This week’s Learnist boards are dedicated to educating people on issues of the social justice and recognizing areas for action. There are many boards teaching about issues that are critical in society today–social justice issues that must be spotlighted in order to promote awareness. In many cases, there are governmental, community-based, and non-governmental agencies addressing these issues, but in all cases, we can do better. We must first become educated, and then convert that knowledge into action, one person at a time.
Prisons in America: A Primer
This board by English professor and journalist Maggie Messitt is one of the best Learnist boards I have ever used. Maggie’s learnings touch upon the forgotten segment of society, the incarcerated. She brings to light several issues, such as victimization, disproportionate numbers of special needs and minorities represented American corrections, and shocking stats comparing America to the rest of the world in terms of our incarceration rates.
International Day for the Abolition of Slavery
Gwen Duralek’s board on slavery reminds us that slavery is still present in society, in the form of debt bondage, sex trafficking, underpaid agricultural workers, forced marriage, and child labor, many of which fuel the production of the products we use. Approximately 20-30 million people are currently enslaved throughout the world. This might be a conservative estimate.
There is a whole group of entrepreneurs and start-ups who seek to dedicate themselves entirely to creating local and global change. Enterprise Toolbox’s board collects information on this group. Although “Social entrepreneurship” means different things to different people, this board is an important one in helping understand this movement. Can a social entrepreneur be profitable while solving problems of the poor or should it be non-profit? How should social entrepreneurs “pioneer change?” Each entrepreneur has a different idea on this subject, but as the business of world-saving gains traction, this is a board that everyone must see. The collection of foundations, books, and information will make you want to change the world, too.
Lynn Liss has curated an entire board dedicated to groups and businesses committed to social good. These are groups that are creating to positive change. Her board includes newsletters, organizations, resources, and information to help you better understand this movement.
International Literacy Day and the End of the United Nations Literacy Decade
Maggie Messitt uses this board to examine literacy throughout the world stating that “literacy is a human right, a tool of personal development, and a means for social and human development.” Although she reminds us that it’s difficult to analyze literacy data internationally without agreed-upon standards for doing so, she shows how this social justice issue is strongly connected to poverty in developing nations, and often, tragically, in industrialized nations as well.
International Literacy Day: A look at Literacy Inside the United States
Maggie Messitt’s look at the literacy crisis inside the United States shows the relationship between literacy and socioeconomic status, and how we need to do a better job addressing these issues in American schools. Although rates for literacy in the United States seem high, the rates of adults who lack functional literacy–the ability to interpret and navigate society with fluency, must be improved.
Starving in America: The Politics of Poverty and Hunger
Journalist Dave Stancliff’s shocking statistics on poverty and food insecurity in the United States remind us that even in one of the richest countries in the world, there are approximately 35 million citizens who are unsure about the status of their next meal.
Nutritionist Emily Dingmann’s board reminds us that as we give thanks for what we have this holiday season, there are many Americans who are in need. This board collects information, statistics, and links to programs that help those in need.
Exploring the Homeless Mind
Brandon Whale’s board on brings to light the seriousness of homelessness. The goal of his snapshots is to humanize the plight of the homeless and bring better understanding to the public. His effective use of videos, photos, interviews, and documentaries really takes us “inside the homeless mind.”
Modern Day Hero: Morris Dees and the Southern Poverty Law Center
It is impossible to think of social justice without considering the work done by Morris Dees and the Southern Poverty Law Center, which crusades for equality on issues like immigrant rights, anti-bullying, gender and employment issues, and tolerance. The Teaching Tolerance division of the SPLC provides several teacher resources on all subjects relating to tolerance and teaching justice studies.