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Activity 1: Musical Meditation on Racism

Activity 1: Musical Meditation on Racism
Activity 1: Musical Meditation on Racism

Activity time: 35 minutes

Materials for Activity

  • Newsprint, markers, and tape
  • Recording(s) of song(s), totaling ten minutes or less, that speak to the interplay between individual actions and participation in "the system" of racism
  • Music player
  • Participant journals
  • Variety of writing and drawing materials

Preparation for Activity

  • Obtain recordings of songs and if possible their lyrics, and make copies. Possibilities include:
    • "Carefully Taught," from the Broadway musical South Pacific
    • "Pieces of You," performed by Jewel on the album Pieces of You
    • "In This Land," performed by Sweet Honey in the Rock on the album In this Land
    • "For Good," from the Broadway musical Wicked.
  • Write on newsprint, and post:
    • Where do these songs connect with your understanding of how racism works?
    • What are the connections between these songs and the notion of "race"?
    • Under what circumstances do you speak out or take action against injustice?

Description of Activity

Distribute lyrics if you have them, and play the song or songs you have chosen. If there is more than one, play them back-to-back. Encourage participants to encounter the song(s) both intellectually and emotionally.

Invite participants to spend ten minutes writing and/or drawing in their journals in response to the music, using the posted questions to guide their reflections. Tell them they will have the opportunity to share some of their reflections with others.

Invite participants to move into groups of three and to share their reflections with one another. Allow 10 minutes for small group work, and then have the large group reconvene.

Read the chalice lighting words once again, and invite participants to reflect on the "system" of racism as described by Parker and/or in the song(s) they have just heard.

Including All Participants

If there are participants in your group with hearing impairments, replace this activity with Alternate Activity 1, Not Somewhere Else, But Here.

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For more information contact religiouseducation@uua.org.

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