To raise awareness about the effects of public trauma and terrorism on people, societies, and the world, and to educate teachers and our youth about the history of terrorism, international relations, global security, and domestic and international policies. To inspire young people to take action—as individuals and as part of their community—and support efforts that someday might prevent future acts of global terrorism.
Every generation experiences an event that significantly alters their lives and changes the course of history. For us, the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2011, is that event. At the time of the attack, educators and parents struggled with how to talk to children about the tragedy. Since that fateful day, schools, teachers and students have been forever linked with the day the United States sustained multiple terrorist attacks on native soil.
We believe, however, that teaching about September 11 must go beyond commemorating the anniversary. The anniversary certainly provides an opportunity to discuss what happened that day. But it should also inspire us to provide an opportunity for students to learn about the complexities of today’s world throughout the school year.
While this curriculum was developed because of the events of September 11, its intention is to keep September 11 within the context of terrorism throughout history and around the globe. The For Action Initiative curriculum places the events of September 11th in a larger and more meaningful educational context. In order for students to be able to think critically about the events of 9/11, they need to understand much more than just what happened that day. In order for children to feel safe, not vulnerable, for them to understand others and not develop prejudice, and for them to become effective leaders of tomorrow, they need to be taught about the challenges in our world, i.e. terrorism -- the concept, the history, the causes, the consequences. Only after they understand such events and their contributing factors, can they fully understand what happened on 9/11 and afterwards. And only after they fully understand what happened on 9/11, can they become leaders who will make a difference in the world, with the hope of preventing such an occurrence from happening in our future.