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Activity 3: The Long Journey (20 minutes), Workshop 12: Responding to Calls for Black Empowerment

In "Resistance and Transformation," a Tapestry of Faith program

Materials for Activity

  • Newsprint, markers, and tape
  • Sticky notes in three different colors, 3x3 or larger, several of each color per participant
  • Writing implements

Preparation for Activity

  • Title three sheets of newsprint Congregation, Association, and Society. On each sheet, create three columns, with these headings: Improved, Still a Challenge, and Personal Actions. Post the newsprint where all can see.

Description of Activity

Invite participants to reflect on Unitarian Universalist efforts at racial justice since the Empowerment Controversy. Invite them to begin by considering how race relations have changed since then.

Distribute sticky notes so each participant has access to some of each color.

Designate one color of sticky note as the "improved" color and invite participants to think of:

  • Ways race relations have improved in their congregation since the 1970s
  • Ways race relations have improved in the Unitarian Universalist Association
  • Ways race relations have improved in the wider community.

Ask participants to briefly write their contributions on the "improved" color sticky notes and place those notes on the corresponding sheets of newsprint. Assure participants they need not add notes to all three sheets of newsprint—everyone's experiences and observations are unique.

Next, invite the group to think of and write, on a different color sticky note, areas in which race relations are still a challenge: at their own congregation, in the Association, and in the wider society. Once again, invite them to post their notes on the appropriate sheets.

Finally, invite the group to reflect on actions they could personally take to improve race relations: at their congregation, in the Association, and in society. Again, invite them to post contributions, using a third color sticky note, in the appropriate charts.

Allow ten minutes for writing and posting; save ten minutes to conclude the activity.

Once the notes are posted, invite a co-facilitator or volunteer to read them aloud. Invite participants to look for trends, similarities, and differing opinions. Are there any disagreements in how participants have assessed race relations progress and challenges?

Ask the group to consider the suggestions for personal actions in light of the events of the Empowerment Controversy. Were there times when one person made a difference? Were there times when institutional forces overwhelmed an individual attempt to influence events?

Including All Participants

If any participant may find it difficult to post items on the charts, offer to collect the sticky notes from them and post.

For more information contact web @ uua.org.

This work is made possible by the generosity of individual donors and congregations. Please consider making a donation today.

Last updated on Saturday, December 10, 2011.

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