Everybody needs history but the people who need it most are poor folks—people without resources or options. — Henry Hampton, 20th-century American documentary film producer
IN TODAY'S SESSION...
The children examined racism and social justice through the lens of media images. We explored the story of how Henry Hampton, an African American independent filmmaker, created the revolutionary documentary series Eyes on the Prize. In particular, we examined how we can all be social justice allies, especially with people in our community who are Native American/Indigenous, African American, Latino/a American, Asian American, Arab American and/or immigrants from other countries. We played a game that helped us practice being allies to each other, and we looked at the local media to learn more about the populations in our community and what our congregation is, or could be, doing to act as social justice allies.
EXPLORE THE TOPIC TOGETHER. Talk about...
Your first awareness of racial discrimination or institutionalized racism, especially when you were young. Engage family members to share your perceptions about current racial discrimination. Has anyone in the family seen evidence of racism recently? Where? Is your family in a racial/ethnic minority or majority in your community? What have been your experiences as part of the dominant group or as part of a minority group?
Discuss an occasion in your life when you were proud of acting as a social justice ally (even if the person you were supporting did not know you), or a time when you wished you had acted as an ally. Acknowledge it can feel scary to stand in opposition to ideas and behaviors of the people in your family, school and community. Point out that it takes courage to defend the human rights of others. Note that Unitarian Universalism is where we come together as people of faith to work for peace and social justice.
EXTEND THE TOPIC TOGETHER. Try...
Find out more about the cultures represented in your community. Choose a culture different from your own to learn about.
Do some research to investigate demographic change in your community. Assess where your family falls, in terms of ethnicity and skin color, on a continuum of original inhabitants to latest arrivals. How has your community traditionally responded to newcomers from various cultures? Talk about local stories of oppression as well as courage and triumph, especially examples of people standing in opposition to institutional racism.