Teaching Immigration with the Immigrant Stories
    Project Lesson Plans.
  • Public Broadcasting Service: Identity, Immigration and Economics: The Involuntary Deportations of the 1930s
    Lesson Plan, Resources.
  • Franklin D. Roosevelt Presidential Library and Museum: Curriculum Guide – Japanese American Internment
    Distance Learning, Activities, Teaching Tools, Teacher Workshops, Student Resources.
  • Public Broadcasting Service: They’re Coming to America: Immigrants Past and Present
    Lesson Overview, Lesson Activities, Video Segments.
  • Public Broadcasting Service: Identity, Immigration and Economics: Involuntary Deportations of the 1930s
    Lesson Plan.
  • Digital Public Library of America: Japanese American Internment During World War II
    Teaching Guide, Classroom Activities, Resources, Tools.
  • Public Broadcasting Service: The New Americans
    Downloadable Lesson Plans.
  • Smithsonian Museum of American History: A More Perfect Union: Japanese Americans & the U.S. Constitution
    Classroom Activities, Bibliography Web Links.
  • National Public Radio: America’s Forgotten History of Mexican-American ‘Repatriation’
    An interview with Raymond Rodríguez, coauthor of “Decade of Betrayal: Mexican Repatriation in the 1930s,” and professor of American history and Chicano studies at California State University, Los Angeles.
  • National Archives: When the “Enemy” Landed at Angel Island: San Francisco Immigration Station Sought to Bar Hostile Aliens and Deport Resident Radicals During World War I
    Magazine Article.
  • American Psychological Association: Disrupting young lives: How detention and deportation affect US-born children of immigrants
    Research Overview.
  • U.S. Commission on Civil Rights: Trauma at the Border: The Human Cost of Inhumane Immigration Policies
    Investigative Report to the U.S. President, Vice President and Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives.

Additional advocacy tools and partner sites:

NEA CONFERENCE ON RACIAL JUSTICE POSTPONED The NEA Conference on Racial and Social Justice, slated for June 30-July 1 in Atlanta, has been postponed in light of COVID-19 restrictions and ongoing health and safety concerns. Stay tuned for additional information in the coming weeks as we reimagine working for the advancement of justice in education under our new reality. Do you have questions? Email them to

HAIRSTYLE DISCRIMINATION A growing number of cities, counties and states are making it illegal to discriminate against people based on their natural hairstyle. One popular legislative solution is known as the CROWN Act, Creating a Respectful and Open World for Natural Hair. Nevertheless, hairstyle discrimination still occurs, as African Americans and Latinos in schools, workplaces and other settings are subjected to dress codes based on Eurocentric standards of beauty and grooming.

Here’s more information: