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Be an Upstander

“The world is a dangerous place to live in, not because of the people who are evil, but because of the people who don’t do anything about it.”

– Albert Einstein

Be An Upstander

Bystanders are those who witness injustice and do or say nothing.  Doing or saying nothing sends a message that injustice is acceptable.

It isn’t! Be an Upstander.

An Upstander is someone who:

  • is a defender, advocate, and supporter of human rights and human dignity;
  • acts when witnessing inequality, injustice, or oppression;
  • recognizes the need for empathy, dignity, and compassion;
  • recognizes, engages, and empowers others to confront injustice.
Wassmuth Center for Human Rights-Be an upstander poster

Be an Upstander and A.C.T.

A = ASK: When you hear someone tell a joke that belittles others or use a word that is demeaning, ask, “Do you know what that word means?  Did you intend to be hurtful?”

C = CHOOSE: Being an upstander is a choice, just like being a bystander is a choice – but doing or saying nothing in the face of injustice implies that you agree.

T = TEACH: Teach by example of how you live your life. “Upstander” is a verb, as well as a noun.  I cannot call myself an upstander if others do not witness me as such.

Upstanders are those who recognize a wrong and take action to make it right.

Upstander Toolkit

Designed to support classroom instruction in grades 5-12, the Upstander Toolkit includes educational resources and materials produced by the Wassmuth Center for Human Rights to foster a school culture that respects human dignity and diversity.  The Toolkit includes a lesson plan with handouts that integrates the “Be an Upstander” video and downloadable student pocket-size brochure, to be reinforced with the “Be an Upstander and A.C.T.” classroom poster and student “I am an Upstander” notebook rulers.  For more information or to order an Upstander Toolkit, please submit the request form.

Upstander Toolkit Request Form



The Upstander Toolkit packages one classroom poster with 30 student notebook rulers. If additional rulers are needed, please indicate number: