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Online Resources for Academy of American Studies: Modern Slavery

Letter to Influential Person Assignment for Ms. Koo's 9th Grade ELA

“The worst sin towards our fellow creatures is not to hate them, but to be

indifferent to them: that's the essence of inhumanity." George Bernard Shaw

We started this unit by reading Elie Wiesel's "Perils of Indifference," which helped us to realize that bystanders aren't neutral. Their choice of inaction is always a choice to help the victimizer--not the victim. Frederick Douglass' narrative is an appeal to the bystanders who thought that not owning a slave was enough to keep their hands clean of slavery. But through his description of the horrors he both endured and witnessed as a slave, Douglass hoped that those sitting on the fence would be moved to join the abolitionist movement. We're going to do something similar. Recall all the writings of the people we read in this unit: Wiesel, MLK, Malcolm X, Washington, Douglass. What tools of rhetoric did they employ? Your assignment will be to employ some of the rhetorical appeals and devices we learned in class to write a letter to an influential person. In it, you will try to persuade him/her to do something about the plight of people suffering from modern slavery. But before your start, you must first choose (1) a country, (2) the specific kind of slavery found in that country or its government's contribution to one of the supply chains of slavery, and then (3) an influential person you think could impact meaningful change. Below are some sources to help you through this assignment. Let's  not be bystanders to modern slavery!

How to Write a Business Letter