Gail Alioto, Court, Community and Alternative School, Los Guillicos Youth Detention Center

The distinction between civil rights and human rights comes up in the news all the time, so there is continual discussion about the subject matter raised in The Essence of Acceptance. This is very much a part of my students’ daily lives. As a result the students have done a lot of generating of their own concepts of human rights and responsibilities. It’s a conversation that needs to go on. It applies to what’s actually happening in our world. It provides students an opportunity to take action.

The project’s curriculum is great, especially for the disenfranchised youth. Following the Essence of Acceptance manual, we look at current events and discuss which rights are being threatened. When Lillian Judd (a Shoah/Holocaust survivor) was interviewed by my class at the [Sonoma County Juvenile Detention] Hall, my students were transformed! One young man, who we hadn’t been able to reach for seven months told me, hearing Lillian’s story, ‘It makes me realize maybe what I’ve been through isn’t as bad – I’m amazed at how she can still look forward and have a full life!’