GSA Values for Justice

Materials Needed: Poster Paper; Markers; Paper; Scissors; Pens/pencils; Tape


This is the fifth section of our Workshop Series: Educational Justice Campaigns. GSA Values for Justice is meant to help students understand the importance of a values statement in creating a safe and welcoming environment for all students. This workshop can also be used to develop your organization’s mission statement, bylaws, and constitution.

  1. Develop an understanding of a GSA’s vision and values statement
  2. Understand how the values and vision of your GSA inform the mission and club culture you create
  3. Learn the importance of a vision and values statement for an activist GSA

Values for the Vision (0:10)

TRAINER NOTE: Start workshop with drawing of our vision from the previous workshop finished and ready to be presented.

TRAINER 1 OPENING STATEMENT: Welcome to the GSA Values for Justice workshop. We are going to talk about our values as a GSA. GSAs need to be social justice clubs if we are going to achieve justice for LGBTQ students and all youth in schools. Being a social justice club means we have a vision for justice in our school and we need to have values that are related to achieving that vision. So we will do an activity to help illustrate what our values are and how those values contribute to our club culture and our vision. But first: why are values important to guide the work of any group or organization? TRAINER NOTE: Take a few responses.

TRAINER 2 SAY: Our values reflect how our clubs are run and help us maintain safe and supportive clubs. Let’s start off by putting up the drawing from the last workshop that illustrates our vision as a club. As you may remember some of our collective visions for the club were… (read a few of the visions that were gathered)

TRAINER 1 SAY: With that in mind, I want everyone to write down any words or phrases that you think are necessary to reach that vision or make that vision real. Some examples could be “being anti-sexist,” “reaching out to groups beyond our circle of friends,” or “not creating cliques.” TRAINER NOTE: Pass out materials for participants to write, cut, and tape with.

TRAINER 2 SAY: When you’re done, I want everyone to cut out each individual word/phrase into strips and tape them onto our vision. You will have 10 minutes to do so. (Give 5 minute, 2 minute, 1 minute warnings)

Shared Values (0:10)

TRAINER 1 SAY: Thank you all for posting your values. Now we are going to go over them.

TRAINER 2 SAY: Some values people put are… (READ values and put a star next to similar values) TRAINER NOTE: Keep track of the values with the most stars and write them down on a separate piece of poster paper titled VALUES.

TRAINER 1 ASK: So if you had to pick from this list of values that were the most common values, which ones are the most important to you? And why? (Make sure everyone answers, and put a different colored star next to those values) TRAINER NOTE: Begin writing this sentence on a piece of poster paper. Leave enough spaces in the blanks to fit most values/visions.

Values Statement (0:10)

TRAINER 2 SAY: So now that we’ve discussed the values we all have in common and the values that are most important to us individually, lets create our values statement together. Let’s complete this sentence. (READ SENTENCE WITH BLANKS)

The ______________ (club name) is committed to a vision of justice in schools that includes ___________________, ___________________, ___________________, and ___________________ for ___________________ (who). In order to achieve this, our club is committed to ___________________, ___________________, ___________________ and believe that ___________________.

TRAINER 1 SAY: Based off of our conversations and using both some visions from our vision statement and our values from these poster papers, which ones would we pick to complete this sentence? TRAINER NOTE: Fill in blanks with consensus from the whole group; make sure everyone agrees to these visions and values. Take about 10 minutes to finish this sentence.

TRAINER 2 CLOSING STATEMENT: GSAs with Vision and Values statements have a much better foundation as activist clubs to build coalitions, engage in days of action with other groups and invite other groups to collaborate with them. We hope to spend some time putting this in our constitution and on all of our posters and materials so our school knows what we’re about and that WE are a social justice organization fighting for ALL. Thank you all for participating in this activity to create our vision and values statement to help us begin an educational justice campaign.

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