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21 Day Racial Equity & Social Justice Challenge: Home

Have you ever made a successful change in your life? Perhaps you wanted to exercise more, eat less, or change jobs? Think about the time and attention you dedicated to the process. A lot, right? Change is hard. Creating effective social justice habits, particularly those dealing with issues of power, privilege and leadership is like any lifestyle change. Setting our intentions and adjusting what we spend our time doing is essential. It’s all about building new habits. Sometimes the hardest part is just getting started. The good news is, there’s an abundance of resources just waiting to empower you to be a more effective player in the quest for justice.

 

 

Week 1: Going Inside/Getting Personal: How Racism and Bias Shows Up in Me

Before you get started, if you haven’t done so already, please fill out this pre-event survey to set your intentions and share your goals for the challenge with us. We also encourage you to download your Challenge Reflection Log – a tool to ensure you are taking full advantage of what the challenge has to offer. 

 

We want to thank YWCA Cleveland for their materials and resources as well as Dr. Eddie Moore and Debby Irving who first started the 21 Day Racial Equity Challenge. 

 

CHALLENGES

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CHALLENGES

  • Option 1: Unconscious Bias. Go deeper and take Project Implicit's Hidden Bias tests, created by psychologists at top universities, to uncover some of your own unconscious biases. Remember, having biases doesn't make you a bad person--it only makes you human. TIP: Proceed as a guest to access their library of tests and find out your implicit associations about race, gender, sexual orientation, skin tone, and other topics. We Recommend you take the Race IAT.  
  • Option 2: Speak Up. Read one or more of the compelling personal stories featured in the Speak Up Handbook by the Southern Poverty Law Center. We would like to point you to page 19, titled "What Can I do About My Own Bias?" but feel free to use the table of contents on page 2 to explore other topics that interest you. 

 

OTHER RESOURCES

Privilege is the unearned social, political, economic, and psychological benefits of membership in a group that has institutional and structural power. How do you relate to these common examples of privilege in the USA?

Having privilege can give you advantages in life, but having privilege is not a guarantee of success.

 

CHALLENGES

Have you heard of the term “White Fragility?” For white people, “White Fragility” refers to their discomfort and avoidance of racially charged stress, which perpetuates racial inequity.  Many people of color, multiracial, and Indigenous peoples are familiar with this concept, but may not be familiar with the term.

Dr. Robin DiAngelo describes white fragility as a state of being for white people in which even a minimum amount of racial stress becomes intolerable, triggering a range of defensive moves. These moves can include the outward display of emotions such as anger, fear, and guilt, and behaviors such as argumentation, silence, and leaving the stress-inducing situation. These behaviors shut down conversations, and inhibit actions which, in turn, function to reinstate white racial equilibrium.

CHALLENGES

  • Option 1: "I'm Not Racist."  Watch Dr. DiAngelo's "Why 'I'm Not Racist' is Only Half the Story" video. Once finished, take a quick quiz from the publisher of "White Fragility: Why It's So Hard for White People to Talk About Racism," to see if you exhibit "White Fragility" traits.
  • Option 2: Reproducing Racism. Read a short article by Dr. DiAngelo that unpacks how we continue to reproduce racist outcomes and live segregated lives. TIP: We highly recommend reading Dr. DiAngelo's entire book. Better yet, read it with your book club and use this free reader's guide to discuss with your colleagues. 
  • Option 3: Common Racist Attitudes. Review this list of 28 common racist attitudes and behaviors that indicate a detour or wrong turn into white guilt, denial, or defensiveness. 

 

OTHER RESOURCES

 

On March 5, 2019, the California Attorney General announced that the police officers who shot and killed Stephon Clark (age 22) in March 2018— will not face chargesThe two officers fired on Clark, an unarmed African-American man, after a foot chase that ended in his grandmother’s backyard. The officers shot Clark seven times, including three times in the back, the official autopsy found.

Whether you agree or disagree with the decision of the California Attorney General, news like this is traumatizing and re-traumatizing to people of color. It is like a wound that never heals.

Research has linked racism to psychological distress, physical health problems, depression, anxiety, and trauma. The internalization of bias and oppression can cause great distress to minds, bodies, and spirits.

As Dr. Monnica Williams of the University of Connecticut has written: “What we really need is a large-scale shift in our social consciousness to understand the toll this takes on the psyche of victims so that even small acts of racism become unacceptable. We need those who witness racism to speak out and victims to be believed.”

CHALLENGES

 

OTHER RESOURCES

As our first week comes to an end, we hope you have taken the opportunity to look inside yourself and expand your mind through the different challenges offered. As we move into week two, prepare to shift your focus from the personal reflection that we have been exploring to a broader view of racial equity and social justice.

Are you seeing and addressing how racism operates at different levels? Dr. Camara Jones, Senior Fellow at the Morehouse School of Medicine, says that in order to address racism effectively, we have to understand how it operates at multiple levels. Often what people think of first and foremost is interpersonal racism. Only seeing this level means that we fail to see the full picture that keeps the system of racism in place.

CHALLENGE

  • Option 1: Allegories on Race. Watch Dr. Jones' TED talk on the "Allegories on Race and Racism" where she shares four short stories to help us understand privilege and racism
  • Option 2: Systemic Racism. Check out this short video from Race Forward about the levels and the importance of looking at systemic, not simply individual, racism

Week 2: Digging Deeper: Insights Into Lived Experiences

We can't ever truly understand what it is like to be part of a different group, but information can help us to build connections and to create more inclusive spaces

Racism in America is systemic, and its legacy is woven so deeply into the fabric of this country that it permeates our communities in many forms today. To say that we live in a 'post-racial' society because we've elected a Black President, or see Black successful business people ignores the daily racism people of color encounter in this country. Racism is not something we can end by decree, and Black people today are disproportionately among the poor, the incarcerated, and the unhoused. As you complete this week's challenges, reflect on the ways you notice the legacy of slavery in our daily lives in 2019. A quick read for context can be found here: "From 1619-2019 From Slavery to Mass Incarceration." 

 

 

CHALLENGES

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CHALLENGES

  • Option 1: El Detour. This challenge is also about celebrating diverse identities and cultures. Please take this day to expand your music list and listen to El Detour Radio on your Pandora station during your drive to/from work, in the office, or during lunch. In honor of National Hispanic Heritage Month, Pandora launches a new Latinx music station called El Detour in October 2019. El Detour highlights the genres and artists that can't be put in a box and are challenging the definitions of what it means to be a Latinx artist. For those who do not listen to Pandora--no worries, please move on to Option 2!
  • Option 2: Nine Latinas. Read about "Nine Latinas You Should Be Learning About In History Class." For all the women who deserve a place in our textbooks and for the women whose voices should echo--this is for them. Though not at all exhaustive, this list includes some of the Hispanic/Latinas who made their mark on history. 
  • Option 3: State of Higher Ed for Latinx. Over 50% of California's K-12 students are Latinx and while high school graduation rates have grown significantly in the past 15 years, many of these students are more likely to attend high schools that do not provide equitable opportunities to be competitive in college admissions.
    While about 54% of white community college students complete a certificate, only about 42% of Latinx students do so. In addition, the gap between Latinx and white student graduation rates has actually increased by 8 points at the CSU. In 2016, 18% of Latinx adults ages 25-64 had earned an associate or bachelor's degree, yet there are big gaps compared to Asian adults at 62% and blacks at 34% (EdSource). 
    There are multiple factors that have created this situation, including historical, systemic barriers such as remedial placement, where Latinx students have been placed into remedial courses at higher rates, yet the placement test is not an accurate predictor of college success. 
    Take some time to read the Campaign for College Opportunity's 2018 report on the State of Higher Education for Latinx in California

"Invisibility and erasure undermine current efforts of over 570 separate, sovereign, and modern tribal nations--each with our own languages, culture, and ways of life. Native Americans comprise just 1.5% of the population nationally. It is exceedingly difficult to challenge misconceptions and stereotypes when the average person is unlikely to interact with Native American people day-to-day."
--Cynthia Connoly, Lake Erie Native American Council Board Member

The Northern Chumash are the first people to inhabit the land we now call San Luis Obispo. There are many bands that make up the Chumash people, including the federally recognized Santa Ynez band to our south. Though small in number, the CHumash people remain an important part of the fabric of this area. They are students, teachers, lawyers, mechanics, artists, and builders. If you want to know more about the Northern Chumash, you can check out their website at: https://northernchumash.org/.

 

 

CHALLENGES

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  • Option 1: Pick a Visionary from How We'll Win: The Visionaries and read her story. Then, make a list of your women colleagues. Think of one thing you can do to increase the recognition for her contributions, and write it down. Then go through the list, and do those things.
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Week 3: Less Visible Identities

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Week 4: Building Community/Action Plan

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