Discussion and Self-Reflection Questions
- Aaron talks about being the subject of racism all of his young life. He reacted by “closing down” and keeping to himself. Have you or someone you know faced racism in your life? How did you react? Looking back on that experience, would you react differently today? Why or why not?
- After being part of Peer Group Connections at his school, Aaron says he “grew a spine.” What does this mean to you?
- Aaron gives advice about speaking up and gaining confidence. What helps you gain more self-confidence?
- Write down or call out words or phrases that people have said about you or your friends or family that affected you negatively. Now write down or call out words or phrases that describe your positive qualities. Are one set of words more powerful to you than the other? Why or why not?
Activity: My Monumental Moment
Look in books, magazines or search online to find images of several U.S. monuments and memorials (see suggested list below). What do you think of the way the monuments look? What is inscribed on the statues/buildings? What do these words mean to you?
Now, ask your Peer Leaders to create a monument to increase awareness about racism, acceptance or a special topic of concern to GWCHSS students. What words or phrases would they inscribe? Are there meaningful lyrics or poetry to include? The group can work together to create a sketch the design. If time permits, create posters for the GWCHSS hallways.
Download the Lesson Plan for full activity and discussion questions.
Begin this session by watching the video Building Self-Confidence. In the video, Aaron Caesar talks about Central Park East High School’s program, Peer Group Connections (PGC) and how it has helped him learn more about himself, build confidence, and respond in healthier ways to other people’s racist judgments.