64 Sample Writing Assignments

Sample Discussion & Writing Prompts

Curated by Amy Minervini

The website Living Room Conversations features a Social Equity Conversation Guide, beginning with Conversation Agreements, ways in which to respectfully engage with others on more difficult topics. Those are as follows:

  • Be curious and listen to understand.
  • Show respect and suspend judgment.
  • Note any common ground as well as any differences.
  • Be authentic and welcome that from others.
  • Be purposeful and to the point.
  • Own and guide the conversation.

These general, open-ended ideas from Living Room Conversations (surrounding social equity, policing, anti-racism, gender, homelessness, culture, and pandemic-race intersection) can be modified to generate discussion or to fit various writing modes: personal narrative, reflection, informative, persuasive, and analysis depending on your purpose:

  • What sense of purpose / mission / duty guides you in your life?
  • What would your best friend say about who you are and what inspires you?
  • What are your hopes and concerns for your community and/or the country?
  • What does the concept of “social equity” mean to you?
  • Are there “social equity” concerns in your community? If so, what are they? If not, should there be?
  • When it comes to achieving social equity, do your values line up with the redistributing of wealth and resources? Is everyone entitled to a certain quality and standard of living?
  • How racially/ethnically diverse is your congregation? Have you ever attended a place of worship where you were in the racial/ethnic minority? What was that experience like?
  • How has your faith inspired you to respond in this moment? What are you feeling called to do? Where do you feel resistance?
  • What messages have you internalized from your faith’s culture, history, and doctrine around Blackness and people of color?
  • What challenges/barriers do you face in speaking up when you see anti-Blackness/racism/white supremacy in your faith community?
  • Where do you see police in your community? How are they contributing to protection and safety? How do you see their presence supporting or detracting from community well-being?
  • What interactions have you had with police? What was that like for you? What impact does that have on your expectations for possible encounters in the future?
  • What do you expect from law enforcement personnel?
  • What happens when you watch videos documenting police-citizen violence?
  • What is your hope for police-community relations?
  • What roles have you learned about gender from parents, school, peers, media, faith? Which do you hold true? And which do you break?
  • What do gender and biological sex mean to you? Are they interchangeable, do they conflict with each other?
  • What do masculinity and femininity mean to you? How do you express masculinity and femininity?
  • What is something you would do if you could break the rules or roles of gender for a day?
  • To what extent do you believe women are given the same rights, opportunities and privileges as men?
  • What personal experiences, if any, do you have with gender inequality?
  • What changes would you like to see in this country as it pertains to how women are regarded?
  • What does the feminist movement mean to you? How has it affected you?
  • What does an ideal society look like to you in the realm of sex/gender relations
  • What is a powerful leadership moment you’ve experienced?
  • What are the other issues around women, power and leadership?
  • What is your hope or aspiration for women, leadership and power?
  • What has been your personal response to homeless people whom you’ve seen? Who do you think makes up the homeless population?
  • What do you think is contributing to homelessness right now?
  • What do you expect from your city, county, state or federal government with regard to homelessness?
  • What are your hopes regarding homelessness in the future?
  • What is your cultural heritage?
  • What experiences have you had with cultures other than your own? What did you appreciate? What made you uncomfortable?
  • What value do you see in having a single, shared American culture? What would that look like?
  • What value do you see in having a decidedly multicultural society?
  • When should cultural symbols be public versus private?
  • To what degree has addressing the issues of race in our country been a concern of yours prior to this pandemic? Has the pandemic made it more or less relevant to you? If so, how?
  • How have you seen responses to the coronavirus impact racial polarization in the country? In your community? How have responses drawn us closer together or deepened our divisions?
  • What factors contribute to your perceived degree of safety or lack of safety from contacting the coronavirus in your surroundings? What is that like for you?
  • Have you witnessed/experienced events of racism or racial scapegoating in the time of the coronavirus? What happened and how did that affect you?
  • How have you seen our society’s problems reflected by the politicization and racial discrimination of some people through reactions to coronavirus?
  • Share what was most meaningful or valuable to you in the experience of this Living Room Conversation?
  • What new understanding or common ground did you find within this topic?
  • Has this conversation changed your perception of anyone in this group, including yourself?
  • Name one important thing that was accomplished here.
  • Is there a next step you would like to take based upon the conversation you just had?
Copyright 2020 – Living Room Conversations

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Write What Matters by Liza Long, Amy Minervini, and Joel Gladd is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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