In 2012 and 2013, we piloted a curriculum called “GSAs for Justice” with the GSAs at Madison East High School and Stoughton High School. GSAs for Justice was created by Geoffrey Winder, the Racial and Economic Justice Manager for the GSA Network in California. Recognizing that most GSAs are predominantly made up of white students, Geoffrey wanted to create a series of lessons that would help the students in GSA develop their analysis of how racism, sexism, and other systems of oppression are playing out in their schools. The hope is that in doing so, GSA leaders will learn how to make their clubs more inclusive, paving the way for students of color to not only find support in GSAs but also have the opportunity to take on leadership within their GSAs and schools.
Our former Manager of GSA Outreach, Tim Michael, visited the Madison East GSA and Stoughton GSA six times each to run the curriculum. The curriculum uses a visual tool called “The Octopus of Oppression” to help students understand how systems such as racism, sexism, heterosexism, and ableism are all part of the larger institutional powers of patriarchy, capitalism, and white supremacy. Students discuss institutional examples of these systems of oppression, both historical and modern day, and begin to see how they are interconnected with one another. Over the weeks, the students learn to see how these systems of oppression trickle down and play out in their own schools, communities, and even in their clubs.
Our goal is to offer the GSAs for Justice curriculum to two or three GSAs each academic year. If your GSA is interested in having someone from GSAFE run this curriculum with your club, call the GSAFE office at (608) 661-4141. We would be more than happy to talk about whether we think your GSA would be a good fit for this training.