JMSG and Teaching Tolerance, a Project of the Southern Poverty Law Center

Julia Morgan School for Girls’ class, Girls in Government, Leadership, and Service (GGLS) was awarded a $1500 grant from a national anti-bias education organization to fund a project aimed at teaching students the importance of voting and to support them in leading a non-partisan voter registration drive. 

The School will utilize the grant on October 18, 2018 renting a bus for a day to host a “Rock the Vote” campaign, stopping at various high schools in the area, providing the opportunity to pre-register those students who are 16 and 17, and register those who are 18. GGLS will not only provide what is necessary for students to sign-up, but will also provide information as to why registering is so critical.
Their project is linked to the national “Rock the Vote” campaign and is called “On the Road to Rock the Vote”. The girls in the class have studied U.S. voter registration, various state requirements and barriers, about the importance of voting, and historical and current suppression and its impact. Although the girls are 4 to 6 years away from voting themselves, they know that youth activists have played an important role in U.S. history and want to help increase the youth vote to make a difference.

The Teaching Tolerance Educator Grants program offers grants ranging from $500 to $5,000 for such projects that include marginalized students, promote an affirming school climate and educate young people to thrive in a diverse democracy. Educators who work in public or private K-12 schools, as well as alternative schools, therapeutic schools and juvenile justice facilities are eligible to apply at Applications are accepted and reviewed on a rolling basis.

“Teachers and administrators know best how to come up with innovative ways to teach their students to fight bigotry and hate,” said Maureen Costello, Teaching Tolerance director. “We want to help them turn those ideas into projects that will have a big impact on the way students see themselves, and how they view and treat others.”

The program funds three different types of projects: school-level, classroom-level and district-level. At the school and district levels, leadership teams will use the grants to improve school climate, reduce hate, support culturally responsive practices and implement anti-bias curricula. At the classroom level, teachers will use the grants to fund programming that promotes empathy and kindness, positive identity development, perspective taking, critical thinking about injustice and collective action.

“Our hope is to build, over time, a network of educators who are enthusiastic about learning from each other and will share their experiences fighting injustice in their schools with the broader Teaching Tolerance community,” Costello said. “Instead of allowing prejudice and hate to fester in the minds of our young people, we want to cultivate future generations with greater empathy, kindness and understanding for one another.”