The Wassmuth Center for Human Rights is working in partnership with HP Inc. to produce new educational materials promoting inclusion and respect for people in communities throughout the state. The groups met with students and teachers at Boise High on Monday to launch the effort, called the Human Dignity Project.
The first step was presenting students in the school’s Humanitarian Club, a service club, with 25 sets of five posters for students to distribute throughout the school and larger community.
The posters, bearing a bold graphic of a hand, synonymous with taking action, not standing by, encourage students to be “upstanders.” This means asking them to speak up when they see discrimination, act with compassion towards others, and more. A fifth poster bears an image of what the center calls the “Spiral of Injustice.” The poster speaks to how the persecution of people often begins with language and ends with violence and the elimination of culture.
The effort to produce the posters and the project started long before the recent election, said Dan Prinzing, executive director at the Wassmuth Center. But some of the reports Prinzing’s heard of racism in schools and elsewhere since the election has made the project particularly timely, he said on Monday.
The posters, printed by HP Inc., will be available to hundreds of schools across Idaho, along with other educational material, he said.
The project started at Boise High in recognition of the work of its Humanitarian Club.
“It’s a club devoted to taking care of others,” said Prinzing. It’s a club, he added in which “students come together with a common interest in giving back to the community through helping others.”
That idea, he said, is at the very core of the center’s Human Dignity Project, “recognizing needs of others in the community, standing up and stepping in to confront injustice based on gender, age, disibility, race, religion or sexual orientation.”
Sharon Hanson, English teacher and club advisor, said the club members are honored to have the opportunity to distribute the posters.
“I love the image of the hand. Because so much of what we do is putting ideas into action,” she said.
The club is student-led, she added.
Club President Sara Matlock said the club is currently working on three projects in the community, a tutoring project at Jefferson Elementary focused on English language learners; a new project with Agency for New Americans working with 25 Syrian refugee children on play, English skills and cultural exchanges, and monthly Friendship Meals where students distribute meals to homeless residents.
“That program allows volunteers to connect to a part of our community that is normally not as visible to us,” said Matlock.
For more information about getting the posters and other resources for your classroom, contact the Wassmuth Center at 208-345-0304.
See the posters or order online at wassmuthcenter.org. A set of five posters costs $20.