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Identities & Issues Intersections

Submitted by Janice McMillan & Shannon Wheatley Hartman

This activity opens up complex thinking; it helps participants to understand issues of prejudice and stereotypes, and it also helps them to find ways of coming to consensus on issues that affect them.

average rating is 5 out of 5, based on 2 votes, rating(s)
Busy Tokyo intersection with crowds of people

Learning Goal

  • Examine how our views are shaped by many factors including the media, family, religion, class, racial and ethnic identities, etc.


Set Up: Prepare for the Activity

Share the challenge shown below on a board, flipchart or shared document. Replace the issue mentioned with a pressing concern for your group.

Organize participants into pairs or small groups (3-4 ppl).

Begin by introducing the learning goals of this activity.

Step One: Review Challenge and Generate Characteristics (10 min)

Read the following challenge, or the modified version you created, to the group:

You have been asked to pull together a task team to communicate about Affordable Housing in your community. The task team needs to come up with ideas about how to build community cohesion and community interest around the topic of Affordable Housing.

Your group needs to select 8 people to join this team. As a group generate a list of characteristics that you would like team members to have (collectively or individually).

In small groups, invite participants to create a list of characteristics of ideal team members. Prompt:

  • What characteristics are we looking for in team members? You might want to frame this list as, “Someone who can….”

  • Generate a broad list. Don’t analyze or discuss the list, yet. Generate as many characteristics of ideal team members as you can.

Step Two: Rank Characteristics (10 min)

Invite participants to now individually review the list and select the top 10 characteristics of ideal team members.

Next, ask participants to compare their individual rankings and discuss with their group the criteria they each used. Ask them to discuss which characteristics are important for all team members and which ones are unique and are selected to improve the overall group dynamic.

Step Three: Create a Call for Volunteers (10 min)

As a group, ask them to decide on the top criteria for their team and draft a call for volunteers. Remind them to be specific about what they are looking for in team members.

Step Four: Share Descriptions with the Full Group (10 min)

Invite a representative from each small group to read their call for volunteers. While they are reading the description, ask other participants to listen for specific criteria.

Invite a pair of participants to record or capture criteria on the board, flip chart or shared document.

Step Five: Debrief as a Full Group (10 min)

  • Where is there consistent overlap? Why?

  • Are there any outliers? Why were these criteria chosen?

  • How important are diverse perspectives when dealing with complex issues? When might it be a hindrance? When might it be a benefit?

  • How would this description be different if it were a paid position? Nominated position?

  • As we look at our criteria, what sort of people do we think would be selected to the team? Who might be included? Excluded? Who is missing now that we are looking at this together and collectively?





Culturally Responsive Collaboration

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average rating is 5 out of 5

September 11, 2023 at 9:02:29 AM

average rating is 5 out of 5


December 3, 2022 at 1:39:46 AM

Activity 4.4 uses both individual written reflection and discussion in small and large groups to explore the which aspects of a person's identity we use to determine if they should be included in the conversation on a particular issue. This activity also give participants to practice explaining and negotiating who is chosen.

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