Earlier this year, USC Shoah Foundation and Discovery Education launched the 2019 Stronger Than Hate Challenge, a student video challenge highlighting the extraordinary change that can occur when individuals work together to combat hate, intolerance, and injustice in their community. To enter the challenge, students listened to eyewitness testimonies of survivors and witnesses of genocide that explore historical and modern-day stories of hate and examined the kinds of hate or injustice that may be present in their own community – with the goal of creating an action plan to stop it. Now, after lengthy deliberation, we can meet the talented winners of the challenge who used their incredible passion for justice to create positive change across their schools and communities!
The Grand Prize winners, Sabrina B. and Sydney B. from Monte Vista High School in Danville, CA, are sisters who have had a passion for human rights and social justice since they were very young. Their grandmother was a Holocaust survivor who instilled in them at an early age the importance of taking a stand against ignorance and hate. Sabrina and Sydney used the Stronger than Hate Challenge as a starting point to launch Diversity Undivided – a community speaking event that features exchange students, LGBTQIA+ students, and others at their school who have struggled to feel like they belong in school or in the community in an effort to promote diversity, equity, and inclusion. When asked what they wanted their audience to learn from their video essay submission and Diversity Undivided, the sisters said,
“We created the video with the intention that those watching would gain an understanding of the effects of hate, not just on a large scale, but also in our everyday lives… Change starts with the individual decision to do something different. Each of us, every interaction, has the choice and the chance to be accepting and non-judgmental.”
The sisters will receive a $5,000 scholarship, with the second and third place winners receiving $1,000 and $500 respectively. Both the second and third place winners created projects that focused on collaboration with their peers and school to create a safer, more respectful environment for everyone.
The 2019 Stronger Than Hate Challenge winners exemplify the type of citizen Teaching with Testimony hopes to inspire across schools and communities nationwide. To learn more about this year’s winners or for more information about next year’s challenge, visit www.TeachingwithTestimony.com.
By Theresa Duncan, Discovery Education