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Clara Barton Youth Stand On the Side Of Love

Posted by T. Resnikoff // February 17th 2012 // Social Justice, Stories and Voices, youth // no comments

The following is a post by Janet Davis, Religious Educator at the UU Congregational Society of Westborough, MA.–Ed.

Youth in the Clara Barton District gathered for the “i got uu babe” mini-Youth Con at the Unitarian Universalist Church of Worcester in Worcester, MA on Friday, February 10th through Saturday, February 11th. As a part of the conference, the youth participated in a “Standing on the Side of Love” workshop. Information about the Standing on the Side of Love campaign was presented, after which youth broke into small groups to discuss questions from the campaign materials. The questions asked youth to discuss their identities and whether these identities have been a cause for bullying, share personal stories about struggles and challenges, consider unloving communication through social media and cell phones, and name people who inspire them.

After the small group discussions, people were invited to share with the large group any wisdom that came from their small group. Everyone was affirmed for their participation as we sang “I Got You Babe,” written by Sonny and Cher. Next, youth were encouraged to put their faith in action at several stations: sign a ‘Graffiti Sheet’ confirming your commitment to stand on the side of love; fill out Valentine’s cards for people who inspire you; sign a postcard for the UUSC campaign to have the U. S. ratify the Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW); sign an e-petition calling for the repeal of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA); pick up a take-home sheet with instructions for assembling care packages for No More Deaths, a ministry of the Unitarian Universalist Church of Tucson, AZ addressing the inhumane treatment of border crossers.

Finally, everyone gathered in the shape of a heart for a group photo. The workshop gave youth, as well as adult advisors, the space to share their own stories and begin to make connections to the larger issues of bigotry and oppression. Some of the wisdom gleaned: having the courage to talk to someone who is in a challenging place can have an impact; there are many stereotypes around mental illness; and be aware of the words you use to refer to people, such as ‘crazy,’ as you never know who may identify with and be offended by this hurtful language.

Janet Davis serves as Religious Educator at the UU Congregational Society of Westborough in the Clara Barton District.

About the Author

Ted Resnikoff is the Digital Communications Editor at the Unitarian Universalist Association.
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