Educators play a key role in fostering a safe, accepting environment in the classroom. Our newest lesson plan uses our new documentary, Waking In Oak Creek, to focus on religious inclusivity and how to teach students about the Sikh religion and accepting others’ beliefs.
According to the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights, rates of bullying against Sikh children “range from roughly half to over three-quarters.” Additionally, the Sikh Coalition has found that discrimination and bullying for turbaned Sikhs have increased exponentially since Sept. 11, 2001.
Waking In Oak Creek profiles a suburban town rocked by hate after six worshippers at the Sikh Temple of Wisconsin are killed by a white supremacist. In the year following the attack, the mayor and police chief lead the community as they forge new bonds with their Sikh neighbors. Young temple members and a police lieutenant, shot 17 times in the attack, inspire thousands to gather for events and honor the victims. After one of the deadliest hate crime attacks in recent U.S. history, the film highlights a community and law enforcement working together to overcome tragedy, stand up to hate, and create a safe town for all.
This lesson plan brings the powerful message from Waking In Oak Creek into the classroom. It links useful teaching strategies to the Common Core State Standards by incorporating vocabulary, in class discussion, and written components. The lesson plan questions spark dialogue about faith, bullying based on religious beliefs, and how to be an upstander for a targeted community.