Faith CoLab: Tapestry of Faith: Resistance and Transformation: An Adult Program on Unitarian Universalist Social Justice History

Activity 3: Generations of Action

Activity time: 25 minutes

Materials for Activity

Preparation for Activity

  • Review the relationship map in Handout 1 and read Handout 2. Prepare to project Handout 1, or copy it for all participants. Copy Handout 2 for all participants.
  • Print out two copies of Leader Resource 2.
    • Write the names of the women listed in Leader Resource 2 on index cards in large print, one per card. Include the bulleted "relationship notes" on the card. (If the group has more participants than the Leader Resource has names, make duplicate cards so that everyone can have at least one.)
    • Use one copy of Leader Resource 2 to cut out the six quotations. Paper-clip each quotation to an index card on which you have written the speaker's name.

Description of Activity

Distribute or project Handout 1, Transformative Relationships - A Map. Distribute Handout 2, Women in the Peace Movement.

Point out that the women listed here are only some of the many women-Unitarian, Universalist and others-who were active reformers in the 19th century. Allow participants a few minutes to examine the map and read the handouts.

Distribute the prepared index cards (some with quotes attached), so each participant has a card with a name. If the group is small, give more than one card to each person. Say:

We're going to move around a bit in order to better understand the connections between the many women listed on these handouts.

Explain the activity:

  • When a name is read, the participant holding the appropriate index card will indicate that they have the card.
  • If there is a quote attached to the index card with that woman's name, the participant is invited to read it aloud or ask another person to do so.
  • After the first name (Frances Dana Barker Gage) is read aloud, the facilitator will refer to Leader Resource 2 and read the first bulleted "relationship" note (i.e., worked for women's rights and suffrage).
  • Using information in Leader Resource 2, the facilitator will read the name of each woman with a relationship note similar to the first.
  • Participants who hold index cards for each woman named are invited to move together to form a relationship "cluster." If some of the women in the relationship "cluster" have quotes attached to their cards, invite the participant holding the card to read it or to invite another to do so.
  • Repeat the activity with the second round of relationship notes (i.e., Sanitation Commission). When the second round of relationships is read, invite participants to notice the movement between groups and to take note of any family relationships that are present. Repeat with the third (i.e., participated in peace work). Not all of the women will be called in every round. Some participants will move from one cluster to another, moving from women's rights issues to peace issues, for example.
  • The fourth round of notes will tell of a family or friendship connection. Invite participants to use the information on their cards to discover these connections and to cluster according to relationships with family and friends.

As you go through the names on the cards, invite participants to refer to the relationship map (projected or handed out) to illustrate friendships and working relationships.

Conclude by inviting participants into conversation, using these questions:

  • What might be some reasons so many women involved in the first wave of feminism were also involved in working for peace? (Mention that many of these women also worked for abolition, temperance, and other social issues of the era.)
  • Most of these women were Universalists or Unitarians. How do you think the Universalist and Unitarian faiths of these activists affected their work?

Including All Participants

If the group includes participants who cannot move easily from one cluster to another, invite other participants to cluster around them during the activity. Or, gather the group at a large work table for this activity and invite participants to move the index cards into clusters in response to the cues.