By Tyronda James
With protests all around the world and justice being sought for Goerge Floyd, Breona Taylor, Rochester’s Daniel Prude and so many more, the 21-Day Challenge initiative hopes to be an opportunity to improve racial equity.
A challenge to “further the understanding of power, privilege, supremacy, and oppression” of participants and aims to address racism in Rochester.
As the Rochester community continues to demonstrate against racial and social injustices and the aftermath of the police-involved homicides, the United Way of Greater Rochester, the backbone and logistical support behind the challenge and local leaders kicked off the 21-Day Racial Equity Challenge that began October 23.
The challenge offers 21 days of daily self-directed learning on topics including Understanding Bias, Levels of Racism, Housing Inequities, Building a Race Equity Culture and many more.
Participants of the challenge will daily emails with links to suggested articles, videos, podcasts, reflections and more.
“The 21-Day Challenge is just one step in a much longer journey to unifying our community in this important work,” said Jaime Saunders, President and CEO of United Way of Greater Rochester.
Saunders said there was an overwhelming response from the community demonstrating the eagerness to take on this challenge.
“We were honored to be asked to join United Ways across the country to host and coordinate this Racial Equity Challenge locally, and to partner with so many local leaders in the effort,” said Saunders.
More than 60,000 community members representing over 200 local organizations are participating in the free challenge. Not only locally, but the challenge has also been accepted by thousands of organizations across the country. Local leaders are encouraging more community members and area organizations to sign up for the challenge.
The challenge is a powerful opportunity to develop a deeper understanding of how inequity and racism affect our lives and our community, a commitment of 10 to 20 minutes daily.
There will be resources offered during the challenge. Participants will have opportunities to learn how to deal with the racial stressors that may be disturbing or uncomfortable for groups of people engaging in conversation about racial equity.
“The 21-Day Racial Equity Challenge is a valuable tool to help us all examine our own biases, educate ourselves, build better habits, and adopt inclusive practices and equitable policies. We encourage everyone and every business to take part,” said Greater Rochester Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Bob Duffy.
Duffy has publicly stated his support for race, equity and leadership and has called for government, community and business leaders to “look inside our own organizations to create system changes and a greater sense of equality and opportunity for everyone,” he said.
By participating in the challenge, community members will show their commitment to deepening an understanding of and willingness to confront racism, bias and other social inequities.
The challenge which has been done across the country, its content has been localized to ensure it relates to the Rochester community. More than 50 community partners including leaders in diversity, equity and inclusion; community leaders; and human service organizations selected the content that will be used in our regional Challenge.
Todd Butler, President & CEO of Causewave Community Partners said his organization participated in a 21-Day challenge in 2018.
He said it was uncomfortable for many, however, they learned the importance of consistency in order to see the growth. “We still have much to learn but I think it is safe to say our team is stronger as a result of the experience, Butler said.
“We’re looking forward to participating again, as part of our ongoing journey towards being an anti-racist organization.”
Community members can participate as individuals or as a part of a workplace, place of worship, professional association, or more and participation is completely free.
The challenge is completely free and open to all community members. To sign up for the 21-Day Racial Equity Challenge go to www.ROCequitychallenge.org.