Extraordinary People (Series) | Not in Our Town

Extraordinary People (Series)

  Alex Epstein is a college student who, during high school, was compelled to help rebuild New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina. Using the tool of VOLUNTEER, Alex made multiple trips and engaged with the local community. Alex took initiative and helped found NY2NO, or New York to New Orleans, to involve other young people in the revitalization of the New Orleans landscape. This video is part of a series produced by Not In Our School's parent company, The Working Group, for the Institute for Advancing Unity. This series focus on extraordinary people whose personal choices have inspired others to join in tremendous collective achievements. This lesson addresses the following Social and Emotional Learning (SEL) strategies. You can have students look for these issues and examine them in themselves.
  Janet Miller, a teacher at Hoover Middle School, said that she was blown away by district-wide statistics that revealed the risk of violence that transgendered youth experience. Moved by the statistics, Miller made an impassioned plea to her colleagues that it was their responsibility to create a safe learning environment for ALL students and that any type of discrimination should not be tolerated. This lesson addresses the following SEL strategies and you can have students look for these issues and examine them in themselves.
  Although unable to speak, read or write in English when she came to the United States in 2005, Jennifer Gaxiola's innate sense of self-worth compelled her to succeed.   Born in Bellflower, CA in 1992, Jennifer soon moved with her family to Mexico, then returned to California when she was nine years old. When she was 17, in Fresno in 2007, she began volunteering at the Center for Multicultural Cooperation. She became the Executive Youth Producer, and a voting Board Member, which greatly influenced her life. Jennifer became an All-Star for the Fresno Youth Empowerment Studio (FresYES), President of the Fresno Youth Service Council, and a Youth Service California CATALYST Ambassador. The CATALYST Ambassadors, composed of  high-school students from Eureka to Los Angeles, engage in service projects (toy and blood drives, community cleanups, etc.). However, Jennifer's true passion is filmmaking. An accomplished documentary filmmaker, her quest for knowledge of California's Latino community has led her to chronicle their roots and history through films that have highlighted Cesar Chavez and the lives of war veterans. This lesson addresses the following SEL strategies. You can have students look for these issues and examine them in themselves.
  At age 12, Aitan Grossman was inspired by An Inconvenient Truth and began a journey that led him to use music to advocate for the preservation of the natural landscape around him. He wrote a song, “100 Generations,” and started his own non-profit to raise funds for wildlife conservation. His goals were to raise awareness, have students from many countries record his song, and inspire young people that at any age, they could make a difference. This lesson addresses the following SEL strategies. You can have students look for these issues and examine them in themselves.
  The Royal Chicano Air Force (RCAF) is an artistic collective based in Sacramento, California.  It was founded in 1969 to express the goals of the Chicano civil rights and labor organizing movement of the United Farm Workers. Its mission was to make available to the Chicano community a bilingual/bicultural arts center where artists could come together, exchange ideas, provide mutual support, and make available to the public artistic, cultural, and educational programs and events. While "RCAF" originally stood for the Rebel Chicano Art Front, people confused the letters with the acronym for the Royal Canadian Air Force. Founding member José Montoya and his fellow officers capitalized on the misunderstanding, and in good humor adopted the name Royal Chicano Air Force. This new identity found its way into their wardrobe, as well as their highly successful silk screen poster program, which began to disseminate the World War I aviator and barnstorming bi-winged planes as icons. The RCAF gained a well-deserved reputation for outrageous humor, fine art posters, murals, and community activism. Their pioneering spirit throughout the 1970s and early 1980s was well-known in the California Chicano community, and continues to the present. This lesson addresses the following Social and Emotional Learning (SEL) strategies. You can have students look for these issues and examine them in themselves
  During a dance performance on stage, Jackie Rotman's music suddenly stopped. In response, members of the audience joined Jackie on stage and began dancing to show their support. Expanding on the idea that dance can help foster a positive atmosphere, Jackie began providing hip-hop classes free of charge to youth that would not otherwise be able to afford them. Now with 10 chapters across the country, Everybody Dance Now! is a nonprofit organization that aims to transform the lives of youth through dance, leadership, and community. This lesson addresses the following Social and Emotional Learning (SEL) strategies. You can have students look for these issues and examine them in themselves.
Although unable to speak, read or write in English when she came to the United States in 2005, Jennifer Gaxiola's innate sense of self-worth compelled her to succeed.   Born in Bellflower, CA in 1992, Jennifer soon moved with her family to Mexico, then returned to California when she was nine years old. After her family moved to Fresno in 2007, she soon began volunteering at the Center for Multicultural Cooperation, where the 17- year-old is now Executive Youth Producer, and a voting Board Member. Volunteering at the Center helped her to understand the enormous impact the Latino community has had on shaping California, an understanding which has shaped her life and her interests. Jennifer is also an All-Star for the Fresno Youth Empowerment Studio (FresYES), President of the Fresno Youth Service Council, and a Youth Service California CATALYST Ambassador. As an ambassador, Jennifer has committed herself to various youth service-learning projects.  
The Royal Chicano Air Force (RCAF) is an artistic collective based in Sacramento, California. Initially named the Rebel Chicano Art Front, the RCAF was founded in 1969 to express the goals of the Chicano civil rights and labor organizing movement of the United Farm Workers. Its mission was to make available to the Chicano community a bilingual/bicultural arts center where artists could come together, exchange ideas, provide mutual support, and make available to the public artistic, cultural, and educational programs and events.
Tadashi Nakamura is a 30 year old, fourth-generation Japanese American and second-generation filmmaker. Besides carrying on his parents’ work – his mother is writer/producer Karen L. Ishizuka and his father is director Robert A. Nakamura – Nakamura seeks to tell his community’s history to a new generation. Nakamura recently completed A Song for Ourselves, the third film of a documentary trilogy about the early Asian American Movement. Currently screening in festivals and colleges around the U.S. and Canada, the film has won twelve awards for film excellence including four for Best Documentary Short. The first film of the trilogy wasYellow Brotherhood (2003), a personal documentary focused on the meaning of friendship and community through the Yellow Brotherhood youth organization, which was formed in the 1960s to combat youth drug use. The film won Best Documentary Short at the San Diego Asian Film Festival and has been screened at film festivals, colleges, and community events across the nation.
Republished from ChampionsofUnity.org. Find the original here.  Charlotta A. Bass stands among the most influential African Americans of the twentieth century. A crusading journalist and extraordinary political activist, she was at the forefront of the civil rights struggles of her time, especially in Los Angeles, but also in California and the nation. Teachers can use Bass as an inspirational example of fighting for non-violence and equality, with the following lesson plan and activity.  Objective:  Students will conduct a town hall meeting, create a survey, and interview fellow students regarding violence on campus.  Using the information obtained, students will write a Declaration of Non-violence (or whatever topic your group has selected) which will then be presented to the student body for ratification, then to the administration for possible implementation.