What Would You Do?
Before moving into the research portion of this lesson, it may help to take social justice out of the abstract by asking students to consider what they would do in a hypothetical situation that they may encounter in real life.
Divide the students into groups of three and give each group one of the following hypothetical situations to consider. It is okay if multiple groups are discussing the same scenario.
Scenario 1: You discover that your favorite restaurant, or a restaurant you and your family visit often, is not paying its employees fairly. As a result, some of the waiters and cooks have to work two or even three jobs in order to pay rent and buy food for their families.
Scenario 2: A friend shares an article with you about the company that produces your favorite brand of jeans. You find out that the factory where your clothes are made has been dumping toxic chemicals into the neighborhood nearby. People have been reporting finding dead wildlife and several people have been hospitalized after coming in contact with the waste.
Scenario 3: After your class, you find out that the janitor at your synagogue/school is very sick. Unfortunately, the janitor doesn't have health insurance and treatment for the illness costs thousands of dollars.
After reading the scenario, each group should discuss:
- What would you do?
- Why might it be hard for you to help? What difficulties might you encounter?
- Why might some people choose not to help?
A handout with the scenarios and discussion questions can be found in the "Handouts" section.
After each group has read through their scenario and had a few minutes to discuss the questions, have the students share their scenarios and responses with the group. At this point in the conversation, have your students highlight the last two questions as these are important pieces to consider when one is trying to make a change in the community.