21 Day Challenge - YWCA - Greenwich
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21 Day Challenge

Week 1: Understanding Race & Racism

Race and racism are two words used with great frequency that can mean very different things to different people. To dismantle racism, we need to understand its origins and its various dimensions. We know race and racism are most often discussed in this country as a Black/White paradigm, but racism affects everyone, and it affects Indigenous, Latinx, Asian Americans, and other People of Color in unique and profound ways. We encourage you to use the Pause & Process PDF to support reflection about today’s challenge.

1Day 1 Challenge

  • Watch: The Origin of Race in the USA (Origin of Everything, PBS)
  • Read: Definition of Race (Center for Racial Justice in Education)
  • Read: An excerpt from “Latino/As, Asian Americans, and the Black-White Binary” (Linda Martín Alcoff, The Journal of Ethics) - "The discourse of social justice in regard to issues involving race has been dominated in the U.S. by what many theorists name the "black/white paradigm," which operates to govern racial classifications and racial politics in the U.S., most clearly in the formulation of civil rights law but also in more informal arenas of discussion. Juan Perea defines this paradigm as 'the conception that race in America consists, either exclusively or primarily, of only two constituent racial groups, the Black and White ... In addition, the paradigm dictates that all other racial identities and groups in the United States are best understood through the Black/White binary paradigm’."

2Day 2 Challenge

3Day 3 Challenge

We have included information about Indigenous People in this week’s content because we recognize the ways colonialism, western expansion, and ongoing attempts to erase Indigenous People are intertwined with white dominant ideologies in the United States.

5Day 5 Challenge


Week 2: Manifestations of Racism

This week, we will deepen our understanding of racism as a system with four dimensions—institutional, structural, interpersonal, and internalized. We challenge and encourage you to think about how these dimensions of racism have and are showing up in your personal, educational, professional, and community life. The challenges will also focus on how racism impacts different racial and ethnic groups. Remember, racism is a system that was created which means it can be undone to make room for a more just and equitable society.

We encourage you to use the Pause & Process PDF to support reflection about today’s challenge.

1Day 6 Challenge

2Day 7 Challenge

3Day 8 Challenge

4Day 9 Challenge

WARNING: The two Vox videos include graphic images and language about violence against Black Americans. We know depictions of violence perpetrated against Black bodies and People of Color have become all too common, and we know racial violence affects Black Americans’ mental health. We have included readings, in addition to video, about the massacres in North Carolina and Oklahoma. We encourage you, particularly People of Color, to take care of yourself and opt-out of any content you find troubling.


Week 3: Zoning & Housing

This week, we will look at the role of racism in zoning and housing decisions past and present. Decisions about the spatial and physical characteristics of cities across the country have influenced and determined what we build, where we build, the quality of the built environment, and who has access to certain places. Communities throughout the country are struggling with the “why” and “how” of designing and building more inclusive communities, and zoning and housing affordability have taken center stage. Woven into our struggle is a legacy of racism with present-day consequences that we must acknowledge and repair to have just communities by design.

We encourage you to use the Pause & Process PDF to support reflection about today’s challenge.

1Day 11 Challenge

2Day 12 Challenge

John R. Logan, sociology professor, Brown University specializing in housing discrimination.

3Day 13 Challenge

4Day 14 Challenge

5Day 15 Challenge

WARNING: The Vox video includes acts of violence against people from the AAPI community that are deeply disturbing. As we have shared with previous challenges, take care of yourself and opt-out of any content you find troubling. Should you want/need to skip this content, the most graphic content starts at the 10:54 mark and ends at the 11:18 mark.

Sekou Cooke. We Outchea: Hip-Hop Fabrications and Public Space. 2020


Week 4: Practicing Anti-Racism

For the past three weeks, we have provided content to help us get on the same page about race and the pervasiveness of racism in the United States. While the topic of racism may cause great discomfort for many people, denying or ignoring it will not make it away nor will it move us toward anti-racist systems and structures. During our final full week together, we will explore what it means to practice anti-racism. We challenge you to remember that anti-racism work is both internal and external work. It is a process that leads to outcomes. It is lifelong work, not a seasonal project or feel-good endeavor. We invite you to carry the words of author Ijeoma Oluo with you throughout this week’s challenge: “The beauty of anti-racism is that you don't have to pretend to be free of racism to be an anti-racist. Anti-racism is the commitment to fight racism wherever you find it, including in yourself. And it's the only way forward.”

We encourage you to use the Pause & Process PDF to support reflection about today’s challenge.

1Day 16 Challenge

2Day 17 Challenge
3Day 18 Challenge

4Day 19 Challenge

5Day 20 Challenge


Week 5: Now What?

Racial equity is a process and an outcome. Practicing antiracism means working daily to unlearn ways of thinking and being that are rooted in white supremacy culture. It also requires us to foster inclusive ways of thinking as we work to co-create a future where racial identity does not determine our quality of life, access to opportunities, and/or life outcomes. What you have done over the past four weeks is one step in the life-long journey that is undoing racism. What happens next is up to you.

We will not ask you to make commitments that exist without accountability as such an act rings hollow. We invite you to join YWCA Greenwich in our mission to eliminate racism and empower women by attending our community awareness events, participating in our DEI and antiracism workshops called DIVE, and supporting our policy priorities. We will continue to provide opportunities for you to co-create a more just and equitable Greenwich, Connecticut, and society, but the work is bigger than us and is happening in many places. If you are searching for a place to start dismantling racism, look no further than your family, friends, sphere of influence.

The 21-Day Racial Equity and Social Justice Challenge content will soon be available on our website. We encourage you to revisit the content often and consider doing the challenge with others.

1Day 21 Challenge


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