Flower

Leading Issues in the News: Protests in Sports

Washington Redskins Kneel During the National Anthem

By Keith Allison from Hanover, MD, USA (Washington Redskins National Anthem Kneeling) [CC BY-SA 2.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

At the beginning of the 2016 NFL preseason, San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick ignited a firestorm of controversy by sitting down during the national anthem. He explained his reason for sitting as follows, “I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color. To me, this is bigger than football and it would be selfish on my part to look the other way.” In the 49ers final preseason game, Kaepernick kneeled during the anthem instead of sitting as a way to show more respect to military members while still protesting the anthem. Throughout the 2016 season, several NFL players joined Kaepernick in “taking a knee” during the anthem.

The protests became more widespread at the start of the 2017 season after President Donald Trump said NFL owners should fire players who kneel during the national anthem. In the games following Trump’s comments, more than 200 players kneeled while other teams linked arms in solidarity.

The protests are not confined to just the NFL. Soccer players and WNBA players have protested by kneeling or by staying in the locker room during the national anthem. Major league baseball player Bruce Maxwell of the Oakland Athletics knelt during the anthem, while NHL player J.T. Brown of the Tampa Bay Lightning raised his fist while standing on the bench during the national anthem.

Although the protests have generated controversy, they have also started conversations over racial discrimination, police brutality and freedom of expression.

This is not the first time athletes have used the world of sports to make a stand over social issues.

Protest at the 1968 Summer Olympics

Extending gloved hands skyward in racial protest, U.S. athletes Tommie Smith, center, and John Carlos stare downward during the playing of the Star Spangled Banner after Smith received the gold and Carlos the bronze for the 200 meter run at the Summer Olympic Games in Mexico City on Oct. 16, 1968. Australian silver medalist Peter Norman is at left. (AP Photo) (Credit: Public Domain)

At the 1968 Summer Olympics in Mexico City, African-American athletes Tommie Smith and John Carlos raised a fist while the national anthem played during their medal ceremony. The gesture was viewed as a “Black Power” salute and became front page news around the globe. The athletes stated they were there to express African-American strength and unity, protest black poverty, and remember victims of lynching.

On October 17, 1968, the International Olympic Committee convened and determined that Smith and Carlos were to be stripped of their medals for violating the fundamental principles of the Olympic spirit.

Forty-nine years later, that moment at the Olympics continues to reverberate through sports.

Learn more about the current national anthem protests as well as the historical context by visiting SIRS Issues Researcher and eLibrary. Not a customer? Free trials are available.

Public Libraries: Five ProQuest Resources for Family History Month

“By searching for our roots, we come close together as a human family.”—Senator Orrin Hatch

Seven Tips for Genealogy Research with Unparalleled ProQuest Resources

Since its approval in Congress in 2001, October has been designated as Family History Month. Genealogy is a popular hobby for good reason. Learning about family ancestors provides rich information that can help form identity, find new family connections, and reveal vital genetic health information. Exploration of one’s family tree is a rewarding and enlightening endeavor.

The public library is the ideal place for genealogical research because of its vast array of high-quality proprietary resources. These resources aren’t available online but they can be accessed with your library card on-site or through the library website.

To celebrate Family History Month, here are five ProQuest resources you may find at your local public library that support family history research:

1. Ancestry Library Edition: Download the ancestral chart to fill in known relatives then search about them in the vast collection of census data, vital records, directories, photos, and more from countries all over the world. Interview family members for information on relatives’ occupations, where they are buried, and stories about life events.

2. HeritageQuest Online: Powered by Ancestry.com, use this resource to dig deep into the lives of family ancestors with genealogical and historical sources such as military records, bank records, cemetery indexes, public maps, public records, death records, and more.

3. Fold3 Library Edition: For family members who served in the military, use Fold3 to access U.S. military records, including the stories, photos and documents of the men and women who served.

4. ProQuest Historical Newspapers: Travel back in time to read about historical events that involve ancestors. Use the powerful search engine to locate events and names of individuals in articles, photos, advertisements, classified ads, obituaries, and more. With complete cover-to-cover editions, historical newspapers provide valuable primary source material to add context to genealogical research.

5. Newspapers.com Library Edition: Dig into local history and search regional and state titles including small local newspapers to learn about the daily life of ancestors. Spread the word about valuable findings–clip, save, and share images via social media sites.

Use October as an opportunity to start the adventure of family history research at the local public library. Learn more about ProQuest’s array of genealogy resources at http://www.proquest.com/libraries/public/genealogy/.

CultureGrams — New Kids Country: Palau

The CultureGrams editors are excited to announce a new Kids edition country report!

Flag of Palau, via CultureGrams

The new Palau report includes detailed information on the history, culture, language, food, and daily life of this country.

Here are some interesting Did You Knows about Palau:

  • Palau includes around 250 islands, but only about 10 of them are inhabited.
  • Palau does not have a military force of its own. The United States is responsible for its defense under an agreement between the two countries.
  • Bachel are stone disks or beads with a hole carved in the middle. They were traditionally used as a form of money in Palau and are now passed between families for important events, such as funerals, weddings, or births.
  • Palau gained its independence in 1994.

Read about life as a kid in Palau, holiday celebrations, and typical meals, all in this colorful new report.

Recent Supreme Court Decisions Offer Primary Sources on Leading Issues

Educators, do you and your students need primary source materials on current controversial social issues? Look no further than SIRS Knowledge Source’s U.S. Supreme Court feature. SIRS editors hand-select Supreme Court decisions based on their relevance to student research and support of SIRS Leading Issues. Users can access Supreme Court cases via the Supreme Court feature in the Government Reporter product, or in the Advanced Search feature in SIRS Knowledge Source by choosing the Primary Sources tab in article results (All available primary sources will appear in the search results).

SIRS Knowledge Source Advanced Search Screenshot via SIRS Issues Researcher

The Court’s most recent term, which concluded the last week of June, saw quite a few compromise decisions since the Court operated without a ninth justice for most of the term. After the death of Justice Antonin Scalia in February 2016, the Court was left with only eight justices for 14 months while the White House and Congress battled over its membership. But in April, President Donald Trump’s first nominee, Neil Gorsuch, was confirmed and joined the Court to create a conservative majority.

Current Supreme Court Justices. Front row, left to right: Associate Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Associate Justice Anthony M. Kennedy, Chief Justice John G. Roberts, Jr., Associate Justice Clarence Thomas, Associate Justice Stephen G. Breyer. Back row: Associate Justice Elena Kagan, Associate Justice Samuel A. Alito, Jr., Associate Justice Sonia Sotomayor, Associate Justice Neil M. Gorsuch. (Credit: Franz Jantzen, Collection of the Supreme Court of the United States) [public domain]

While there were not a lot of high-profile cases, the Court nevertheless handed down some important decisions involving freedom of religion, gay rights, capital punishment, treatment of prisoners, property rights, free speech, child protection laws and election law. Below we highlight some of the decisions from this term, and their relevance to SIRS Leading Issues topics.

* Fry v. Napoleon Community Schools (Feb. 22, 2017): The Court ruled in a case involving the use of a service dog by a child with cerebral palsy that a student or their family can sue a school district over a disability issue without exhausting all administrative procedures under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act.

(Related Leading Issue: Education Policy)

* Endrew F. v. Douglas County School District RE-1 (March 22, 2017): The Court decided that schools can’t settle for minimal academic progress by students with disabilities.

(Related Leading Issues: Autism, Education Policy)

* Star Athletica, LLC v. Varsity Brands, Inc. (March 22, 2017): The Court determined that designs on cheerleading uniforms can be protected by copyright law.

(Related Leading Issues: Cheerleading, Copyright Infringement, Sports)

* Moore v. Texas (March 28, 2017): The Court ruled that the outdated medical standards used by the state of Texas to determine that a convicted murderer was not intellectually disabled and thus eligible for execution violated the Eighth Amendment’s prohibition against cruel and unusual punishment, as well as Supreme Court precedent.

(Related Leading Issues: Capital Punishment, Treatment of Prisoners, Mental Health)

* Expressions Hair Design v. Schneiderman (March 29, 2017) The Court decided that the New York General Business Law was not unconstitutionally vague under the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment.

(Related Leading Issues: Freedom of Speech)

* Cooper v. Harris (May 22, 2017): The Court determined that North Carolina’s new congressional districting plan constituted an unconstitutional racial gerrymander.

(Related Leading Issues: Racial Discrimination, Elections, Government Ethics)

* Sessions v. Morales-Santana (June 12, 2017): The Court determined that disparate citizenship rules for children of unwed mothers and fathers violates the Fifth Amendment’s guarantee of equal protection.

(Related Leading Issues: Illegal Immigration, Immigration)

* Matal v. Tam (June 19, 2017): The Court ruled that the government can’t reject trademarks that might be disparaging or offensive to some people.

(Related Leading Issues: Controversial Mascots, Ethnic Relations, Freedom of Speech)

* McWilliams v. Dunn (June 19, 2017): The Court decided that an indigent defendant whose competence is a significant issue at trial is entitled to a psychiatric expert, who is independent of the prosecution.

(Related Leading Issues: Criminal Justice, Death Penalty/Capital Punishment, Mental Health)

* Packingham v. North Carolina (June 19, 2017) The Court ruled that the North Carolina law prohibiting registered sex offenders from accessing various websites, where minors are known to be active and have accounts, regardless of whether or not the sex offender directly interacted with a minor, violates the First Amendment.

(Related Leading Issues: Freedom of Speech, Social media, Child protection laws, Convicted felons)

* Trinity Lutheran Church of Columbia, Inc. v. Comer (June 26, 2017) The Court decided that the exclusion of churches from an otherwise neutral and secular aid program violates the First Amendment’s guarantee of free exercise of religion.

(Related Leading Issues: Freedom of Religion, Church and State) 

* Pavan v. Smith (June 26, 2017) The Court ruled that an Arkansas statute that precludes both names of a same-sex married couple from being listed as parents on a child’s birth certificate is an unconstitutional discrimination, considering the Court’s decision in Obergefell v. Hodges (2015), which legalized same-sex marriage.

(Related Leading Issues: Gay Liberation Movement, Same-sex marriage, LGBT rights, Human Reproductive Technology) 

U.S. Supreme Court Conference Room via U.S. Supreme Court [public domain]

Each case in SIRS Knowledge Source’s U.S. Supreme Court feature includes a full-text PDF version of the opinion, as well as a concise and easy-to-understand summary explaining the question before the Court and its decision. Cases can be browsed by subject heading, topic, by Constitutional Article and Amendment, or alphabetically. You can also find biographical information on current and past justices, a reference article that explains the role of the Supreme Court and its history, a full-text version of the U.S. Constitution with amendments and historical notes, a list of supplementary references for students and educators, and more.

The Supreme Court’s upcoming term for 2017-2018 began on October 2, and the justices have already agreed to hear 33 cases. These cases involve immigration (President Trump’s controversial travel ban); more gay rights issues (a showdown between religious freedom and state anti-discrimination laws); government surveillance (the use of cell phone location records by police without a warrant); election law (a state’s attempt to clean up its voter rolls, and another election redistricting case); and gambling (sports betting at casinos and racetracks); among others.

Stay tuned for decisions in these important cases, and keep SIRS Knowledge Source in mind when you need easy access to primary source material for lesson plans or student research.

Don’t have SIRS Knowledge Source at your school or library? Free trials are available.

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Magellan Discovers the Straits

I guess if you are the first to do something or see something, you get the right to name whatever it was that you did or saw. Ferdinand Magellan had a lot of firsts in his 41 years of life. He was the first person to circumnavigate the world and the first European to cross the Pacific Ocean. Ferdinand was also the first to sail through the strait that would bear his name, but, to his credit, on his voyages he did not name the things he discovered after himself. For example, the Strait of Magellan was originally called the “Strait of Saints.” The archipelago at the southernmost tip of South America he named Tierra del Fuego (Land of Fire) instead of something silly like “Magellan Land.” And, after coming through the strait to the ocean, he called it the Pacific (Peaceful) instead of the Ocean of Magellan or some other self-serving title. In tribute to a man who chose not to honor himself, two galaxies, two craters of the moon, one crater of Mars and a NASA spacecraft have been named in honor of Magellan.

The infographic below tells you a little about Magellan and his discoveries.

 

In 1988, I passed through the Strait of Magellan aboard a U.S. Navy ship called The Sampson. It was an interesting trip. The weather seemed to change every 30 minutes or so. One minute the sun would be shining and the next it would be snowing. Here are a few photos I took while cruising through the Strait:

Heading into the Strait of Magellan

Aboard the USS Sampson Heading into the Strait of Magellan [Photo by Tom Mason]

Opening of the Strait of Magellan

Entering the Strait of Magellan [Photo by Tom Mason]

Snow-Capped Mountains in the Strait

Snow-Capped Mountains in the Strait of Magellan [Photo by Tom Mason]

Sunken Ship in the Strait

One of Several Sunken Ships Seen in the Strait [Photo by Tom Mason]

 

Learn more about Ferdinand Magellan and his accomplishments by visiting eLibrary!

What are you celebrating today?

Christopher Columbus photo via Wikimedia, indigenous Guatemalan girls photo via CultureGrams.

 

Today, or on a day soon to come this month, countries throughout the Western hemisphere will mark some aspect of the European encounter with the Americas. Which aspect they choose to celebrate depends on their perspective. And in fact some cities within the same country (namely the U.S.) will be celebrating under different titles.

In many Latin American countries, this October holiday is called Día de la Raza (Day of the Race) in an effort to highlight the indigenous cultures Columbus encountered when he arrived in the Americas. However, some indigenous groups, such as those in Chile, find nothing to celebrate on this day and instead call it Día de la Resistencia Indígena, or Indigenous Resistance Day.

Within the United States, the federal holiday is called Columbus Day, a title that, according to the New York Times, has been controversial from the start. Formally made a recurring holiday in 1934, Columbus Day began as a celebration more significant to Italian-Americans than the general population, and Italian-American groups today still advocate for the holiday to be called Columbus Day. As the figure of Columbus broadened to represent general European settlement of the Americas, resistance to the holiday deepened. As one Christian Science Monitor article (available via SIRS) put it, “For many native Americans, Columbus is a symbol of European colonialism, enabling widespread destruction of indigenous cultures and its people and paving the way for rampant oppression and forced relocation.” In response, many states with high native populations stopped celebrating Columbus Day and some cities and states added “Indigenous People’s Day” to the holiday name or changed the name entirely. Today only 25 states in all observe the holiday.

However, shifting the celebration from Columbus to the people he and other Europeans colonized is not itself without controversy. Last month an opinion piece (available via eLibrary) in The Weekly Standard argued that “up until fairly recently the European discovery of the Americas was regarded as a milestone in Western civilization . . .” The author also likened Columbus Day to other U.S. holidays that are outdated but “represent the great American habits of adaptation and historical amnesia.”

So what is the holiday called where you live today? Or is it considered a holiday at all? And do you agree with that status or name? We’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments. In the meantime, check out more Columbus Day/Día de la Raza/Indigenous People’s Day articles and information in CultureGrams, SIRS, and eLibrary!

Fact Sheet: World Teachers’ Day

World Teachers' Day Infographic

October 5, 2017 is World Teachers’ Day commemorating the signing of the 1966 UNESCO/ILO Recommendation concerning the Status of Teachers.

This year’s theme is “Teaching in Freedom, Empowering Teachers” and correlates with the Sustainable Development Goals established in 2015. The top priority for these education and development goals is for teachers to be empowered and celebrated.

To reach the goals set by UNESCO, the world needs to recruit almost 69 million new teachers by 2030. In this infographic, I’ve highlighted how many primary and secondary school teachers must be recruited in 2020, 2025 and 2030 respectively to meet these goals.

With teachers at the forefront of importance in shaping students’ educational and social understanding of the world around them, it is vital that teachers are acknowledged for their contributions and commended.

Reach out to your teachers and let them know how they’ve inspired or challenged you. Just a few kind words can go a long way. The more teachers there are in the world, the more students there will be who continue to ask questions and find solutions to long-standing problems. And those students could become our next innovators, humanitarians, and world leaders. Support teachers—our future depends on it.

How will you celebrate World Teachers’ Day? Let us know on Twitter @ProQuest or in the comments below! Also, find us on Facebook @ProQuestHomeworkCentral.

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Coming Soon: The New eLibrary!

Launching at the end of 2017, the new eLibrary is a completely re-imagined, redesigned experience to more efficiently guide novice researchers to identify their research topic and find authoritative information to support their research claim. See the upgraded features:

Featured Research Topics help users get started quickly

Editor’s Picks and Trending Research Topics, featured with image snapshots on the home page, help users explore and find topics quickly. Over 11,000 editor-created Research Topics are available in eLibrary and intuitive browse features guide students to their topic with a minimum of effort.

A better search experience

The new eLibrary will offer a cleaner, more appealing and visual, responsive design that will save users time regardless of device. The home page starts with a simple, single search box effortlessly guiding students to their topic and supporting content.

Simple icons help users search by Assignment or Subject

Beyond the featured Research Topics, on the home page, users can browse from one of two lists – Common Assignments and Subjects. Simple icons guide users to topics aligned to common curriculum.

Better design, better search

The highly visual and intuitive navigation gets researchers to the content they need quickly. And, the popular Research Topics feature is showcased front and center!

Trending Topics and Editors’ Picks sections are a great starting point for users to easily find a topic

• The responsively designed user interface is optimized for access on any device, 24/7

A streamlined feature-set focuses on tools that researchers actually use!

The more efficient search engine enables users to find relevant content faster

• Users can cross-search eLibrary with other ProQuest databases, improving library return-on-investment

• eLibrary content will be hosted on the award-winning ProQuest platform, and will offer two methods of access: a custom Guided Research application and as part of the unified platform, assuring ease-of-use

For more information, visit the eLibrary support page.

Learn More about Hurricane-Stricken Areas

Debris from Hurricane Maria in Dominica

Debris from Hurricane Maria in Dominica [via Wikimedia Commons]

The devastating effects of Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and Maria have been making headlines over the past few weeks. Help your students learn more about the nations, territories, and states hit hardest by these natural disasters with help from CultureGrams.

For instance, a recent poll1 revealed that almost half of Americans were unaware that Puerto Ricans are U.S. citizens, making Hurricane Maria’s destruction in Puerto Rico a domestic disaster. But from the History section of the World Edition Puerto Rico report, students learn that “In 1917, Puerto Rico officially became a U.S. territory, and its people were granted citizenship” and that “Puerto Rico became a commonwealth of the United States with its own constitution in July 1952.”

Each of the CultureGrams reports also discusses topics such as Land and Climate and Population, which—along with the other report sections—can help students learn more about the conditions, demographics, and culture in the areas hit hard by recent hurricanes.

Hurricane-hit areas you may want your students to study include:

Don’t have CultureGrams? Request a free trial.

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1. Dropp, Kyle, and Brendan Nyhan. “Nearly Half of Americans Don’t Know Puerto Ricans Are Fellow Citizens.” The New York Times, 26 Sept. 2017, www.nytimes.com/2017/09/26/upshot/nearly-half-of-americans-dont-know-people-in-puerto-ricoans-are-fellow-citizens.html.

10 Wacky Animals You Probably Don’t Know Exist

Animals are so much fun to learn about! My kids love to hear fun facts about animals. It’s so fun they don’t even realize they are learning.

To celebrate Animal Facts, a popular feature in SIRS Discoverer, here are facts about 10 wacky animals that you probably don’t know exist and that are perfect for student research!

When doing assignments on animals, direct your students to Animal Facts for all the information they need for an elementary-level research project. You’ll find Animal Facts on the front page under Explore Features on SIRS Discoverer.