After having been involved in two 21 Day Racial Equity Challenges and recognizing the legacies of racism, the compounding of unfair attitudes, practices and policies, I asked Ediss Gandelman and Sheri Kassirer if such a program would be welcomed through RJI. They immediately agreed, and I recruited Nan Langowitz and Shelley Joseph to bring their educational and legal expertise and great skills to adapting the program for our congregants.
The participation of over 120 members was gratifying. Through daily readings and videos, we not only explored the history and consequences of racism on housing, education, health, the environment, criminal justice, and voting rights, but also reflected on how this affects us. We also looked at who has privilege and how privilege is also compounded from generation to generation. And, we reflected on how this affects us. In addition, through three Zooms which Nan designed and in which over 50 people engaged, we discussed in community what we learned and how we can integrate that within our experiences and lives. Thanks to our other facilitators, Karen Silken and Ilissa and Lon Povich. We are grateful to Emily Kosinski for her involvement and tech skills.
We have received numerous positive responses. A number of people acknowledged, as had I, that they thought they knew much of what was covered, but in fact, had only a modest understanding. We recognize that we need to be allies in this effort to create a more equitable society. An example was noted that in philanthropy we can look at asset framing which means we look at the strengths and not the deficits, so as not to think of kids “at risk” but rather kids who aspire to attend college.
Another congregant asked about sharing this 21 Day Racial Equity Challenge with her colleagues. We welcome that.