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

Faith In Action: Allies, Phase 1

Materials for Activity

  • Handout 1, Oppression Continuum, or projected Justicemakers Guide
  • Handout 2, Ally Action 1
  • Pens or pencils
  • Optional: Computer and large monitor or projector and screen

Preparation for Activity

  • If you are using the Justicemakers Guide electronically, test your equipment.

Description of Activity

Youth make a commitment to work toward becoming an ally.

Remind participants that the continuum contains steps they can take to become an ally and help alleviate oppression. Invite youth to participate in a long-term Faith in Action in which they use future workshops to become better allies.

Ask the group to choose a marginalized group or community that they would like to support as allies. This could be immigrants, people from racial or ethnic minorities, people from religious minorities, BGLTQ-identified people, people with disabilities, or any other group that is denied full access to resources and opportunities. It could be child soldiers, women forced to work in sweatshops, or people with mental illness.

Participants may decide on one target group, or they may work in small groups to ally with several target groups.

Point out that the first phase on the continuum is active participation in oppression and the second is denying or ignoring oppression. Ask, "What action can be taken to move from Phase 1 to Phase2? If someone answers that you need to stop actively supporting the oppression of others, ask if everyone feels comfortable working to actively not support oppression of their allied group. Have participants name ways to do this. Some suggestions are on the continuum. Youth might say that they already do not actively participate in oppressive behaviors. Affirm the goodness of this, but say you want them to be aware of making conscious decisions not to support the oppression of others.

Invite them to use the handouts you will provide at every workshop to keep track of their actions to oppose oppression. For example, if they choose to be an ally to people who are overweight and they hear a fat joke in a movie they are viewing with their friends, they would not laugh. They would note in their Justicemakers Guide the date and that they did not laugh at the joke. Make sure everyone understands the instructions. Ask everyone to note on Handout 2, Ally Action 1, the date, the group they want to be an ally to, and the answer to the first question, "What action do you want to take?"

Examine Handout 2, Ally Action 1, with the group. Point out the other questions under each step. Review these questions and have youth write answers on their handouts where appropriate.

Ask participants to bring this handout back at the next workshop. Then, they will commit to another step that will help them move along the continuum to being a better ally.