Building Bridges Newsletter

Newsletter Seven

This is one of a series of newsletters written by Peter Porr and Paul Sjordal between September 1993 and December 1995 for the purpose of explaining the South-East Asia Center’s Building Bridge’s objectives, philosophy, and approach to learning.

This is one of a series of newsletters written by Peter Porr and Paul Sjordal between September 1993 and December 1995 for the purpose of explaining the South-East Asia Center’s Building Bridge’s objectives, philosophy, and approach to learning.


Holiday celebration can be fun, multiculturally educational and legal — as far as separation of church and state.

Christmas carols, for instance, can easily be turned into multicultural lessons.  Children can feel they are participating in the spirit of the season while teachers can feel they are abiding by the law and teaching lessons with a virtuous, yet non– sectarian theme.

One World

(Tune of “We Three Kings”)

We four peoples of one world are,
We four pe-oples all under the stars,
of Eu-rope, we of A-sia, 
of Africa,  A-mer-i-ca.
share hope, and we share dreams.
share needs, and we share deeds.
all toil; we spring from soil;
all pass on; we're all soon gone.
all share a glorious Past.
all share a terrible Past.
and strife have plagued us all
peace and beauty have equally called.
divide us?  Why defy us?
are one and never four.


Teachers from McCutcheon and Goudy schools have given SEAC’s Multicultural Program some feedback which our editors would like to share with you in this our last issue of the year.

I hear the children supporting each other more and more, with positive comments and peer tutoring. I see conflicts resolved peacefully with individual students suggesting solutions in which everybody wins.  There have been countless small victories which add up to a much improved classroom environment conducive to optimal learning and development. I think this program should be implemented state-wide and even nation-wide.

McCutcheon (Julie Scott, ESEA, 1st grade)

…helped children to learn to care for one another …. sensitized them to others feelings….  contributed to their growth toward becoming more productive people….They have learned to show affection and a real caring for fellow students…. They now can work together effectively and incidents of unacceptable behavior dropped so dramatically that no major behavioral eruption occurred the entire school year.

McCutcheon (Sandra Silverglade, ESEA, 1st grade)

It has also provided them with the necessary skills to use in their thought process to decide right from wrong.

Goudy  (Mrs. Bernice Eiland, 8th grade)

The topics discussed, self-esteem, racial relations, and goal setting, gave my students insight and opportunities to explore their self awareness.

Goudy (Darlene Nelson, 7th grade)

The varied activities and materials held the interest of the students. It was evident through their participation that they were learning positive values and developing skills to use throughout their lives. As a whole, we can see that the number of students resistant to changes in attitudes was greatly reduced.

McCutcheon (Angela Kinds, Glenda Thompson, Vicki Nissim, Andrea Finkle, 2nd & 3rd grades)

Traditional Multicultural Glossary

tolerance: a value denoting respect of others beliefs, folk ways, religion, etc. without sharing them; connotes lack of ability or desire to distinguish values; see respect.

ethnic pride: pride in ones race and ethnic group; can divert focus from self esteem

race: superficial human characteristics that separate human beings into distinct groups

ethnic fest: a festival at which ethnic foods, music, dance, dress are displayed in anticipation that this superficial exercise will bring interethnic respect

diversity: a mixture of ethnic groups, races, religions, beliefs often  celebrated for the sake of or value of differences diverts attention from humankind’s basic oneness and inadvertently makes us feel separate as sub-species of humanity

respect: a value which denotes that each person should esteem the beliefs, folk ways, religion, etc. of others; [can sidestep the value of developing tools of critical thinking and independent thought necessary for human progress and sensitivity to evil in any culture or milieu]; see tolerance

ethnic holiday: a day designated usually by a government or religion which celebrates an ethnic hero, a noteworthy event such as an  independence day of ethnic history or a holiday of a particular religion; [can promote stereotypes of ethnic groups and ethnic competition for holiday  designation]

ethnic studies: the study of an ethnic group’s history, folk ways, heroes, conquests, accomplishments and persecutions by others with an attempt to put that ethnic group on the map of humanity, sensitize  to the tragic effects of the persecution  and therefore help individuals of that ethnic group feel good about themselves

holocaust/persecution  studies: an effort to sensitize the world about the tragic inhumanity of one particular group of human beings against another; focuses usually on one ethnic group at one period of history exclusively; can, at worst, stereotype one ethnic group as evil without promoting a full understanding of why parts of an ethnic group or society become “disfunctional” at times in history and what can be done by society at large, individuals and victims to better control their fate; at worst such studies can in some cases backfire, convincing the victims that they have no power to change their fate

 A New Multicultural Glossary

sensitivity: understanding for others and their plight and the reasons that they act and think the way they do

self esteem: pride in oneself generated from ability of individuals to understand self and environment so as to be able to feel control over own life, understand how to set and accomplish goals; non-dependence on others, on groups or on organizations for self esteem

human being: a sophisticated type of animal that has the capacity for complex human emotions and is able to develop complex societies to satisfy basic emotional and physical needs

humanity: all human beings; the only surviving species of the genus Homo Sapien Sapiens

commonality: a value more basic than human diversity; all human beings are essentially, elementally the same in biology and in needs both physical and emotional; the way  humans fulfill their needs differs superficially

humanidays“: days which celebrate the oneness of humankind, the triumphs of peace and harmony over war and strife humanity studies; objective study of humanity worldwide and its failures and triumphs; study of humankind with a goal of understanding and promotion of tools for solving the  problems of humanity and its peaceful and fulfilling existence; an alternative to ethnic studies and holocaust/ persecution studies

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