Week 18: July 7, 2021
UNMC 21-week Racial Equity Challenge
Welcome to the 21-week Racial Equity Challenge
Diversity scholar Dr. Eddie Moore, Jr. [eddiemoorejr.com] created the 21-Day Challenge concept to promote a deeper understanding of race, power, privilege, supremacy, and oppression. The UNMC Department of Medicine has modified this challenge to create a 21-week program in collaboration with the Office of Inclusion. You can subscribe to receive weekly emails with suggested articles, podcasts, and webinars that will help you raise awareness, compassion, understanding, and engagement towards racial equity. You can get a lapel pin from the Office of Inclusion that will represent your commitment towards working towards racial equity and understanding the experience of Black, Indigenous, and People of Color who are your colleagues, friends, patients, and community members Track your progress here.
Ferial Pearson, The Secret Kindness Agents. Born in Nairobi, Kenya, Dr. Ferial Pearson is a UNO professor of education that identifies as a queer, Muslim, Indian-African immigrant woman, first-generation college graduate, educator, writer, speaker, and a community activist. Impacted by the shooting at Sandy Hook, Dr. Ferial Pearson created the internationally acclaimed Secret Kindness Agents. The purpose of this program is to instill kindness and empathy in young learners and to educate about diversity.
The Battle over Teaching Critical Race Theory. Critical race theory is centered on the idea that racism is systemic, and not just demonstrated by individuals with prejudice; the theory holds that racial inequality is built into into legal systems and negatively affects people of color in their schools, healthcare, the criminal justice system, etc. At least 165 local and national groups are trying to disrupt or block lessons on critical race theory. NBC reporter Tyler Kingkade states: "Opponents are using critical race theory as really more of a catchall to include anything teaching students about systemic racism, any mention of white privilege, and really the definition that they're using has expanded to include anything related to equity, diversity and inclusion."
Deceit Wrapped in Kindness. In 2017, Dr. Ferial Pearson was asked to speak in Mullen, Nebraska about her program, The Secret Kindness Agents. Unfortunately, she was met with threats, xenophobia, and islamophobia when working to courageously bring DEI educational efforts to their town. She states: "I believe that one of the reasons for this type of hatred and bigotry is the result of absent narratives and the perpetuation of single narratives in the curriculum, and that a multicultural curriculum which includes world religions classes and positive representations of historically underrepresented groups is CRUCIAL in every district, because I feel very much that my safety, the safety of LGBTQIA students, students of color, religious minorities and other students who are different should be a priority."