Lesson Plan

Lonnie Chavis of 'This Is Us' Writes about Racism

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GRADE LEVEL: Elementary School, Middle School

COMMON CORE STANDARDS: Reading, Writing, Speaking & Listening, Language

Racism: A Unique Point of View from a Young Black Actor

In June 2020, Lonnie Chavis, the twelve-year old actor who stars in This Is Us, wrote and published an essay called “America Needs to Change” about his experiences with racism. He wrote the essay in the wake of an ongoing public conversation and reckoning about the ongoing issue of police violence against Black people and systemic racism. Chavis has a unique point of view as a Black actor and as a young person who speaks directly to other young people and whose words may resonate more powerfully in that role.

About the Lesson Plan

This lesson provides an opportunity for students to understand the definition of racism and reflect on specific examples of racism from Lonnie Chavis’ experiences as well as their own.

Learning Objectives:

  • Students will understand the definition of racism. 
  • Students will explore the concept of racism by reading an essay by a child actor.
  • Students will analyze the interpersonal and institutional ways that racism shows up in Lonnie Chavis’ life.
  • Students will reflect on their own experiences with or witnessing of racism and write an exploratory essay about that experience.