‘Any serious efforts to wake everyone up deserves support’ and More 2014 Donor Tributes February 12, 2014

Annual growth of registered teachers.

More than 10,000 registrations in 2014 for a total of 44,629 teachers teaching outside the textbook.

Thank you to the 209 donors in 2014 whose support makes it possible for the Zinn Education Project to promote the teaching of people’s history and have more than 44,000 registered teachers. The work is underwritten by many of individuals, people like you—teachers, parents, grandparents, sons, daughters, activists—that make it possible to bring people’s history to the classroom, reaching millions of students each year. We appreciate everyone who made a contribution without which we would not be able to have the same sort of impact. You can read just a few of our 2014 highlights here. Below, we share some of the dedications of why they chose to donate to the Zinn Education Project.

A number of people dedicated their donation to teachers. Felicia Elias noted her donation was in honor of “the amazing men and women who shaped my 18 years of education over the years—in particular, to Pauline Mikuska, Kenneth Raymond, and Edward Moll. Kathryn Peyton wanted to “honor two extraordinary teachers: Wes Boutchard and Tom Brannan.” Karen Cooper said, “Thanks to my kid’s teachers.”

Teachers showed their appreciation for the free teaching activities and resources made available through the Zinn Education Project. Rachel Bernkopf said,

“Thanks for helping me get through my first year of teaching with engaging social justice lesson plans!”

Diana Brace said,

“I use your resources all the time in my adult literacy classes. Students consistently find activities from the Zinn Education Project engaging, enlightening, and inspiring. The discussion and motivation that is spurred by your projects make my classroom the community of change I work for it to be. Thank you!!”

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Since 2010, more than 130,000 teaching activities have been downloaded, reaching millions of students each year.

Virginia Spatz said, “Thank you for helping teachers widen the narrative in our schools,” and Linda Elsner said, “I wish I would have had access to this kind of history when I was in high school!” Lisa Budwig said, “Thank you, Zinn Education Project, for fighting to justly and accurately define and teach that the term “history” is the study of ALL of our stories, not just those of rich, white men. The knowledge and perspectives you share help make us better, more empathetic, curious, and engaged as individuals and as a country.” Amanda Campbell-Wyatt said, “Every student deserves to know that people JUST LIKE THEM made vital contributions to our society and history!” Michelle Asche simply said, “For my students.”

Donors also honored family members—those who made history and the historymakers in the making. Craig and Cindy Corrie, parents of Rachel Corrie, dedicated their donation “For our grandchildren.” Colleen Dempsey said, “I’m supporting the Zinn Education Project for Ted Pitts because, along with Howard Zinn’s writing and with my mother, I credit Ted for being one of the first in my life to challenge and encourage me to keep thinking.”

In 2014, we were able to add 16 new labor lessons thanks to our donors.

In 2014, we were able to add 16 new labor lessons thanks to our donors.

Susan Hagstrom dedicated her donation,

“In honor of my mom, Nancy Booth Hagstrom, who is a champion of civil rights and has always sought to teach us an accurate view of American history.”

Joan G. Kramer shared:

“I am honoring my father and mother, who were fighters for the people and who suffered during the McCarthy (Truman) era. They would be so happy about Zinn Education Project keeping the truth in front of people.”

Jan Levine Thal noted,

“I donate in the names of my parents, Solomon and Elizabeth Levine, both WWII Navy veterans, who brought the family into the Civil Rights movement in the 1950s and supported progressive causes from then until their deaths.”

And Lucielle Riley dedicated her donation to “my son Timothy Riley, the budding peace activist.”

Nancy Schimmel said, “In honor of my father, William (Bud) Reynolds, who taught me labor history,” and James Weisser dedicated his donation to “my father, who taught me the importance of being on the right side of history.” Rowan Shafer-Rickles said, “In memory of my grandfather, who lived much of the history I’m learning through Zinn Education Project.”

We offered resources to teaching about Ferguson, one of the most used resources we featured in 2014.

We offered resources to teaching about Ferguson, one of the most used resources we featured in 2014.

Numerous donors wanted to honor history and the struggle toward social justice. An anonymous donor said, “I’m donating in the memory of Michael Brown,” and Victor Bondi donated, “For Ferguson.”

Another donor said, “Because, as a child who grew up in WV and had the year-long WV history class in school, we never heard about the Mine Wars or Buffalo Creek,” and another donor said, “I was very inspired to see this information available on social media and believe we live in one of the most under educated societies on the planet in regard to world and Western history. The peoples history should be taught in every single elementary school and high school across the Western hemisphere.”

Robert Stepan of Canyon Lake, Texas, noted,

“How can you fix our broken system, our sick society, if the prevailing mindset blinds itself to the symptoms, refusing to realize that it is even broken, even proclaims it’s the healthiest, the best system around, and by a wide margin? Any serious efforts to wake everyone up to the reality around them deserves support. I have recently become to believe that if the species is going to make it through the next few decades, it has to start with this, without understanding who and what we are, how we got to this place, and why, we’ll never change course. I’m more than happy to make a contribution, this is vital work.”

Thanks to two generous donors, we were able to have an expanded booth presences at the National Council for the Social Studies conference.

Thanks to two generous donors this year, we were able to have an expanded booth presence at the NCSS conference in Boston.

Of course, donations were also made in honor of Howard Zinn, which one donor said, “Howard Zinn did well in enhancing the education of many.” David Robinson said, “I have read Howard Zinn’s books and am heartened to know that someone is carrying on his work.

Actor Bob Weick said,

“Howard writings, his example, and his play Marx in Soho, have changed my life. Through his life and work Howard inspired me to play my part in the effort toward social progress. I have performed the Marx in Soho nearly 300 times at schools across the country and have witnessed the power of his Howard’s work to inspire young people to not only engage with important ideas, but to be active citizens. That’s why I will always support ZEP!”

Former student Richard Lubin (Boston University class of 1970; Student Union President 1969-70), noted “For Howard Zinn, who helped me understand the true meaning of social justice.” And Mary McCracken stated, “Zinn told it like it was. We need more truth in history!

We do need more truth in history. With your support, we can continue to build on the momentum to bring to bring a more honest, engaging, and complex understanding of U.S. history—the people’s history we all share.

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