Activity time: 25 minutes
Materials for Activity
- Newsprint, markers and tape
- Assortment of newspaper and or/magazine pages including news about economic injustice-local, if possible-of both general and sixth grade interest
- Letter-writing materials and names and addresses of publication editors
Preparation for Activity
- Gather news publications. Check them thoroughly to weed out and remove any inappropriate material that might distract the group.
Description of Activity
If the group has chosen an ongoing Faith in Action project, continue to work on it.
Or, do this short-term Faith in Action activity:
News of Injustice. Invite youth to find signs of economic injustice in newspapers and write letters to the editor suggesting ideas for change. Introduce the subject with these thoughts:
- Some people think of poor, starving people in nations far away, when economic injustice is mentioned. But signs of economic injustice can be seen almost anywhere, in our own country and sometimes very close to home.
- One traditional way to try to right wrongs is by writing letters to the editors of newspapers. These are often seen by government officials as well as voters who expect government officials to help solve society's problems.
Ask participants to look thorough local newspapers and find signs of economic injustice, then write letters to the publications' editors asking government officials or other people in power to correct the injustice. Divide youth into groups of three, give each group a few newspaper and/or magazine pages plus markers, and ask them to circle anything they think suggests economic injustice. Say that they have five minutes to do this, so they will need to work rapidly. They need not read everything on their pages, but they should check at least some articles and some ads. They may be able to find some issues by glancing at the headlines.
If youth have difficulty finding material, offer some ideas to assist:
The articles will not necessarily talk directly about economic injustice. Look for clues that things are not fair; you might have to think a bit to know that injustice exists. You might find an article about a musician or an athlete who is making many millions of dollars while other people eat at soup kitchens. You may find ads for luxury items that only super rich people can afford.
When some groups have found promising material, ask them to share their discoveries with the full group. Do all participants agree that injustice exists? If youth have discovered an injustice they wish to do something about, distribute letter-writing materials and ask each group to write to the editor of your local paper. Say that the letters should begin, "Dear Editor." They should briefly explain what the problem is, identify who should solve it and suggest what might be done. The letters should be brief, polite and signed. Alternately, the group could compose one letter together and sign it as a group.
If the group does not identify an injustice that engages them, suggest a topic, such as establishing a minimal level of economic welfare for everyone, so no one is homeless. Your community may already be involved in a living wage campaign.