21 Day Racial Equity and Social Justice Challenge

This 21 Day Racial Equity and Social Justice Challenge will help you create dedicated time and space to build more effective social justice habits, particularly those dealing with issues of race, power, privilege, and leadership.

Fill out the form below to sign up. The challenge starts June 29, 2020.

Join the challenge

Fill out the form below to receive racial equity and social justice emails every weekday from YWCA St. Paul, starting June 29, 2020. Each email will have information about a different topic, include resources for continued learning and action items so you can join the racial equity and social justice movement.

By submitting this form, you are consenting to receive marketing emails from: YWCA St. Paul, 375 Selby Avenue, Saint Paul, MN, 55102, http://www.ywcastpaul.org. You can revoke your consent to receive emails at any time by using the SafeUnsubscribe® link, found at the bottom of every email. Emails are serviced by Constant Contact

About the 21 day challenge

For 21 days, you will be presented with challenges such as reading an article, listening to a podcast, reflecting on personal experience and more. Participation in an activity like this helps us to discover how racial injustice and social injustice impact our community, to connect with one another, and to identify ways to dismantle racism and other forms of discrimination. This is an exciting opportunity to dive deep into racial equity and social justice. We hope you will join us on this journey and we can’t wait to get started!

Week 1 - Voting

Being ‘anti-racist’ doesn’t require that you always know the right thing to say or do in any given situation, it simply asks that you take action and work against racism wherever you find it including, and perhaps most especially, in yourself.

As you start Day One of our 21-Day Racial Equity and Social Justice Challenge, we hope you will find the content in series is a good investment of your time. Each day you’ll have the chance to learn from a wide range of sources, challenging you to think and act differently.

For Day One of the Challenge, we invite you to ground yourself in the history of African American Inequality in the United States with the attached white paper from the Harvard Business School, May 2019. This overview takes readers on a journey that begins in the 1500s, and brings you forward to modern day America where racial inequalities continue to contribute to disparities in education, income, and wealth potential for African Americans and communities of color.

As we start this journey with you, we want to thank our colleagues at YWCA Cleveland for sharing this exercise with us and for inspiring us to run this 21 day challenge right here in the Twin Cities. Thanks for taking the challenge!

Click here to read the rest of the email.

The fight for women’s suffrage was not as straightforward as you might think. Today we will examine the intersections of race and gender and how this played out during the fight for the 19th Amendment. Black women were marginalized in the movement and their contributions sidelined by history. Today, we will look back at these pioneering leaders and how they laid the groundwork for universal suffrage and the civil rights movement.

Click here to read the full email.

Today, we are looking at the history of voter suppression and how people of color were systemically kept from the ballot box, as well as the challenges they had to overcome in order to exercise their right to vote. Today’s activities will provide much-needed context for tomorrow’s challenge, which will show how voter suppression has changed over time and how it is disenfranchising marginalized communities today.

Click here to read the full email.

Yesterday you learned about voter suppression and its impact on American history and people of color. Today, we are going to learn how voter suppression continues to impact our democracy and disenfranchise marginalized groups. With 2020 being a significant election year, it is important that we recognize the barriers to voting that many people still face and work to eliminate those barriers, so that our representatives and laws reflect our increasingly diverse country.

Click here to read the full email.

Every 10 years the federal government undertakes the important task of counting every person living in the United States. Today, you are going to learn about the Census’ history, why people of color are routinely undercounted, and how this unsung program impacts the lives of every American without most of us even realizing it.

Click here to read the full email.

Week 2 - Education

Welcome to week two of the 21 Day Racial Equity & Social Justice Challenge 2020. This week we will discuss the history and impact of inequity within our education systems. Over 65 years ago, the Supreme Court’s ruling in the landmark case of Brown vs. Board of Education case declared racial segregation unconstitutional, yet today we see our schools just as segregated, if not more than in 1954. The result of this continued segregation has perpetuated a lasting negative effect on children and communities of color. Today we will explore that history and it’s on-going impact on our education systems.

Click here to read the rest of the email.

If you’ve ever changed schools in the middle of the year, you may be able to recall minor differences in curriculum between districts. However, imagine moving from a predominately white high school in Texas, to a more diverse school in California, you may not think much about the vast ways in which the exact same material can vary depending on a pupil’s school, school district and instructional materials. Today we will examine how textbooks, authors and state legislation, collectively “what we teach,” impacts society’s world view and understanding of history. 

Click here to read the full email.

As individuals interested in learning more about racial equity, you’ve likely heard of the term “school-to-prison pipeline,” (if you haven’t check out this infographic made by the ACLU). Most notably this term is tied to the systems that funnel African American boys out of school and into prison at alarming rates. Today we will learn more about how school disciplinary policies disproportionately affect Black students including Black girls. Stereotypes and misperceptions, which view Black girls as older, more mature and more aggressive have led to a lesser-discussed trend, the adultification of Black girls.

Click here to read the full email.

Yesterday we challenged ourselves to look deeper into the ways in which school disciplinary policies disproportionately affect children of color and Black girls. Today, let’s take a look at the early impact teachers have on student’s educational outcomes and their likelihood to attend college. Unconscious biases in white teachers, who favor a “colorblind” approach may cause unintentional harm to their students, while the early acknowledgment of differences can prepare students for a diverse world. Positive outcomes sparked by same-race role models can potentially shrink the education achievement gap and usher more Black & brown students into colleges and universities. 

Click here to read the full email.

To wrap up week 2 and our discussion around issues of racism and inequity within our educational systems, let’s challenge ourselves to consider some of the barriers that minorities face seeking higher education:
  • The widely used college admission test, the SAT, was originally designed by a proponent of the intellectual inferiority of people of color, and is still under attack for bias against poor, black and Hispanic students;
  • the adversity poor brown and black students experience while on campus; and
  • the higher levels of student loan debt shouldered by students of color; and the challenges they face in repaying their loans.
These are all a part of a flawed higher education system.

Week 3 - Criminal Justice Reform

Week 4 - Public Health


This challenge was originally developed by Dr. Eddie Moore, Jr. and Debby Irving and has been adapted by many organizations across the country. The challenge is designed to create dedicated time and space to build more effective social justice habits, particularly those dealing with issues of race, power, privilege, and leadership.

We want to thank Food Solutions New England for inspiring this challenge. They were the first to adapt an exercise from Dr. Eddie Moore and Debby Irving’s book into the interactive 21-Day Racial Equity Challenge, which they launched in 2014. We also thank YWCA Cleveland for their work to adapt this challenge for YWCA’s across the country and for sharing their resources generously.

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