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        Understanding Intersectionality: Lesson Plan | Dolores

        In this lesson, students will examine the concept of intersectionality as it applies to building inclusive social groups and movements. Intersectionality refers to how our multiple identities change how we experience the world, and what that means as we work to build inclusive schools, organizations, workplaces and communities. 

        Additional strategies for supporting ELL learners are included throughout this lesson.

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        Lesson Summary

        Opening Quote:

        “Today we talk about the intersectionality of struggles, but I think during that period we actually lived it. We experienced it.” - Angela Davis, Dolores  

        ELL Strategy: Project this quote or hand out cards with the quote printed out and read aloud. Have students read the cards in pairs or small groups and discuss. If questions arise have students share their questions with the class.

        Students will examine the concept of intersectionality as it applies to building inclusive social groups and learn about the ways Dolores Huerta “lived” this philosophy through her organizing work. 


        Time Allotment

        One 60 minute class period. 

        For ELL class, two 60 minute class periods are recommended.


        Learning Objectives

        Students will:

        ● Examine the concept of intersectionality as it applies to social movements.

        ● Research how the struggles of the social movements in Dolores are related to one another. 

        ● Create an argument for the power of social justice movements working together. 



        1. Lesson 2 - Clip 3: Intersectionality and Making of a Movement

        The Intersectionality of Struggles-  (length 2:27)

        Environmental Justice - (length 2:35)

        Feminist Movement - (length 3:00)

        Description: These three clips explore how Dolores Huerta and the Farm Workers Union worked across communities in their organizing work, or what we call today, intersectionality. This included Dolores’s work negotiating the first farm workers contracts, being on the vanguard of environmental justice movement concerning the use of pesticides, and working alongside many leaders in the feminist movement to address endemic sexism in the union and other institutions.

        2. Access either online or in print to this infographic about intersectionality

        Suggested resources on the movements in the film clip during the 1960s, or have students do their own research. If students do their own research, ask them to discuss the resources they choose, and why they believe those resources to be valid:

        Second Wave Feminist Movement

        Farm Workers’ Rights

        African American Civil Rights

        Environmental Movement

        #RaceAnd video series from Race Forward: The Center for Racial Justice Innovation

        3. For ELL Learners: 

        Copies of Appendix A 

        Project Slide and/or Cards prepared for Opening Quote and Step 2 (Quote)

        Introductory Activity

        1. Write the word intersectionality on the board and ask students to share any background knowledge they have of the term, or any inferences they can make.  

        You may also choose to reference a definition from Professor Kimberlé Crenshaw who originally coined the term of intersectionality in 1989 as a way to explain the oppression of African-American women.

        Intersectionality is a lens through which you can see where power comes and collides, where it interlocks and intersects. It’s not simply that there’s a race problem here, a gender problem here, and a class or LBGTQ problem there. Many times that framework erases what happens to people who are subject to all of these things. 

        2. Introduce other Key Terms for the lesson on intersectionality that are relevant to Dolores Huerta’s story and work. 

        Feminism - the belief that men and women should have equal rights and opportunities

        Inclusive - open to everyone, not limited to certain people

        Perspective - a way of thinking about and understanding something

        Social conscience - the part of the mind that makes you aware of your actions in relation to the problems and injustices of society

        Social movement - (in the context of this lesson) a series of organized activities in which many people work together to do or achieve something

        ELL Strategy: Have students complete a Word Knowledge Continuum (Appendix A) to begin increasing student fluency and understanding of these terms used in Dolores.  This exercise enables even students with very little background knowledge of these terms to participate in the class conversation.

        For higher level ELL learners, create a word web (or word map) whereby students place the word in the middle and place examples or helpful clues around the term. For native English speakers  have students create a word web with  synonyms and antonyms in the graphic organizer or consider adapting  The Frayer Model for building student vocabulary.

        Encourage Higher level ELL learners to write down their thinking as they acquire greater language fluency, such as creating a sentence using the word that is relevant to their personal experience.  For example:

        The equal pay for equal work is an example of a policy that supports feminism.

        ❖ The United Farm Workers Movement (UFW) was an inclusive movement in that it invited many different groups to organize together and fight for equal rights. 

        ❖ Dolores Huerta had a less traditional perspective of the role of women particularly within the Chicano community. 

        ❖ Dolores Huerta shared in the film that she developed a social conscience when she met and worked with Fred Ross Sr. in helping to organize a union for farm workers.

        ❖ The UFW was a social movement bringing together farm workers who were being exploited by their employers to gain a fair wage and safe working conditions.

        Learning Activities

        1. Watch Film Clip 3: Intersectionality and the Making of a Movement and discuss:

        ● What does intersectionality mean to social movements?

        2. Read Angela Davis’ quote from the film out loud: 

        Oftentimes today looking back, we think about discrete and distinct movements. We think that the Black movement was one movement and then that the Chicano movement was over here and then there was the Native American movement, but all those movements, and the individuals within those movements, were connected and we knew that one movement would not be successful without the other. 

        • Why do you think it was the case that the movements were more successful together?

        ELL Strategy: Project this quote or hand out cards with this quote from the film printed out. Have students read the cards in pairs or small groups and discuss. If questions arise have students share their questions with the class.

        3. Jigsaw on Social Movements: Split into groups and do a jigsaw exercise. Ask each group to read the suggested resources or find others that describe the main goals of the movements highlighted in the film clip.

        a. Second Wave Feminist Movement

        b. Farm Workers’ Rights Movement

        c. Environmental Movement

        d. African American Civil Rights Movement

        ELL Strategy: Have ELL students take notes on these movements using the following framework:

        What was the movement about?

        Who were the leaders of the movement?

        What were the main goals of the movement? 

        Have groups present their findings to one another. As a large group, discuss the following questions:  

        ● What are the similarities you see between these movements?

        ● What are the forces that are working to deny rights to the people in each movement?

        ● What strengths come from these movements working together?

        4.Closing: Back in small groups, have students create a visual representation of where the movements they studied intersect, and where they differ. For example, students might create a Venn diagram with circles for each of the four movements.

        Culminating Activity


        Intersectionality within individuals: Introduce the idea of the individuals within each of the movements they looked at and how intersectionality matters to them. Watch 2-3 #RaceAnd videos, choosing from the playlist available on the Race Forward website.

        Ask each student to write a reflective piece on their classroom and/or their school. What did they learn from either the social movements or the #RaceAnd videos that made them think differently about how to build an inclusive environment within their school.


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