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

Activity 3: Unequal Access

Activity time: 20 minutes

Materials for Activity

Preparation for Activity

  • Print these questions on newsprint: To what extent do your answers reflect the background of your family? To what extent do your answers reflect the larger society into which you are born? What are you able to do as an individual to transform scarcity into abundance? Which items in the questionnaire depend on individual effort for things to change? Which items depend on external factors for change to happen?

Description of Activity

Youth use a questionnaire to take the ideas of abundance and scarcity to a personal level and discuss unequal access to resources.

Distribute Handout 1 and invite youth to take the questionnaire. When they are finished, they can silently reflect on the questions you have written on newsprint. You might play a recording of instrumental music to create a contemplative setting. After five minutes, open the floor to sharing and discussion. Besides the questions on newsprint, you might also ask:

  • What does this questionnaire have in common with Maslow's hierarchy of needs? Refer back to Handout 1 from Workshop 2 or the Justicemakers Guide.
  • Though acknowledging abundance in one's life leads a person to be grateful for what they have, they must also recognize that not everyone has enough of what they need to feel secure. In our society, there is unequal access to resources. What examples can you give? If prompting is needed, ask participants if they think a person who is mute has equal access to jobs needed for financial security? Explore how some people, because of their identity, lack access to resources. This is a result of prejudice or bias.
  • Explain that some people in our culture are privileged. Ask if anyone can define what is meant by that term. Offer the following definition, if needed, from "belonging to a class that enjoys special privileges; favored." Privilege is granted to members of the dominant culture automatically-members do not need to ask for it and often are not aware that they have it. One analogy is that privilege is like water to fish: fish would only know that water exists if they are taken out of the water. Privilege is often taken for granted until a person witnesses someone who does not have the same privilege. In our country, for example, English speakers and readers are privileged. What might you not have access to if you did not speak or read English?
  • What other groups of people are favored or privileged in our society?
  • A privileged or favored class of people goes against what we think America stands for. This is why African Americans and allies fought for civil rights. What other groups in the United States have demanded equal access to resources?
  • What can people who posses privilege do to help create a country that gives everyone equal access to resources?