Handout 1: Three Strategies for Resistance

Adapted from Resistance and Transformation: Unitarian Universalist Social Justice History by Rev. Colin Bossen and Rev. Julia Hamilton.

Not all change is effected in the same way. There is more than one way to resist racism and systems of privilege, and more than one way to work for the transformation of our world.

This workshop explores three approaches commonly found in social justice leadership and organization, including resistance to racism and privilege: the prophetic, the parallel, and the institutional:

Prophetic voices speak out or act publicly against what they perceive to be wrong or unjust. They are often marginalized or considered ahead of their time, with a strong vision of a better future.

Parallel voices advocate for an alternative to the established structure, a new system to replace that which is deemed broken.

Institutional voices seek to work within established power structures to change them from within.

Each of these approaches may be voiced by an individual, a group, or a movement, and individuals, groups, and movements may employ different approaches at different times. All three strategic approaches are grounded in the shared Unitarian and Universalist conviction that a free faith demands critical engagement with the world.