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Racial Equity Challenge

This guide provides resources for individuals, teams, departments and units to engage in developing racial literacy, learning more about racial equity issues, and reflection towards building a more diverse, equitable, inclusive and anti-racist community.

Week 1 Overview - How We Got Here

To start off with this challenge we want to take time to equip you with foundational knowledge about the history of race, racism and systemic oppression. If you grew up in the United States, you may have touched on some of these topics in your K-12 social studies and history education. This week we hope to take a deeper dive into these events and recognize their ongoing impact on communities of color. Though these lessons may be challenging they are essential to understanding the foundations and frameworks our cultural conceptions of caste and class are built on.

When undertaking a home renovation, you cannot simply put up fresh paint and new cabinets without first shoring up the foundations and checking the safety of the load-bearing beams that frame the home. Likewise, when purchasing a home, getting a thorough inspection is vital before occupying the house. To jump straight to superficial renovation efforts runs the risk living in a beautiful but fundamentally damaged and unsafe home. We must understand where we have been to comprehend where we are now before we can turn towards where we hope to go.

Each day features a selection of recommended activities and probing questions to Read, Watch, Listen and Engage with. You don't have to do every one, but we encourage you to select at least 2. We also encourage you to take time to journal your reflections each day in response to the questions prompts or recommended activities you choose. If you wish to learn about a particular topic in more depth, supplemental resources are provided.

Day 1: Talking About Race

Read
Watch
Listen
Engage
  • Explore the Racial Equity Tools Glossary. What term(s) were new to you? Were there any concepts or terms you previously misunderstood?

  • Can you remember a time you had a difficult conversation about race or racial issues? What parts of the conversation were challenging? What did you learn from that conversation? 

Supplemental Resources

Day 2: 1619 and the Estate of Slavery

Read
Watch
Listen
Engage
  • Explore the virtual museum exhibit "Slavery and Freedom" from the National Museum of African American History and Culture

  • In what ways have you benefited, directly or indirectly, from slavery and its legacy?

  • Reflect on the ways you were taught about slavery in your K-12 education. What were your key takeaways at the time? What do you wish you had known then that you know now?

Supplemental Resources

Day 3: Racial Segregation and the Legacy of Jim Crow

Read
Watch
Listen
Engage
Supplemental Resources

Day 4: Racism and the Foundations of Modern Medicine

Read
Watch
Listen
Engage
Supplemental Resources

Day 5: The Heritage of Whiteness in Academia

Read
Watch
Listen
Engage
  • Are you aware of any honorific named buildings, awards or programs at your alma mater with racist ties? How can you advocate for change as an alum? 

  • Explore the digital archive of Horace Mann Bond Papers or the W.E.B. DuBois Papers at UMass Amherst

Day 6: A Background on Critical Race Theory

Read
Watch
Listen
Engage
  • Have you previously heard of "CRT" or "Critical Race Theory"? What were your first impressions of what the term meant? How have you set about learning more about it?

  • Explore the Purdue OWL guide to Critical Race Theory

Supplemental Resources

Day 7: What Racism Costs Everyone

Read
Watch
Listen
Engage
  • Explore this website that discusses the ways segregation has cost the city of Chicago

  • How has racism has impacted your community, directly or indirectly? What policies and laws in your community seem to disproportionately impact racial minorities or other minoritized people? How can you be involved in advocating for policy change?

Supplemental Resources