Week 1 - Going Inside/Getting Personal: How Racism and Bias Shows Up for Me
Before you get started, if you haven’t done so already, please fill out this pre-event survey to set your intentions and share your goals for the challenge with us. We also encourage you to download your Challenge Reflection Log – a tool to ensure you are taking full advantage of what the challenge has to offer.
Participating with a group? Check out this toolkit for further engagement ideas throughout the challenge.
We want to thank Food Solutions New England for inspiring this challenge. They were the first to adapt an exercise from Dr. Eddie Moore and Debby Irving’s book into the interactive 21-Day Racial Equity Challenge, which they launched in 2014.
OPTION 1: Reference this document to view how people of color develop their racial identity.
OPTION 2: Watch one or more of the short videos and reflections from the New York Times on racial identity in America.
OPTION 1: Read a blog post from David Phillips, Vice President of Plexus, the LGBT Chamber of Commerce, and Founder of Energetic Awakenings. David writes about how growing up as a white, gay man, he thought he understood everything about what it felt like to be discriminated against, until he got engaged to his African-American fiancé.
OPTION 2: Reflect on this powerful and thoughtful poem entitled: “It’s Time to Talk” by local poet, author and publisher, Lisa Evans.
OPTION 3: Go deeper and take Project Implicit’s Hidden Bias tests, created by psychologists at top universities, to uncover some of your own unconscious biases. Remember, having biases doesn’t make you a bad person—it only makes you human.
TIP: Proceed as a guest to access their library of tests and find out your implicit associations about race, gender, sexual orientation, skin tone, and other topics.
OPTION 4: Read one or more of the compelling personal stories featured in the Speak Up Handbook by the Southern Poverty Law Center. We would like to point you to page 19 titled “What Can I do About My Own Bias?“ but feel free to use the table of contents on page 2 to explore other topics that interest you.
Privilege is the unearned social, political, economic, and psychological benefits of membership in a group that has institutional and structural power. How do you relate to these common examples of privilege in the USA?
Having privilege can give you advantages in life, but having privilege is not a guarantee of success.
OPTION 1: Take this eye-opening privilege self-assessment to discover where you are on the spectrum.
OPTION 2: Watch this short, powerful Buzzfeed video featuring a privilege walk. See how privilege shows up differently for this group of co-workers.
OPTION 3: Read this article from Psychology Today about how privilege is often invisible to those who have it.
OPTION 4: Watch this video about how racism isn’t only individual acts of discrimination, it is a deeply embedded system that impacts all of our lives.
Have you heard of the term “White Fragility?” For white people, “White Fragility” refers to their discomfort and avoidance of racially charged stress, which perpetuates racial inequity. Many people of color, multiracial, and Indigenous peoples are familiar with this concept, but may not be familiar with the term.
Dr. Robin DiAngelo describes white fragility as a state of being for white people in which even a minimum amount of racial stress becomes intolerable, triggering a range of defensive moves. These moves can include the outward display of emotions such as anger, fear, and guilt, and behaviors such as argumentation, silence, and leaving the stress-inducing situation. These behaviors shut down conversations, and inhibit actions which, in turn, function to reinstate white racial equilibrium.
OPTION 1: Take a quick quiz from the publisher of “White Fragility: Why It’s So Hard for White People to Talk about Racism,” Robin DiAngelo, PhD, to see if you exhibit “White Fragility” traits.
OPTION 2: Read a short article by Dr. DiAngelo that unpacks how we continue to reproduce racist outcomes and live segregated lives.
TIP: We highly recommend reading Dr. DiAngelo’s entire book. Better yet, read it with your book club and use this free reader’s guide to discuss with your group.
OPTION 3: Review this list of 28 common racist attitudes and behaviors that indicate a detour or wrong turn into white guilt, denial or defensiveness.
On March 5, 2019, the California Attorney General announced that the police officers who shot and killed Stephon Clark (age 22) in March 2018— will not face charges.The two officers fired on Clark, an unarmed African-American man, after a foot chase that ended in his grandmother’s backyard. The officers shot Clark seven times, including three times in the back, the official autopsy found.
Whether you agree or disagree with the decision of the California Attorney General, news like this is traumatizing and re-traumatizing to people of color. It is like a wound that never heals.
Research has linked racism to psychological distress, physical health problems, depression, anxiety, and trauma. The internalization of bias and oppression can cause great distress to minds, bodies, and spirits.
As Dr. Monnica Williams of the University of Connecticut has written: “What we really need is a large-scale shift in our social consciousness to understand the toll this takes on the psyche of victims so that even small acts of racism become unacceptable. We need those who witness racism to speak out and victims to be believed.”
OPTION 1: We invite you to read this short article by Dr. Williams to better understand the effects that racism can have on your mental health.
OPTION 2: Read this list of 8 ways to practice self-care to support you and your loved ones when you are personally affected by racism.
OPTION 3: If you weren’t able to catch them as our keynote speakers of It’s Time to Talk 2018, watch this video about the incredible true story of an innocent man and the police officer who falsely arrested him and their journey of forgiveness, healing, and friendship.
TIP: If you felt compelled by their story, pick up a copy of their book, “Convicted.”
As our first week comes to an end, we hope you have taken the opportunity to look inside yourself and expand your mind through the different challenges offered. As we move into week two, prepare to shift your focus from the personal reflection that we have been exploring to a broader view of racial equity and social justice.
Are you seeing and addressing how racism operates at different levels? Dr. Camara Jones, Senior Fellow at the Morehouse School of Medicine, says that in order to address racism effectively, we have to understand how it operates at multiple levels. Often what people think of first and foremost is interpersonal racism. Only seeing this level means that we fail to see the full picture that keeps the system of racism in place.
OPTION 1: Watch Dr. Jones’ TED talk on the “Allegories on Race and Racism” where she shares four short stories to help us understand privilege and racism.
OPTION 3: Check out this short video from Race Forward about the levels and the importance of looking at systemic, not simply individual, racism.
OPTION 4: View this info-graphic on the different levels of racism and use the reflection questions below to better understand how these levels present themselves in your community.
Week 2 - Racial Disparities in Homelessness and Housing
You may be wondering what homelessness has to do with racial equity, or why we’re spending a week exploring housing during this challenge. The reality is that homelessness is largely caused by our country’s history of racism, and Cuyahoga County is no exception.
We tend to think that homelessness and housing insecurity are caused by poverty, that they are simply due to a person’s inability to pay rent. But consider the data: In Cuyahoga County, African Americans make up about 30% of the general population and about 52% of those experiencing poverty. Yet a staggering 75% of 18 to 24 year olds experiencing homelessness are African American. These stark disparities show that homelessness is not only caused by poverty, but by also by systemic racism.
Option 1: Watch this powerful video of children describing their experiences of homelessness.
Option 3: Listen to this podcast featuring an open dialog between Jeff Olivet and Marc Dones, as they tackle the complexities and paradoxes of race as it relates to homelessness.
Option 4: Check out a graphic on national data, that shows that even when controlling for poverty, African Americans are dramatically more likely than whites to become homeless.
Option 5: Examine this bullet-point breakdown of local data on the demographics of people experiencing homelessness in Cuyahoga County.
We delve deeper into housing, homelessness, and racism for our second day on this topic.
Though much of the research on race, ethnicity, and homelessness to date focuses on African Americans, it is important to remember that systemic racism also impacts Latinx, Native American, biracial, multiracial, and other historically disenfranchised populations. This week, we’ll explore how homelessness disproportionately impacts people of color. We’ll also examine the systems that cause race-based housing discrimination, both historically and today.
OPTION 2: Listen to this interview on why homelessness hits black Americans hardest and the protective factors that make white people less likely to experience homelessness.
OPTION 3: Listen to this podcast to understand the impact of where you live. Some of the most segregated big metro areas in the U.S. are places that did not have Jim Crow laws – Cleveland, Detroit, Milwaukee, St. Louis, Philadelphia, Chicago, Boston. The hosts of this podcast feel this is not accidental.
TIP: At the office? The link above also includes a transcript of the conversation.
OPTION 4: The groundbreaking SPARC report details how people of color are excluded from equal access to housing, community supports, and opportunities for economic mobility. In lieu of reading the entire study, we point you to the executive summary on page 4 for key findings of the report.
Today is all about the systems that create unequal access to housing and enable discrimination.
OPTION 1: Read this article discussing the systemic reasons why Indigenous people disproportionately experience homelessness and the high numbers of hate crimes they face.
OPTION 2: Watch a 6-minute video on one way families of color were excluded from equal access to housing after World War II
OPTION 3: Listen to this podcast on modern housing discrimination and how where you live can dictate the quality of your health, education, and pubic services.
OPTION 4: Read a brief article that follows Gustavo Douaihi and Laura Smith as they navigate housing discimination based on Gustavo’s Hispanic name.
OPTION 5: Read about how federal government policies created racial segregation.
After three days of learning the historical context and continued impact of racism on housing, today we come back to our local challenges.
OPTION 1: Read this powerful poem by young adult leader, Kai Cotton, about her personal experiences of homelessness and how she perceived race played a role.
OPTION 2: Examine this redlined map of Cleveland from 1940. Think about the composition of the community where you live now, and how redlining may have had an impact.
OPTION 3: Read a brief article on the impact of homes in Black neighborhoods being valued $20,000 less than comparable homes in White neighborhoods.
OPTION 4: Check out this interactive historical timeline of segregation in Greater Cleveland to gain historical context.
OPTION 5: Watch this video explaining how class privilege prevents us from examining government support provided to the very wealthy, while the economically disadvantaged are stigmatized.
Congratulations challengers! We know these topics can be uncomfortable, but difficult conversations can lead to real change. To wrap up the topic of racism and homelessness, we’ll spend some time on solutions and action steps.
OPTION 1: Test your knowledge with this eight question quiz on homelessness.
OPTION 2: Listen to this 22-minute podcast for ideas and solutions for addressing racism and homelessness.
OPTION 3: Watch or read the highlights from a recent address to Congress on the challenges of youth homelessness and what we can do about it.
OPTION 4: Take a deep dive into this week’s topic by reading The Color of Law: A Forgotten History of How our Government Segregated America by Richard Rothstein. He argues that laws and policy decisions passed by local, state, and federal governments, not individual prejudices, are primarily responsible for the discriminatory patterns that continue to this day.
Action Items for You
ACTION ITEM 1: Sign up for advocacy alerts through the National Alliance to End Homelessness.
ACTION ITEM 2: Email congress to advocate for an end to youth homelessness through A Way Home America.
ACTION ITEM 3: If you’re interested in a longer term commitment to reducing racial inequities in youth homelessness, join YWCA’s Racial and Ethnic Equity and Inclusion Design Lab. You can contact Christie Sozio at 216-881-6878 or firstname.lastname@example.org to learn more.
ACTION ITEM 4: Sign up to volunteer at YWCA’s Norma Herr Women’s Center or another local homeless shelter in need of extra hands.
ACTION ITEM 5: Support the YWCA’s effort to eliminate youth homelessness by making a gift today.
Positive stress in a child’s life – like a skinned knee or the first day at a new school – is temporary. Growing up in a safe, stable, nurturing environment that includes healthy adult relationships helps children learn from challenging experiences and develop resilience. However, intense or chronic stress can be toxic and derail a child’s healthy development. Unfortunately, racism is now recognized as an Adverse Childhood Experience (ACE) – a toxic source of stress with the potential to disrupt a child’s ability to learn, relate, grow, play, communicate, and problem-solve.
Racism experienced in childhood is especially concerning because it affects how a child perceives themselves and the world around them. Even indirect or implicit racism and discrimination can influence a child’s health when policies and practices lead to ACEs like poverty, neighborhood violence, and parental incarceration that disproportionately affect children of color. It is no surprise that children of color are more likely to experience racism in comparison to their white peers, and that their exposure to racism increases as they grow older.
Pieces of today’s content were provided by:
Center for Child Health and Policy
UH Rainbow Babies & Children’s Hospital
Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine
OPTION 1: View this info-graphic that explains how ACEs, like racism and community violence, without supportive adults, can cause what’s known as toxic stress.
OPTION 2: Pediatrician Nadine Burke Harris explains that the repeated stress of abuse, neglect and parents struggling with mental health or substance abuse issues has real, tangible effects on the development of the brain.
OPTION 3: Read this article that shows how providing stable, responsive, nurturing relationships in the earliest years of life can reduce the impact of significant childhood adversity.
OPTION 4: Read about how a long history of discrimination in housing laws and racial segregation has concentrated the poorest minority families in neighborhoods with the highest lead poisoning rates.
Part of toady’s content was provided by MetroHealth
OPTION 1: Read this blog post by Metrohealth’s Manager of Health Equity Initiatives about how practitioners can provide a safe space for LGBTQ+ patients.
OPTION 2: Read this article about transgender service members and how many of them find fulfillment in a culture that emphasizes judging people by ability, not identity.
OPTION 3: Read this article about the epidemic of violence against transgender people. More than 15% of 2018’s transgender homicides happened in Cleveland.
- Metrohealth’s Pride Clinic is the first clinic in Cleveland dedicated to serving the LGBTQ+ community.
- Learn about Metrohealth’s Transgender Job Fair, a critical event for transgender people, as they face an unemployment rate that’s nearly double that of the wider population.
- The LGBT Community Center Greater Cleveland provides outstanding trainings for healthcare service providers, educators, businesses and other community members who want to become allies, and improve their services and interactions with the larger LGBT community.
Today’s content was provided by University Hospitals.
OPTION 1: Read this New York Times article on how the disparity in maternal death rates has everything to do with the lived experience of being a black woman in America.
OPTION 2: Watch this powerful video from First Year Cleveland on the effects of racism and bias on infant mortality rates.
OPTION 3: Take a deep dive and view this presentation by University Hospitals on disparities in maternal care.
TIP: Univiersity Hospitals has also provided the PowerPoint presentation that accompanies the video.
OPTION 4: Listen to this interview with Anne Glausser, managing producer of health and education for WCPN, Cleveland about the racial disparities in stillbirth rates.
“Invisibility and erasure undermine current efforts of over 570 separate, sovereign, and modern tribal nations – each with our own languages, culture, and ways of life. Native Americans comprise just 1.5% of the population nationally. It is exceedingly difficult to challenge misconceptions and stereotypes when the average person is unlikely to interact with Native American people day-to-day. But 98,700 people who are either exclusively or partly Native American call Ohio home and 28% of this population lives in Greater Cleveland.” – Cynthia Connolly, Lake Erie Native American Council Board Member
Today’s content was provided by the Lake Eerie Native American Counsel (LENAC)
OPTION 1: Read this powerful blog post by Cynthia Connolly about changing the harmful stereotypes and misconceptions about Native Americans to a more empowering and inclusive portrayal of Native people in the 21st century.
OPTION 2: Read the short essay, “Replacing False Narratives with the Truth,” by Suzan Shown Harjo on page 9 of the Reclaiming Native Truth report.
OPTION 3: Read about the prevalence of team names and mascots depicting Native Americans, often stereotypically. Ohio is home to the second largest concentration of stereotypical Native American sports mascots.
OPTION 4: Reflect on how Native American’s are portrayed in the media you provide to your children/students. This article provides helpful advice for keeping Native peoples visible throughout the year.
Refugees are individuals who have fled their country of origin and who meet the United Nations’ criteria of having a “well-founded fear of being persecuted for reasons of race, religion, nationality, membership of a particular social group, or political opinion.” Unfortunately, sometimes members of the refugee community face very real racism and discrimination in their new communities. As part of this challenge, we want to call attention to the issues faced by the refugee community here in Northeast Ohio, and make sure that their voices are part of this conversation.
Since 2008, Northeast Ohio has received more than 2,500 refugees, most from areas of conflict across the world, including Africa, Southeast Asia and the Middle East. Historically, the United States has welcomed refugees into the country recognizing their justifiable fear of persecution in their own country. Refugees legally enter the U.S. seeking freedom, peace and opportunity for themselves and their families. After resettlement, they start their new lives with limited resources knowing that they must transition from their past and the lives they once knew.
Today’s content was provided by The Refugee Response
OPTION 1: Watch these bingeable new mini documentaries from Refugee Services Collaborative of Greater Cleveland which detail refugee stories and contributions to the local workforce.
OPTION 2: View this infographic detailing the economic impact of refugee resettlement in the region, including employment, income and spending.
OPTION 3: Listen to this podcast featuring Patrick Kearns and Mohammad Noormal and learn about their work with the Refugee Response, an organization that helps refugees to resettle through education, mentoring, and agricultural job creation.
OPTION 4: Read this poem from the Traveling Stanzas: Immigrant Voices exhibit, an interactive exhibit at Lakewood Public Library including creative writing tools and activities. Click HERE to explore more content from Traveling Stanzas.
Today’s content was provided by the Fund for Our Economic Future
OPTION 1: View the one page infographic to get a sense of The Two Tomorrows, a report published by the Fund for Our Economic Future with recommends 10 priorities to advance our region and suggests metrics to track inclusive economic growth.
TIP: Click HERE if you are interested in reading the full report.
OPTION 2: Read this article in Crain’s explaining why the Fund for our Economic Future puts people at the center of their Economic Scorecard data: “How we measure progress matters because growth is not reaching everyone,” said Fund vice president Bethia Burke. “And that matters for the long-term vibrancy of our region.”
OPTION 3: Read this introduction to Raj Chetty’s work on race and economic mobility from The Fund, or play around with this interactive “Opportunity Atlas” and see place-based data disaggregated by age, income, gender, and race.
OPTION 4: View this Interactive New York Times article on the research that shows the economic differences between white and black men who are raised in similar households. Click HERE for free PDF version.
The culture of an organization provides insight into the racial dynamics and racial equity/parity within the organization. Today we will focus on how you can create a race equity culture at work. Below are sources from the Commission on Economic Inclusion’s Best Practices Library to assist organizations with building a race equity culture. (The Commission on Economic Inclusion is a program of the Greater Cleveland Partnership and they have contributed items from their library for us this week.)
Today’s content was provided by the Commission on Economic Inclusion and the Greater Cleveland Partnership
OPTION 1: View this info-graphic on the Commission on Economic Inclusion’s page to see graphs that illuminate the racial leadership gap in the nonprofit sector.
OPTION 2: Download the full report entitled Awake to Woke to Work: Building a Race Equity Culture to read one or both of these excerpts:
- Read the explanation of dominant culture in the context of building a race equity culture, found in the box on top of page 10.
- Read the two-page executive summary on pages 2-3.
So you said that you wanted to create an inclusive organization. Now you are realizing all the work that this entails. Nothing that is worth doing is easy. It is important that you don’t give up on your diversity and inclusion efforts. In the quest for economic inclusion and racial equity, there can be many obstacles.
Today’s content was provided by the Commission on Economic inclusion and the Greater Cleveland Partnership’s Best Practice Library
OPTION 1: Inspire yourself with this article from Harvard Business Review about a group of black female executives who have persevered using strategies to overcome intersectional invisibility in the workplace.
OPTION 2: Here is a quick read on five strategies to create a culture of Inclusion.
OPTION 3: View this interactive timeline of the History of Disability Rights to learn about the heroes who fought for inclusion.
OPTION 4: Read Ohio Business Competes’ economic case for LGBT non-discrimination. Recent news proves our community is moving forward, as Ohio Business Competes has doubled its business members in the last year who are supporting statewide LGBT inclusion.
When we make judgments about other people based on our unconscious biases or fail to challenge systemic inequalities, not only are we hurting individuals, we are also damaging our company’s, organization’s, and region’s economy. Everything counts when designing an economy that is equitable. Today we look at transit barriers, incarceration’s collateral sanctions, local employment/income trends, and society’s inclusion/exclusion of people with disability.
Part of today’s content was provided by the Fund for Our Economic Future
OPTION 1: Read this blog post on addressing the mobility paradox and disparities of transit between where people live and where new jobs are being created. Click on the H+T Affordability Index to check out maps of your neighborhood and its affordability.
OPTION 2: Read the executive summary of the Fund for Our Economic Future’s & Policy Matter’s Ohio’s study on collateral sanctions and incarcerations impact on employment or watch this 1 minute annotated video summarizing the conclusions of the report.
OPTION 3: Read this blog post on eliminating racial disparities in employment and closing the racial income gap.
OPTION 4: Read this blog post by Melanie Hogan, current Executive Director of Linking Employment, Abilities and Potential (LEAP), which includes a quick quiz on disability rights at the end. Her blog weaves together first person story-telling from Doris Brennan’s life, LEAP’s Executive Director from 1986-2000, with Melanie’s insights on the state of disability culture 50 years after Doris started her civil rights activism.
It is with great pleasure that I congratulate you on completing the first ever YWCA Greater Cleveland Racial Equity and Social Justice Challenge! Thank you to our community partners, the amazing YWCA staff, and YOU for your continuous engagement.
I am so impressed by the community’s response to the challenge, but even more impressed by this community’s desire to invoke real change. These 21 days were thoughtfully curated to inform you, to challenge you, to make you uncomfortable, and to inspire you. It is my hope that you, and the 2,500 others who committed to the challenge, now feel empowered to use your voice.
We know these discussions can be difficult and can bring up powerful emotions, but your commitment to increasing your awareness is what will help move our community forward. Real change will not happen overnight, but it starts with each of us individually. Thank you for embarking on this journey with us, and I have nothing but hope and excitement for our future – a future of racial equity and social justice for all. Knowledge is power – be powerful!
YWCA Greater Cleveland President & CEO
Wrap Up Survey
Share your parting thoughts with us using this challenge wrap up survey. This will tell us what content you connected with most and what we can do to improve the challenge in the future. We appreciate any feedback you can give us. Participants in the survey will receive a free gift from the YWCA!
- Take one minute to write down a goal you have moving forward from this challenge. Research shows that when you write down your goals, you are more likely to commit to them and achieve them.
- Share what you have learned from the challenge with your local politicians. Please write or call your city councilperson, your congressperson, yourstate senators, and choose one or more of the following:
- Tell them what you are learning about racism and social justice.
- Ask them how it is impacting your community from their point of view.
- Tell them how you see it is impacting your community, based on your reflections from the 21 Day Challenge.
- Ask them how they see their role in eliminating social inequities between historically privileged and disadvantaged groups.
- Ioby Cleveland is offering matching funds for local racial equity campaigns on a first-come, first-serve basis. Peruse projects funded nationally by ioby that address racial equity and/or check out the details about designing and crowdfunding a project to address racism: https://www.ioby.org/neighborhoodconnections