Lesson Plan 7 Help Wanted: The Importance of Strong Leaders and Dedicated Supporters

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1 Live Out Loud is a nonprofit organization committed to connecting LGBTQ students with positive role models from our community. For more information about our resources and programs, visit us online at or Lesson Plan 7 Help Wanted: The Importance of Strong Leaders and Dedicated Supporters Summary This lesson will challenge students that simply talking about the issues we re passionate about isn t enough we must also act on them! The LGBTQ community needs both strong leaders and dedicated supporters to act for change. While it s important for youth to be strong leaders in their community, it s also important that they find organizations that are already working in the community and offer their help. Goals Students will be challenged that our community needs both strong leaders and dedicated supporters to work for change, raise awareness, etc. Students will think about how their talents, abilities, etc. can be used to make the LGBTQ community and the issues we re addressing more visible. Objectives Building upon the previous lesson which discussed effective communication, students will be able to identify the skills used by LGBTQ leaders and dedicated supporters in making LGBTQ issues more visible. Through various exercises, students will be able to identify what their leadership skills and means of support are and how their skills and dedication may be used to advance LGBTQ visibility in the broader community. Students will be able to discuss issues affecting the LGBTQ community both locally and globally and how their leadership and dedication may assist the visibility of such. Supplies Needed Note cards for Great Movements in History activity (optional). Session Outline As always, start the session by reinforcing the ground rules of your group boundaries you have set to ensure that youth feel safe to talk openly with each other. For example: Keep the conversation door closed everything said in this room stays in this room. Respect the person who is talking listen to what they say until they re done saying it. Understand that everyone s opinion is valid we don t all have to think the same things. Don t dump on people s ideas it s fine to disagree, as long as you disagree respectfully. PAGE 1

2 Warm Up: Great Movements in History (15 minutes) This activity will explore various movements throughout history and help students recognize the leaders and supporters of these movements. This activity should challenge students to understand that the causes they re most passionate about need both strong leaders and dedicated supporters. Both are necessary to institute change. Begin by seating students in a circle. Instruct them that the person who most recently celebrated a birthday will begin the activity. The activity then proceeds clockwise. Each person must answer the next question in the sequence below. For example, the first person answers question 1 (name a great movement in history), the next person answers question 2 (what did the movement s leader look like ), etc. Continue around the circle repeating the cycle. If a student answers the question with an answer that the group finds acceptable, the student earns 2 points. If the student isn t able to answer, they may pass to the next person without earning any points. Continue repeating the cycle until either a student earns 10 points, or the group can no longer think of movements in history. Questions 1. Name a great movement in history a time when people s thoughts, feelings, beliefs, or actions dramatically changed. Explain what you know about the movement without revealing who started it. 2. What did the leader of this movement look like? What is s/he known for doing or saying? 3. What did the followers of this movement look like? How did they follow their leader? What did they do, act, or say to support the movement and their leader? 4. What was the impact of this movement on culture, society, art, politics, religion, etc? Suggestion: if you re worried that students won t be able to think of great movements in history, write the following historical movements on index cards. Allow students to choose a card if they can t think of a great movement in history. Suggested leaders for each movement are also provided below. US Gay Rights Movement: Many feel the US Gay Rights Movement began at New York City s Stonewall Inn. In 1969, patrons of the bar rioted when police arrested severa l LGBTQ people during a raid. The US Gay Rights movement continues to this day with PRIDE marches, fights for marriage equality, and other campaigns for LGBTQ civil rights across the country. Harvey Milk Audre Lorde Lt. Dan Choi Lady Gaga US Civil Rights Movement: The US Civil Rights Movement occurred in the United States between 1954 and 1968 to end racial discrimination against African Americans. Martin Luther King Bayard Rustin* Malcolm X *Note: Bayard Rustin is a lesser known but incredibly significant leader of the US Civil Rights Movement. Having studied the non-violent methods of Gandhi in India, Bayard Rustin mentored Martin Luther King, Jr. in the ways of peaceful protest, a method that King would later get credit for in mainstream US consciousness. Because he was openly gay, Rustin was often relegated to behind the scenes work during the Civil Rights Movement. Rustin is an excellent example of what it means to be a behind the scenes leader. Not every leader needs to be the recognizable face of a movement. Sometimes PAGE 2

3 their vision and organizing skills can best be put to use outside of the spotlight. We want to highlight the leadership style of Bayard Rustin as another choice for activist participation for LGBTQ and Allied youth. Some people may be comfortable being the voice of a movement, some may be comfortable being a supporter that takes orders from a movement s leader, and some may be like Bayard Rustin, possessing the vision and skills of a leader without the interest in public recognition. We suggest you initiate a discussion about Bayard Rustin to see if students have heard of him. Unlike Martin Luther King, Jr. or Malcolm X, students will probably not be able to identify what the followers of Bayard Rustin would look like. This is an excellent opportunity to share the above information and discuss different leadership styles. The British Invasion: The British Invasion was a period between when rock n roll artists from the United Kingdom became extremely popular in the US. The Beatles The Women s Movement: The Women s Movement refers to a series of movements which began in the late 18th century. These movements include fights for women s right to vote, feminism, and fights for the reproductive rights of women. Susan B. Anthony Elizabeth Cady Stanton Birth of Rock and Roll: In the 1940 s and 1950 s, blues, country, jazz, and gospel music combined to form a new genre of music Rock n Roll. Elvis Chuck Berry The rise of the Apple Computer empire: As of 2011, Apple is one of the largest companies in the world. It s almost impossible to walk through a public space without seeing an ipod, iphone, or Apple computer in use. Steve Jobs Discussion Questions: Great Movements in History 1. How did the leaders of the movements mentioned gain momentum and power? 2. Would the leaders have been able to remain in power without their supporters? Would their movements have succeeded without dedicated supporters? 3. What are some obstacles that leaders and supporters faced when promoting the above causes? 4. Is it more important to be a leader or a supporter? Try to tailor your answer to situations that promote LGBTQ equality or issues. 5. What are some obstacles that leaders and supporters face when promoting LGBTQ causes and visibility? 6. How can leaders and supporters overcome the obstacles and continue promoting LGBTQ visibility? 7. Are there any specific qualities that leaders and supporters of LGBTQ visibility should possess? Reflection: Great Movements in History (This statement can be read by a student or facilitator to close the Great Movements in History activity.) We often hear about how important it is to be a leader in your school or community but we seldom hear about how important it is to be a dedicated supporter. Without supporters, none of the causes we just talked about would have changed the course of history or culture. The LGBTQ community needs both strong leaders and dedicated supporters to act for change. If you re a natural leader, use your voice to promote LGBTQ issues! But, if you re not a natural leader, don t forget that there are lots of leaders and organizations working for change in the LGBTQ community that could use your help and support! PAGE 3

4 Ask yourself: If I will lead people, what will I lead them to do? If I am a dedicated supporter, who can I partner with to work for change? How can I be most effective? Role Model (20 minutes) Live Out Loud works to connect LGBTQ and allied youth with positive role models from the LGBTQ community. The role model for this lesson should be prepared to speak about the importance of both leadership and commitment to a cause when working for community change. Questions for role model to address: 1. What role model has inspired you to use your leadership or support to promote LGBTQ visibility? 2. What was it like for you to come out? 3. What are some causes or issues in the LGBTQ community that you are passionate about? Are you a leader in the fight to make these issues more visible, or are you a dedicated follower? 4. What organization(s) do you work with to promote LGBTQ issues? Tell a story about your involvement. 5. How have you used your leadership role or supporter role to influence a specific LGBTQ cause and LGBTQ visibility? 6. Describe how leadership and supporters have helped one or a few of the following: victory of marriage equality in New York, DADT, bullying legislation, etc. If you have a specific LGBTQ cause that you have worked with, describe how leaders and supporters have aided the cause. 7. Why is greater visibility of LGBTQ individuals important? 8. What obligation do LGBTQ individuals have in promoting LGBTQ visibility? 9. After discussing the more visible LGBTQ issues, what are some of the LGBTQ issues and/or mindsets of the community in which you live? How have you seen leaders and supporters overcome conflict in your community? It s important that students don t simply listen to the role model s story, but also become engaged in the conversation. Provide the following questions for the role model to ask students as a conclusion to his/her presentation: 1. In the opening activity, we described the qualities of various leaders and supporters. Which of these qualities do you think you possess? 2. Based on question 1, would you consider yourself a leader or a supporter? Which role suits you better as an individual? 3. After speaking about the LGBTQ issues above, what are the LGBTQ issues that you are interested in? 4. How could you become a leader or supporter to promote awareness around this LGBTQ issue(s) that you are interested in? 5. What types of activities are you engaged in to promote change in the LGBTQ community? What leadership and support skills can you use to promote this change? Action: Building Your Team (5 minutes) As students continue to organize action projects for their GSA, challenge them to apply today s lesson to their plans. If they have not already begun a project, ask the group to pick a task for the GSA (enhance the positive aspects of marriage equality, begin an anti-bullying campaign in your school, etc.). Discuss the various tasks involved in executing the GSA s plan. Pick roles for the members of the GSA, leaders or supports, based on where they feel that they fit best. Consider using the Project Timeline Worksheet proved in the Resources on page 6 to plan your project. When the group has completed their list of roles, analyze the list and determine what is missing. Does the PAGE 4

5 group need more people to lead various aspects of the project? Do they need more supporters to make sure goals are met and tasks are completed? Encourage students to brainstorm a marketing campaign to recruit more leaders and supporters. Don t forget, these leaders and supporters can come from within your GSA, other community organizations that serve LGBTQ students, or other partner organizations within the school! (for more organizations about partner information, review the Coalition Building Worksheet provided with Lesson 3 ( That s So Gay! : Challenging Homophobia and Heterosexism). More information about coalition building will be provided in Lesson 8 (Whose Side Are You On?: Building Coalitions and Recruiting Allies). Students will not have enough time to complete this action during the meeting. Ask students to take the remaining five minutes to begin work on this project and to then have it completed by the next time your group meets. Resources on following pages... PAGE 5

6 Project Timeline 1. What is your project? When should it be completed? Project Date: List things that must happen in order to accomplish your end goal (recruit leaders, build support team, promote, etc.). Put these tasks in a logical order. Think about which tasks should happen first, which tasks are foundational to the ones that follow, etc. 1. Date: 2. Date: 3. Date: 4. Date: 5. Date: 6. Date: 7. Date: 8. Date: 9. Date: 10. Date: Think trough each of your tasks starting with the one closest to the end goal and decide when each of them must be accomplished. You should work backward through the tasks to determine how long the entire project will take and when you should begin. (For example, if your end goal is a school assembly about the dangers of bullying, your tasks might include reserving a meeting space, recruiting a speaker and promoting the assembly. Ask yourself, when is our deadline for reserving a space? and when do we need to start promoting? ) Place the appropriate dates in the list above to make a timeline for your project! PAGE 6

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