Activity time: 35 minutes
Materials for Activity
- Story 1, Follow Your Labels
- Centering table items from opening
- A display map of the world or a globe
- A pad of sticky notes
- Newsprint, markers, and tape
- Music player and speakers
- Optional: An object to pass from speaker to speaker during discussion.
Preparation for Activity
- Use sticky notes to mark Costa Rica, Bangladesh, Columbia, Cambodia, Honduras, China, and Ethiopia, the countries mentioned in the story, on your globe or map. You may also wish to mark the origin countries of the clothing and food items laid out on your centering table. Display it where all will be able to see.
- Ask up to six volunteers to read the story Follow Your Labels aloud. If possible, give the text to volunteers in advance.
- Write these statements and questions on newsprint, and post them:
- What insights did you gain from the story and/or the song? How do you respond to the powerful question, “Are my hands clean?”
- As we move from not knowing about the origins of our food and clothing to being aware, what actions can we take to help create economic structures designed to serve the common good?
- What can you do to more closely align your food and clothing choices with our UU values? What are the barriers to “doing the right thing”?
- Set up music player and speakers and queue selection.
Description of Activity
Read aloud this opening paragraph from the Economic Globalization Statement of Conscience passed by the delegates to the 2003 UUA General Assembly:
While economic globalization has helped some people attain higher standards of living, it has marginalized and impoverished many others and has resulted in environmental degradation and the depletion of natural resources. The benefits of economic globalization have been inequitably distributed and have not reached many people around the world. Our vision of the world as an interconnected web challenges us to turn from self-serving individualism toward a relational sense of ourselves in a global community, and toward practices that help create economic structures designed to serve the common good. We are called to bring our Unitarian Universalist Principles to our understanding of economic globalization and to help mitigate its adverse effects.
Call attention to the items of clothing and food you have assembled and engage a brief conversation about the impact of our economic decisions on people all around the globe. Why do our choices matter to people in places like China or Bangladesh ? What responsibility do we have for those practices and circumstances of which we might not be fully aware?
Introduce the story by saying that it comes from a July 2013 Christian Science Monitor article about the impact of the manufacture of inexpensive consumer goods on the lives of the workers who create them. Invite volunteer readers to each read a portion of the story aloud. After a few moments of silence, ask for brief initial responses. Then, invite the group to listen to the song, “Are My Hands Clean?” Share the lyrics, if you have them. Play the song, then share a few moments of silence.
Offer the posted reflection questions, one at a time, inviting each person in the circle an opportunity to respond (or pass) on a question before moving on to the next question. Encourage active listening; discourage side conversations. You may wish to use an object (if you have chosen one) to pass from speaker to speaker.
If the group is larger than ten people, form two or more circles so that each person will have adequate opportunity to share. If there is time remaining after all three questions have been addressed, open the discussion for more robust dialogue.