Session 6 Learning Goals
- Identify goals, methods, and strategies for reproductive justice advocacy
- Affirm the theological and personal sharing within the group
- Inspire/solidify relationships of accountability within group or with outside partners
- Materials: butcher paper and markers, bell or chime
- Make copies of Handouts 6:2 (PDF) and 6:3 (PDF)
- Visit The Guttmacher Institute’s State Center and compile brief notes on state policies that affect reproductive choice. Feel free to do more research on policies that affect other issues of reproductive justice.
- After the session, please complete the Completion and Evaluation Form. The Commission on Social Witness needs to know which congregations completed the course, and the form is also a way to provide feedback on the course. If desired, email link to the Completion and Evaluation Form to participants.
- Complete assigned element(s) of 6:1
- 6:1 (PDF)—Policies, Partners, and Opponents
- 6:2 (PDF)—Advocacy Scenario Worksheet
- 6:3 (PDF)—Theological Reflection: Session 6
- Chalice Lighting: “At This Point in My Life” (Tracy Chapman)
- Check-In: What was one thing you did for your body this week; what is one thing your body did for you? (15 mins)
- Policies, Partners, and Opponents (30 mins)
Participants introduce their assigned group(s) and/or policy(ies) to the class. Facilitator presents their notes on relevant state policies.
- Becoming Effective Advocates (35 mins) (from Our Whole Lives (OWL) for Young Adults by Michael Tino, Sarah Gibb Millsbaugh, and Laura Anne Stuart. Used with permission.)
Briefly brainstorm “What makes advocacy effective?”
The two essential elements of effective advocacy are (1) establishing an achievable goal, and (2) having a clear plan for reaching that goal. Participants form three groups and receive one copy of Handout 6:2 (PDF) per group. Each group receives a topic (goals can be altered depending on what is appropriate on the state and local levels):
- Federal: to have U.S. Senator or Representative support reproductive rights
- State: to have state legalize LGBTQ adoption
- Local: to have local school board adopt and fund comprehensive sexuality education
Groups complete Handout 6:2 together, and draw up lists of people and organizations in real life. Any issue has a spectrum of participating groups or people—partners or allies, opponents, and the “movable middle” or the “swing list.” Successful advocates typically direct their attention to those in the middle who are ambivalent or who have not yet made up their mind.
Bring groups back together after 15 minutes and ask:
- What was the process like for your group? Was it easy or difficult to identify the key people involved?
- What messages did your group come up with? How are these messages meant to positively rebut opponents and to persuade the “movable middle”?
- Are there groups currently working on the different aspects of reproductive justice that you might join? Do you think you could actually start working on these goals?
- Theological Reflection (20 mins)
Participants are invited to explore various methods of theological reflection: walking/ movement, small group conversation, journaling/writing, and meditation. They are also invited to bring music and headphones. Indicate the separate place for those who will participate in small group conversations. Distribute Handout 6:3 (PDF). After 20 minutes, ring a bell to call the participants back together.
- Affirmation, Debrief, and Closing (30 mins)
- Remind participants about the themes and topics of the previous five weeks. Participants share:
- One of the most significant learnings from the class
- How they will incorporate that learning in their life
- One nice thing about a fellow participant
The person who is affirmed by the previous participant is the next person to share. All participants only share once, and the last person to share can affirm the person who started.
A link to an electronic evaluation of the class will be distributed via email to participants if so desired. They are encouraged to share their feedback with the curriculum developers.
Read “That Passeth All Understanding” by Denise Levertov and extinguish the chalice.