Words to Action Longitudinal Study Shows Program Empowers Students to Stand Up to Antisemitism

  • December 14, 2020

Denver Jewish Day School 2018 senior class students at ADL

With antisemitism and anti-Israel bias at their highest levels in recent memory, ADL is responding by equipping students with constructive and effective tools to stand up to these challenges in high schools, on college campuses, at summer camps and more with its signature Words to Action program. Thanks to a generous grant from Rose Community Foundation and others, ADL reached over 1,000 students in Colorado, New Mexico and Wyoming during the 2019-2020 academic year, and has moved to online programming during the COVID-19 pandemic that will continue into 2021.

A portion of the Rose Community Foundation grant is funding a longitudinal study that measures the impact of Words to Action on students’ ability to respond to antisemitic incidents. Significant findings demonstrate that following a Words to Action training, students express that they have the knowledge, skills and desire to stand up for themselves and to act as allies for others. The study also captured students’ experiences with antisemitism, underpinning the deep need for the program to continue.

Following a recent program at a Denver high school, one student said:

I want to be better about calling people out. I tend to be scared of rocking the boat, but I want to stand up for what I believe in more.

Another student who participated in a synagogue confirmation class session shared:

I learned a lot more about the history of antisemitism and how deeply rooted it is, as well as just formed a lot of connections between prior things I’d learned. There was really great discussion.

The Rose Community Foundation funding also supported the training of a new Words to Action peer intern, who participated in several online programs this past semester.

To learn more, to schedule a training or to offer financial support for the program, please contact ADL Senior Associate Director Sue Parker Gerson at mountainstates@adl.org or 303-830-7177.