Your Personal Connection with the Issue


  • To identify a personal connection to an issue
  • To practice public speaking skills


  • Timer
  • Paper
  • Pens or pencils
  • Flip chart paper

Prepare Before

Find an article or piece of writing by someone well known concerning your class’s chosen issue to read to the class (e.g., Tupac Shakur speaking on community inequity).

Warm Up

Read chosen article about issue to the class and discuss.


In order to effectively create change you must thoroughly understand the issue you are addressing — this requires research.  There are many ways to research.  One way is to start with yourself.  Remind participants that “the wealth is in the room,” meaning personal history/experience is the best first place to start your research.

Have participants share their personal experience with the issue your group has chosen. You, the facilitator, should do this too.

Each participant will have 2 minutes to talk about their connection to the issue.   They should talk about themselves ONLY.   The 2 minutes are theirs to use.  If they stop talking before 2 minutes, the group will remain silent.

Remind group about attentive listening and confidentiality and speaking from yourself.  After the 2 minutes are up, the group will have 1 minute to follow up with questions.  The speaker can choose what questions they want to answer.

Note:  At your discretion, people may speak longer than 2 minutes.  Often speakers drift from talking about themselves to talking about others, what they saw on TV, in the news, etc.  If they drift, remind them that they are to talk about themselves.


Have all participants write a 5 minute reflection on these two questions:

  1. How did it feel to share your connection?
  2. Is there anything else you wish you had said?


We are all connected to the issue chosen in some way or another.  Even if this is not the issue that affects each of us the most, we are still all impacted by it.  As we work on changing this issue, it is important to remember how we are all connected to it collectively and how we are individually connected to it.


If they want to, have some participants share their reflections. Lead the group in a discussion to draw out key issues to focus on.

Discussion Questions:

  • What did you learn from this experience?
  • What things did you hear in common?
  • Based on the experiences of this group, how can/should we direct our attention to this topic?
  • What areas seem most important to follow-up?

Write up all follow-up ideas on chart paper.