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21 Day Racial Equity and Social Justice Challenge

For 21 days, you will complete at least ONE activity to further your knowledge of diversity, equity, inclusion and justice work. Each weekday, simply choose ONE article, comic, video, chapter from a book, movie, song, etc. to experience and then take a few minutes to reflect on that experience. Daily prompts fall into eight categories of activities: read, listen, watch, notice, connect, engage, act, and reflect.

Day 1 – June 19, 2021

Read: I was a racist teacher and didn't even know it article

Listen: 1619 Podcast
This is an audio series about how slavery has transformed America, connecting past and present through the oldest form of storytelling.

Watch: Indigenous People React to Indigenous Representation in Film And TV
This is a conversation with a diverse range of Indigenous people by FBE about media depictions of Indigenous people, Columbus Day, and Indigenous identity. (15 minutes)

Act: Invite friend(s), family, and/or colleagues to do the 21-Day Challenge with you.

Reflect: Reflecting and journaling is a crucial piece of the challenge. Plan to take time every day to reflect on what you chose to do, what you’re learning, and how you are feeling. Difficult emotions such as shame and anger, though uncomfortable to feel, can guide you to deeper self-awareness about how power and privilege impact you and the people in your life. At the very least, use the “reflect” space on the tracking tool.

Day 2 – June 20, 2021

Read: Marley Dias, educators and students talk Institutional Racism - NEA EdJustice

Listen: Do the Work Podcast
The podcast hosted by Brandon Kyle Goodman explores race and relationships. Each episode is an intimate conversation between two people who know each other well, and have had or are still having a struggle crossing the racial barrier. They are brought together to finally have a real conversation about race and learn how we can all be anti-racist in our daily lives. Debby Irving has a small role in each episode. (episodes 30 - 50 mins)

Reflect: Reflect on why you signed up for the 21 Day Equity Challenge. What are you hoping to get out of this experience? How do you hope this work will change the way you view your work and this world?

Day 3 – June 21, 2021

Read: Black and alone in an honors class (article by Kiara Lee-Heart)

Listen: NPR's Code Switch: Where are you really from? Podcast
Hosted by journalists of color, the podcast tackles the subject of race head-on. They explore how it impacts every part of society — from politics and pop culture to history, sports and everything in between.

Reflect: Spend some time observing social interactions today–in your personal life, in a class, or in your workplace. Whose voices tend to be the loudest? Whose voices tend to be ignored? Who seems to have the most power/clout to shape agendas? What are the patterns you noted? What does this make you think?

Watch: Systemic Racism Explained
Act.TV's animated short illustrates how systemic racism affects every area of the U.S. from incarceration to predatory lending, and how we can solve it. (4 mins)

Day 4 – June 22, 2021

Read: Avoiding Racial Equity Detours (article by Paul Gorski)

Listen: Student Podcast on Racial Justice
This podcast was started by a group of Denver students to elevate the voices of Black youth.

Notice: Review the Continuum on Becoming an Anti-Racist, Multicultural Institution with a small group of people at your workplace, faith institution, club, or any organization you’re a part of.

  • Where do you think the organization is right now?
  • What’s your evidence?
  • Has the organization evolved in some ways?
  • What caused/allowed for that?
  • Has the organization articulated a desire to evolve towards being an anti-racist, multicultural organization?
  • If not, do you have the power to influence that movement?
  • Who are your in-organization and/or stakeholder allies?
  • If yes, what steps is it taking?
  • Could it be doing more? If so what?
  • Who are your in-organization and/or stakeholder allies?

Day 5 – June 23, 2021

Read: I'm Jewish and don't identify as white. Why must I check that box?
Kwame Anthony Appiah brings historical context to the fraught identity of being Jewish in a world built on whiteness.

Listen: Teaching Hard History
Host Dr. Hasan Kwame Jeffries, from Learning for Justice, brings us the lessons we should have learned in school through the voices of leading scholars and educators.

Watch: ‘Intergroup anxiety’: Can you try too hard to be fair?
This video explores why we may get tongue tied and blunder when we encounter people from groups unfamiliar to us. (5 minutes)

Watch: A Poem for My White Friends: I Didn't Tell You
Ever wonder what a day in the life of a person of color is like? Listen to this poem, written and spoken by Norma Johnson. (7 minutes)

Day 6 – June 24, 2021

Read: The problem with that equity vs. equality graphic you’re using – Cultural Organizing
Look at the various visuals under comics/visuals in the resource section. As you think about addressing “isms”, are you thinking more in terms of equality (everyone getting the same) or equity (everyone getting what they need to succeed). How might a shift towards equity make a difference in your practice?

Watch: TEDxHampshireCollege - Jay Smooth - How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love Discussing Race Video
How comfortable are you talking about race and racism with family and friends? How comfortable are you talking about race with those with whom you work? What is the impact of this? How might you become more comfortable with this work and lean into the discomfort?

Act: Prepare yourself to interrupt racial jokes. Click HERE for some advice about how.

Day 7 – June 25, 2021

Read: White Privilege: Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack
A groundbreaking 1989 essay by Peggy McIntosh, lists the ways she’s beginning to recognize the way white privilege operates in her life.

Listen: Introducing: Nice White Parents
From Serial and The New York Times reporter Chana Joffe-Walt looks at the 60-year relationship between white parents and the public school down the block. A reading list and discussion guide calls in/out white progressives. (1-hour episodes)

Watch: Not Everyone is Your Friend
Trent Shelton speaks to the negative pull we can feel from old friends when we try to spread our wings. (3 mins each)

Day 8 – June 26, 2021

Read: Infographic: What Is Tone Policing And Why Is It Wrong?
Shambhavi Raj Singh's infographic explains what tone policing is, why it's harmful, and how to avoid it.

Listen: Black Voices in Healthcare
This podcast by the acclaimed medical storytelling community, The Nocturnists, was created in the wake of the murder of George Floyd. Black medical community luminaries, Ashley McMullen, MD, and Kimberly Manning, MD, host this series about how being Black shapes medical workers’ personal and professional lives. (30 mins - 1-hour episodes)

Notice: Once people start to learn about white privilege and America’s systems of oppression through history, they often ask, “Why didn’t I see this sooner?” It’s easy to overlook what we’re not looking for. Once you understand the phenomenon of selective noticing, take yourself on a noticing adventure.

Watch:Test your awareness: Do the test video. (1.5 mins)

Day 9 – June 27, 2021

Read: Struggling to Stay Home: Latino Renters in the COVID-19 Pandemic
UnidosUS unpacks the Latinx community’s barriers to housing before and during COVID.

Watch: Inclusion over Diversity This is Kenyona Mathews' TED Talk. (10 mins)

Engage: Find a mentor within your own racial group to support and guide your growth.

Day 10 – June 28, 2021

Read: Redlining Was Codified Racism That Shaped American Cities And This Exhibit Shows It Still Exists
Cristela Guerra describes a traveling exhibit about the 1930s housing and lending policy’s creation of an enduring racist housing footprint across the U.S.

Watch: How to overcome our biases? Walk boldly toward them
This TED Talk by Vernā Myers, encourages vigorous work to counterbalance bias by connecting with and learning about and from the groups we fear. (19 mins)

Connect: Follow Racial Justice activists, educators, and organizations on social media. Some ideas:

  • Equity Literacy Institute
  • Humanize My Hoodie
  • Anti-Racism Calendar (developed by a student)
  • Cornelius Minor - Twitter & Facebook
  • African American Registry
  • Teaching Tolerance
  • Race Forward
  • Upworthy
  • Black Minds Matter
  • Colorlines

Day 11 – June 29, 2021

Read: COVID-19 has inflamed racism against Asian Americans

Listen: Breaking Green Ceilings
This podcast amplifies the voices of environmentalists from historically underrepresented communities including disabled, queer, trans, Black, Indigenous, people of color and accomplices. (episodes 1 hour)

Watch: ‘We the People’ - the three most misunderstood words in US history
This TED Talk by Mark Charles offers a unique perspective on three of the most misinterpreted words in American History and their connection to obstructing life, liberty, and justice for all people. (17mins)

Day 12 – June 30, 2021

Read: Opinion: Why BIPOC Is An Inadequate Acronym
Kearie Daniel breaks down the term BIPOC and why it doesn’t sit well with her.

Listen: It's More Than Racism: Isabel Wilkerson Explains America's 'Caste' System
In her new book, Caste, Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Isabel Wilkerson examines the laws and practices that created what she describes as a bipolar, Black and white caste system in the United States.

Engage: Notice when you are uncomfortable. Reflect on why you’re uncomfortable and think about what you can do to build more emotional stamina in this area.

Day 13 – July 1, 2021

Read: Online Guide: Beyond the Golden Rule - A Guide to Preventing and Responding to Bias

Listen: Teaching To Thrive
Podcast hosts Bettina Love & Chelsey Culley-Love share ideas that strengthen the everyday lives of Black and Brown students within our schools and communities. Each episode is aimed at empowering our knowledge for collective liberation. (20 - 40 min episodes)

Watch: I'm not your inspiration, thank you very much
This TED Talk is by comedian and journalist Stella Young who happens to go about her day in a wheelchair — a fact that doesn't, she'd like to make clear, automatically turn her into a noble inspiration to all humanity. In this very funny talk, Young breaks down society's habit of turning disabled people into "inspiration porn." (9 mins)

Day 14 – July 2, 2021

Day 15 – July 3, 2021

Read: So You Want to Talk About Race - by Ljeoma Oluo (Book)

Watch: Verona Area High School Students on Microaggressions (9.5 mins)

Listen: Fannie Lou Hamer’s 1964 Testimony
Fannie Lou Hamer is an American women’s rights activist, voting activist and community organizer. (9 mins)

Day 16 – July 4, 2021

Watch: I’ve lived as a man & a woman -- here’s what I learned 
The TED Talk by Paula Stone Williams is about the surprising injustices she discovered in transitioning from a male to a female body. (15 mins)

Watch: 13th 
This is a Netflix documentary by Ava DuVernay about the connection between US Slavery and the present-day mass incarceration system. (1 hour 40 minutes)

Act: Convey to all in your circle that the point of racial justice is not to hate on white people, it’s to create a more loving and humane world for ALL. We can’t fix the problem if we don’t name the problem.

Day 17 – July 5, 2021

Watch: What Being Hispanic and Latinx Means in the United States
Fernanda Ponce shares what she’s learning about the misunderstanding and related mistreatment of the incredibly diverse ethnic category people in U.S. call Hispanic. (12 mins)

Listen: Black Wall Street
Hosted by Nia Clark, this podcast takes a look back in history at a time of great promise and great disappointment for Black Americans who dreamed of and struggled for the promise of community and full citizenship.

Act: Learn how to be an ALLY for racial equity. Watch THIS video and share it with a colleague and discuss how you can be a better ally for staff who identify as BIPOC. (3.5 mins)

Day 18 – July 6, 2021

Read: Waking Up White and Finding Myself in the Story of Race - by Debbie Irving (Book)

Listen: NPR Morning Edition – You Cannot Divorce Race From Immigration 
Journalist Rachel Martin talks to Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Jose Antonio Vargas for a response to a story in The Atlantic, written by David Frum, proposing the U.S. cut legal immigration by half. (6 mins)

Watch: The Doll Test 
From an early age, children associate “dark skin” with “bad” and “light skin” with “good.” Where might these cultural messages be coming from? Take time this week to listen to media/news, etc. with this critical lens. How are whites portrayed? People of color?

Day 19 – July 7, 2021

Watch: Documented
Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Jose Antonio Vargas uses his personal story to convey the internal and external impacts of the U.S.’s broken immigration system. Also available on Amazon Prime (1 hour 30 mins)

Listen: Introducing: Nice White Parents 
From Serial and The New York Times, reporter Chana Joffe-Walt looks at the 60-year relationship between white parents and the public school down the block. She includes a reading list and discussion guide and calls in/out white progressives. (1 hour episodes)

Act: Take one of the Implicit Association Tests from Harvard. What did you learn about yourself? How do your biases sometimes show up in your work? How does knowing these things about yourself impact your practice?

Day 20 – July 8, 2021

Read: Black Women Voters Aren’t “Saving America.” We’re Saving Ourselves
Joshunda Sanders contextualizes the role of Black women in the historic 2020 election.

Watch: Unnatural Causes
This seven-part documentary by California Newsreel explores the impact of racism on health and US healthcare. (4 hours total, episodes have variable lengths

Listen: On Point Radio – Oklahoma To Incorporate 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre Into Statewide School Curriculum
Host David Folkenflik interviews Tulsans about the 1921 “Black Wall Street” race massacre and recent efforts to integrate it into the Oklahoma education system (46 mins)

Day 21 – July 9, 2021

Read: Racism Without Racists - by Edwardo Bonilla-Silva (Book)

Watch: What Would You Do?: Bicycle Thief Episode
ABC’s popular show explores the impact of racial and gender bias and prejudice at a family-friendly park. Before this video, would you have anticipated this differential treatment? (5 min)

Reflect: What have you learned during this challenge? How has it impacted you? Are you glad you completed the challenge? Will your interactions with others change?