One isn't necessarily born with courage, but one is born with potential. Without courage, we cannot practice any other virtue with consistency. We can't be kind, true, merciful, generous or honest. — Maya Angelou
In Today's Workshop...
We explored courage as taking a stand in big ways and small ways. We heard a story about Juliette Hampton Morgan, a white woman in Alabama who took courageous stands of solidarity with the African American community throughout the 1940s and 1950s. We gained a new tool, the Oppression Continuum, to help us heed the call to create a more just world.
- Discuss the story with your family. You can re-read it online. Discuss what courage means within your family. Is it always big acts with big consequences?
- Ask your elders for any family stories involving courage. Also ask individuals if there were times in their lives when courage was lacking. What would they have needed to feel more courageous under those circumstances? Does their story hold any lessons for you? Be willing to share your own story, too.
- In The Wizard of Oz, the Cowardly Lion was told that he needed a medal to bring out the courage in him. Craft a courage medal. Give it out to people you see acting with courage. To influence yet another sphere, approach the social justice committee at your congregation and ask them to consider giving out a yearly courage medal to a member who took a stand against oppression.
- Watch and discuss movies about racial and ethnic oppression. Two to consider: Something the Lord Made (a true story about the relationship between two men who invented a procedure to save the lives of children with heart defects) and Smoke Signals (a movie about two Native American youth).
- You can have fun with continuums based on different criteria. Find out more about your friends by suggesting they align themselves in continuums based on: the time they woke up this morning or went to bed last night; how much time they spent on the computer yesterday; how much time they spent on the telephone or texting yesterday; the number of books they read last month; the number of states they have visited; or any other amusing facts.
- Have you ever thought about the effects of "ageism?" "Ageism" is defined as discrimination of a person or group of people because of their age. Sometimes youth are stereotyped or discriminated against by adults. Take a look at the website of the National Youth Rights Association, which argues that by teaching children to be submissive to adults we create adults who are equally submissive in the face of other oppressions. Do you agree? The website offers arguments for lowering the voting and legal drinking age and eliminating curfews. Do you agree with these arguments? Ageism does not just work against young people. It also hurts the elderly. The Canadian Network for the Prevention of Elder Abuse has useful information on ageism against the elderly. Both website have actions you can take to oppose ageism.
- Remember to use the Justicemakers Guide to note experiences you have this week with justice or injustice. What did you see? Were you able to help? If not this time, will you be able to help in the future? How will you enable yourself to be ready to help in the future? Do you need the help of others?
- If you are keeping the Justicemakers Guide electronically, remember to add the Oppression Continuum to your copy.