This year a team of educators, authors, and activists joined the Zinn Education Project to help with outreach on #GivingTuesday. As a result, we raised $5,268 from 74 individual donors. With our anonymous donor match, the total amount collected is $10,536 to help sustain and expand our outreach to teachers in 2018.
Our success this year is in large part thanks to team members E.R. Bills, Kipp Dawson, Christine Fogler, Mia Henry, Samuel Herron, Paul Murray, and Mark Roudané. They sent moving letters to friends and posted appeals on social media. E.R. Bills created memes such as the one to the right. We extend our appreciation to everyone who made a contribution and helped spread the word. The Zinn Education Project does not receive corporate support. Instead we depend on individuals for this people-powered work.
Along with the donations, we received many wonderful quotes and dedications, including the ones below:
I’ve used Howard Zinn’s books for decades in my American History classes at CSU, Chico, and they never cease to educate and inspire students year after year. Howard provided a way of looking at our history that was truly unique, vital, and empathetic. It seems that at this time in our history—with so much division, turmoil, and racism rearing their ugly heads—we need Howard Zinn’s words and ideas in the classroom, to teach us about the struggles of ordinary people to overcome tyranny and oppression and to point the way to a better future. So I am more than happy to make a donation to the Zinn Education Project. —Robert Archer, Chico, California
I just appreciate and believe in anything my daughter Mia Henry supports because I know that if she believes in it, then it absolutely must be worthwhile! —Rugenia Moore Henry, Gadsden, Alabama
We have always needed A People’s History of the U.S. and those who do not let the light of truth get extinguished. We need it more today than any time in my lifetime. —Jesslyn Jobe, Carbondale, Illinois
One hopes the Zinn Education Project will expose to all generations this nation’s historical and current truths. —Rita Ruona, Madison, Wisconsin
I am making this donation to honor Joe Morse, a fearless community organizer for racial, environmental, and gender justice. Joe became an organizer while working in Meridian, Mississippi, during Freedom Summer. He spent the rest of his life helping ordinary people gain control of important institutions in their communities. Joe passed away in September, but I know he would be pleased to learn that more school children and teachers are discovering about the critical importance of grassroots organizing thanks to the Zinn Education Project. —Paul Murray, Albany, New York
In honor of Beverly Mills, much loved sister, mother, aunt, grandmother and great grandmother who dedicated her working life to teaching first grade in Martin County, North Carolina’s public school system. You are loved and missed. —The Family of Beverly Godwin Mills, Joshua Tree, California
The letters from the team members to their respective networks also offered strong testimonials, such as the one by Pittsburgh middle school teacher, Kipp Dawson. Here is an excerpt:
Our young people (and the rest of us) so desperately need real hope these days as they, and we, struggle to keep going against the storms. Real hope. Hope based on real knowledge of our real history. Knowing what our peoples have faced and how they have responded—knowing the history behind the music and poetry and stories and art that has kept captives and freedom fighters alike going forward, finding one another, doing what needs to be done.
I write to share with you the Zinn Education Project, which has long been a top priority for me, because this is exactly what it offers—and not just to individuals, but to teachers like us, to me, to thousands of other teachers and potentially many thousands more, as they build the resources to make this happen. The slogan on the ZEP t-shirt is a quote from people’s historian, Howard Zinn: “History should emphasize new possibilities by discussing those hidden episodes of the past when people showed their ability to resist, to join together, and occasionally win.”
Right now I should be reading and commenting on my 7th graders’ current papers. But as I think about the 12- and 13-year-old faces and hopes and challenges and dreams behind those papers, I do believe there’s nothing more important that I have to offer them than the knowledge, the reality, of what people like them have done in the past, and, therefore, what possibilities await them—individually and collectively—as they grow. As they are bombarded by images of children like them being victims of ugliness, don’t they most especially need to see people like them and their parents who have built alternatives and worked—sometimes victoriously—to make this world a better place. I hope you will explore the Zinn Education Project and take advantage of its many rich—and free to us—resources. Both their website and their Facebook page offer easy access to so much.
I hope, also, that you will consider contributing this organization continue its essential work. Today is the eve of Giving Tuesday where our contributions to the ZEP are being matched, dollar for dollar, by a retired colleague, and then spreading the word.
It is never too late to give. Please make a donation to the Zinn Education Project today and ask your friends to join you. Let us know if you would like more information about how to join an outreach team for our end-of-the-year giving and/or our next Giving Tuesday campaign.