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

Alternate Activity 2: Creating Safe Space

Activity time: 30 minutes

Materials for Activity

  • Newsprint, markers, and tape

Preparation for Activity

  • Reflect on your personal definition of safe space. What is safe space? What does it contain?

Description of Activity

Introduce the activity using these or similar words:

The term "safe space" has come to define a community or a physical location where people from culturally marginalized groups such as BGLT (Bisexual, Gay, Lesbian, and Transgender) people and People of Color can speak freely about their identities and issues that affect their lives. Camps and conferences have sometimes functioned as safe spaces for Unitarian Universalists. This is particularly true for Unitarian Universalist youth. Many youth have found the chance to speak openly and honestly with other Unitarian Universalist youth and youth-friendly adults to be vital to their spiritual development. At times, the atmosphere of tolerance that often pervades camps and conferences has been challenging for some youth who are not developmentally ready for the freedom and responsibility of youth-led events. With this in mind, congregations, UUA districts, and Unitarian Universalist camps and conference centers have done much work in recent years to address those issues and assure safe space for youth.

Post blank newsprint and invite participants to identify the characteristics of a safe space. Brainstorm and record their contributions.

Invite participants to move into groups of three or four. Give each group newsprint and markers and invite them to come up with a definition of safe space. After ten minutes, re-gather the large group and invite each small group to share their definition. Lead a discussion, using these questions:

  • What are some of the benefits of safe space?
  • Does safe space present limitations and challenges?
  • Where is safe space found in Unitarian Universalism?
  • How is safe space related to the concepts of the temporary autonomous zone and the counter-culture?