Welcome to the 21-Week Challenge!
United Way of Racine County fights for the health, education and financial stability of every person in our community. That work calls us to confront the challenges and disparities in our community and state. In each pillar of our work – Health, Education and Financial Stability, which we recognize as the building blocks for a good quality of life and strong community – Wisconsinites face disparities along racial and ethnic lines.
The stark reality of racial disparities, racism and inequity throughout Wisconsin calls us to recognize, understand and act against racism and racial inequity. Over the next 21 weeks, we will explore difficult topics, such as privilege, internalized racism and structural racism, to open dialogue on how we can be champions of equity in our personal and professional lives and work toward anti-racism.
We know that when we Live United, we must Live United for everyone. Thank you for joining us in this work by taking the 21-Week Equity Challenge!
To begin, we want to ensure that all participants have a shared understanding of the language and concepts that will be used throughout this challenge. To do so, we will be dedicating the first few weeks of this challenge to developing that baseline understanding and shared vocabulary.

We encourage you to download the 21-Week Equity Challenge tracking tool. If you’re taking the challenge as part of a group, download a free discussion guide to help facilitate conversations.
Week 1: Understanding Race and Racial Identity
Questions for thought:

  • What is race to you? 
  • Is race science based or a social construct? 
  • How does your race impact you on a day to day basis? 
  • Are there any unique events that have occurred exclusively because of your race?
After thinking on the questions above, we challenge you to use the resources below to learn more about race, racial identity and the importance of understanding and talking about race. This week’s challenge is meant to start us all on the journey to understanding race and the role that it can play in our own lives and those of our peers and coworkers.

Here’s the shared definition of race on which we start this journey:

Race: A socially constructed way of grouping people based on skin color and other apparent physical differences, which has no genetic or scientific basis. The ideology of race has become embedded in our identities, institutions and culture and is used as a basis for discrimination and domination.
Week 1 Challenge
Engage with the questions above and do one or more of the following:

Race and Racial Identity are Social Constructs (3-minute read)
Read this article on how race is not a proven concept, but instead a social construct.

Racial Identity Development - Key to Building Relationships of Understanding (2-minute read)
Read this article to get a better understanding of how to develop effective relationships.

Racial Equity (2-minute read)
Read a definition of racial equity and find a list of resources about the topic.

How I Became Comfortable Talking about Race (5-minute read)
Ali Haigh, President and CEO of United Way of Racine County, shares her journey of becoming comfortable with conversations about race – and why it is so important for individuals and communities to participate in this conversation.

Re-framing Racial Identity (2:47) 
Watch this video to see an alternative way of looking at racial identity based on varying cultures.

A Conversation on Race (videos range from 5-7 minutes) 
Available here is a video series depicting experiences surrounding race for people of multiple backgrounds. We would recommend integrating these videos throughout the challenge to expose yourself to a variety of perspectives surrounding racial identities.

Black Oxygen: Gabe Doyle (1:13:42)
Listen to United Way of Dane County Community Impact Health Director Gabe Doyle on a recent episode of Black Oxygen, a Wisconsin-based podcast lifting up Black voices. This episode discusses vicarious trauma, family, what it means to have a sense of belonging as a bi-racial Black man when you have two white parents, and the systemic changes that are needed for Black people to thrive throughout Wisconsin.
Madison365.com/black-oxygen-gabe-doyle/ or subscribe to Black Oxygen through your favorite podcast app.
Local Resources
A weekly book discussion group reading books on race and racism.

A yearlong, faith-based series of interactive and multidimensional public events. The series goal is to increase our understanding of how we think and feel about racism, resulting in actions that can help to transform us as individuals and the systems of racism in our country. 

The YWCA of SE Wisconsin offers a variety of trainings about different facets of equity, such as structural racism, cultural differences, social transformation and more.
Learn more about the 21-Week Equity Challenge, review previous emails and resources, and share additional resources by visiting UnitedWayRacine.org/Equity.