Tumwater’s 21-Day Racial Equity Challenge open to all

Jay Smooth discusses race and how to talk about it
Courtesy of TEDx Hampshire College
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Tumwater’s city government and school district have teamed up to deliver the 21-Day Racial Equity Challenge, a series of brief videos, readings, audio recordings and discussion guides designed to encourage residents to develop better social justice habits.

The program is designed to take 15-20 minutes a day and can be enjoyed alone or in a family or larger group. It’s delivered from this website.

According to the city’s website, the initiative was grounded on the belief that “fighting racism isn’t a discrete event, it’s an ongoing process.” While there are many versions of the 21-day challenge, this particular activity was developed by racial justice educators Dr. Eddie Moor, Jr. and Debby Irving and had been adopted by several schools across the country.

Moor and Irving believed that it takes three weeks for a person to develop a habit. In this challenge, participants will learn how to become more aware of the existence of power and privilege and how to break a pattern of white silence. The program starts by presenting a TED-X speech by cultural commentator Jay Smooth (12 minutes) who shared that developing better social justice habits is something similar to practicing daily dental hygiene. See video above.

Each day, the program offers an opportunity to reflect on different social issues relating to power, privilege, and race. Some of the topics include understanding the levels of racism, defining what constitutes interpersonal, institutional, structural, and internalized racism, and understanding the value of culture.

The activities are varied and include podcasts and reading materials that participants can read and listen to. The materials come from various sources: newspaper and magazine articles, online media and personal comments from a wide variety of people. Example: An article previously published in Huffpost titled, “Explaining White Privilege To A Broke White Person.”

The program also includes an optional downloadable Challenge Reflection Log where participants can share their thoughts and reflections.

Tumwater’s introductory materials read, “Whether you’re a new ally in the racial equity movement or a seasoned veteran, we invite you to join us for this exercise in self-reflection, learning and connection. Don’t feel pressured to complete every listed activity each day.”

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