Faith CoLab: Tapestry of Faith: Heeding the Call: A Program on Justicemaking for Junior High School Youth

Activity 3: Opposing Oppression

Activity time: 15 minutes

Materials for Activity

  • Option 1: Handout 1, Oppression Continuum
  • Option 2: Electronic copy of Justicemakers Guide, computer, large monitor or projector and screen

Preparation for Activity

  • If you are using the Justicemakers Guide online, prepare to project the Oppression Continuum so everyone can see. Test your equipment.
  • If you are using a hard copy of the Justicemakers Guide, make copies of Handout 1, Oppression Continuum. Note the page numbers, to insure correct placement in the Guide.

Description of Activity

Youth discover a tool to help explain the process of opposing oppression and becoming an ally.

Explain that becoming an ally is one way we can help make our world a more just place. Say to the group that some groups of people are marginalized in our society. Individuals in these groups have a disadvantage in competing for resources to fill their needs. They often to do not have access to the same resources as the dominant group. Explain that the dominant group is not defined by numbers. It is not necessarily the largest group, just the group that holds more power and therefore more access to resources such as good education or jobs.

If the members of the dominant group have access to certain resources that others do not, we call that "privilege." Often members of a dominant group enjoy privilege whether they actively seek it or not. Can youth name some privileges Juliette Morgan Hampton had that African Americans in Montgomery did not?

Someone who belongs to the dominant group-who has access to more resources-can support those who are denied those resources by advocating for their rights and helping them gain access to resources. That is what being an ally means. That is what Juliette Morgan Hampton did.

Inform participants that there are steps everyone can take to help oppose oppression of marginalized people. Ask everyone to find the Oppression Continuum in the Justicemakers Guide or distribute Handout 1, Oppression Continuum, and review it with the group. Reading-or asking volunteers to read-each phase on the continuum and the description of each phase.

Here are a few questions to help process this tool:

  • Does everyone start off at the first phase of the continuum and end up at the last? Can you be an ally even if you haven't reached the last phase?
  • One of the first qualities we discussed in doing justice work is awareness. Where does that quality fall on the continuum? What about other qualities (understanding and empathy)?
  • This continuum is general enough to be applied to different oppressions. Ask the group to name a few. How might this continuum be used as a tool to help us heed the call for a more just world?

If youth are keeping the guide electronically, remind them how to add new pages.

If you will not do the Faith in Action, Allies, ask youth if they consider themselves an ally to any others. Is there an identity group they would like to support as an ally? Use the Justicemakers Guide to note this desire and to track future commitments in this area.