Schools Gear Up for 12th Annual National Mix It Up at Lunch Day

SPLC-sponsored program targets school climate and social divisions among students

May 21, 2013, 11:11 ET from Southern Poverty Law Center

MONTGOMERY, Ala., May 21, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Registration is now open for the 12th annual National Mix It Up at Lunch Day event, Teaching Tolerance announced today. More than 5,000 schools across the country are expected to take part in the event, set for Oct. 29.

Teaching Tolerance, a project of the Southern Poverty Law Center, launched Mix It Up at Lunch Day in 2002 to encourage students to step out of their comfort zones and sit with someone new at lunch for just one day. The event is hosted by schools at all grade levels nationwide.

"Mix It Up is a positive step that schools can take to help create learning environments where students see each other as individuals and not just as members of a separate group," said Teaching Tolerance Director Maureen Costello. "When people step out of their cliques and get to know someone, they realize just how much they have in common. It can be an important step toward fostering the values students need to thrive in an increasingly diverse society."

Schools participating in this year's activities are encouraged to register using Teaching Tolerance's Mix It Up map at This year, each school that registers for the event will help turn the map a darker shade of green.

"Green is synonymous with movement and action," Costello said. "As more schools register for this year's event, the greener the map will become to show the progress being made by schools across the country to help break down social boundaries and foster respect and inclusiveness among students."

Cafeterias are the focus of Mix It Up because that's where a school's social boundaries are most obvious. Breaking down these barriers can help reduce bullying, an issue that has received national attention following a string of bullying-related suicides in recent years.

The Teaching Tolerance website offers participating schools an array of free online resources to help explore social boundaries and plan their event.

As one of the nation's leading providers of anti-bias education resources, Teaching Tolerance reaches hundreds of thousands of educators and millions of students annually through its Teaching Tolerance magazine, multimedia teaching kits, online curricula, professional development resources and classroom-friendly social justice documentaries. These materials are provided to educators at no cost.

The Southern Poverty Law Center, based in Alabama with offices in Florida, Georgia, Louisiana and Mississippi, is a nonprofit civil rights organization dedicated to fighting hate and bigotry, and to seeking justice for the most vulnerable members of society. For more information, see

SOURCE Southern Poverty Law Center