Inspired by the Grateful Dead’s Playing in the Band 🎶

November 2021

Dear Friends and Colleagues,

I’ve heard the Grateful Dead perform Playing in the Band many, many times.  Recently, while listening to a live-concert version, I heard one particular phrasing in a whole different light:


Some folks look for answers;
Others look for fights.

“Playing in the Band (Live in Veneta, Oregon 8/27/72)” • Grateful Dead

I could not help but reflect on how these words capture our current state of public conversation.  I know I’m not alone in feeling a sense of discouragement and futility.  Afterall, the work of TWAICB is about raising awareness of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) and how its 30 Articles can provide the standards to be met by social justice efforts to rights wrongs, and as inspiration for our day-to-day interactions to treat all with respect and dignity.  Yet, every day we see in the news, social media, and in the streets, examples of hate-based, polarizing rhetoric seemingly looking for fights, and I wonder if there is any space to embrace and look for questions and answers to support the fundamental premise of the UDHR, as expressed in the first clause of the UDHR Preamble:
UDHR Preamble: Whereas recognition of the inherent dignity and the equal and inalienable rights of all members of the human family is the foundation of freedom, justice and peace in the world…To help get from futility to possibility, I re-read the NY Times Opinion piece by John Lewis (July 30, 2020).  His words enforced my own conviction that it is vital to stay hopeful and committed to doing what we can to forge the knowledge, positive connections and collaborations that are so necessary to nurture peace and get beyond bigotry, violence, aggression and war.

In the spirit of Eleanor Roosevelt’s meaningful idea that universal human rights begin “in small places close to home,” we offer the following four questions as possible starts to positive, spirited discussions with family and friends during and around Thanksgiving, where there is no need to find the right answers or look for fights:

  1. Discussion questionsWhat role does the tradition of Thanksgiving have in these current times?

  2. What is the relevance of sharing our longstanding, favorite Thanksgiving foods and other rituals at our gatherings?

  3. Why is it important to share these rituals with family and friends?

  4. What is it about these times that gives us hope for the future?

We hope the spirit of Thanksgiving offers you and yours the opportunity to experience kindness, love and joy, all healthy ingredients to sustain our positive individual and collective efforts.

With appreciation and best regards,
Sandy Sohcot, Director

Featured Resources

Connecting to the themes presented in this newsletter, here are some additional resources.

Before You Act,
Do This

Before You Act, Do This

Resources for fact-checking information and evaluating sources.

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Stories and Activities from Ms. Webb’s 1st Grade Class

 Stories and Activities from Ms. Webb’s 1st Grade Class

Stories and activities from children’s literature that look at social-emotional learning, critical thinking and history, and social justice and human rights education.

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