Building Empathy is a project of PEF and PUSD, with support from the California State Library and California Humanities

Collages, Podcasts

Students explored works written about the Japanese American experience, and made photo collages relating to issei identity. They then related those themes to contemporary issues and produced podcasts to explore those issues further.

Lesson Plans

Featured Work

Participating teacher at John Muir High School: Cuauhtemoc Mauricio / History

Mr. Mauricio participated in all three of the professional development sessions. He introduced the project to his US History students by bringing them to the field trip to Little Tokyo where students explored the neighborhood and its history. They also participated in an interactive tour of the Japanese American National Museum’s Common Grounds exhibition.

In his spring 2023 course, Mr. Mauricio taught excerpts from Only What We Could Carry by Lawson Fusao Inada, Patricia Wakida, and William Hohrin, a Heyday Books that was also funded by California State Library’s Civil Liberties grant.

As a culmination of the project, Mr. Mauricio’s students researched a contemporary issue and recorded podcasts. Some of the issues they explored included: connections between foster care and mental health; the two-tiered justice system in the US; damages caused by the “zero tolerance” policy at the US-Mexico border; and many more.

Page Header Photo: Muir students preparing for podcast; Photo credits: Sehba Sarwar

What we hear!

“The worst thing I would say about the government separating the families is that a lot of kids were probably stuck by themselves and were so lost and confused about what was going on and had no idea why they were in trouble or anything… They were probably wondering why they can’t enjoy life the same as every other person here.
—Angel, Rose City High School

“It was great to get to explore and … learn new things about someone else’s culture. And then we went to the museum – it was a great experience.”

Andrew at John Muir High School