UC ANR 21-day racial equity challenge
Welcome to ANR’s 21-Day Anti-Racism Challenge!
September 14- October 5, 2020 ucanr.edu/21days
ANR employees, along with other UC locations and thousands of other people across the US and beyond, are committing to deepening understanding of, and willingness to confront, racism for twenty-one consecutive days.
Diversity scholar Dr. Eddie Moore, Jr. created the 21-Day Challenge to encourage a deeper understanding of race, privilege, supremacy, power, and oppression. Why 21 days? Some say it takes 21 days to create a habit. The intention of this initiative is to support ANR employees in developing “effective social justice habits” to effect meaningful change.
People at Food Solutions New England Sustainability Institute FSNE were inspired by his work and the work of Debby Irving and Dr. Marguerite Pennick-Parks to adapt the 21-Day Habit-Building Challenge to their food system network. FSNE has been organizing and hosting the Challenge every year since 2015.
ANR has adapted FSNE’s February 2020 21-Day Equity Challenge titled “Beyond Words: to Action and Resiliency” to make it easy for employees to independently dive into their own examination of the program or to create a cohort of ANR employees with whom to share the experience.
Through a look at the food system challenge developed by FSNE, we will distinguish that racism is expressed through institutions, cultures, and behaviors instead of flawed personal character defects. Uncovering inequities and injustices will assist each of us in broadening our understanding and compassion and grow our engagement towards anti-racism and towards the experiences of Black Americans.
In examining the Black experience, we will consider our own personal layers of privilege and those of all marginalized people, keeping in mind marginalized colleagues, clientele, community members, or maybe even family members. Marginalized people include and are not limited to age, class, ability, immigration status, race, sexuality, spirituality, gender, gender expression, ethnicity, culture, identity, and generation.
Most importantly the challenge will help us discover the many ways we can individually and collectively promote a more just and equitable food system for all. It will also prompt us on ways we can work as individuals, with others at ANR, with marginalized clientele, within our communities and families to dismantle these systems everywhere.
The 21-Day Challenge takes place September 14, 2020 through October 5, 2020.
You and a group of 6-8 ANR colleagues with whom you’d like to explore and learn with.
- Reach out to a group of ANR colleagues and form a cohort of 6-8 participants.
- Create a set of Group Agreements (example) that foster a secure space for discussion.
- Refer to the assignments listed below and consider how often you will meet (ex., once/week) via phone or Zoom to discuss what you learned, or whether you will share thoughts via some type of chat system such as Slack or Microsoft Teams.
You do not need to complete every single reading and every single assignment to reap benefits. Do what you can.
As mentioned above, the activities of ANR’s Challenge are based on FSNE’s February 2020 21-Day Equity Challenge titled “Beyond Words: to Action and Resiliency. We are entering this examination of inequities in the food system to:
Prework - Getting prepared
The post at this link provides suggested “pre-work” to prepare you before you start your journey. Think of it as stretching before a jog or a softball match. Note – you will not receive daily email prompts as suggested in the post. You and your cohort will work through the listed activities independently.
2020 Racial Equity Challenge Launch Webinar (57:45)
Feel free to view the recorded webinar that took place at the start of the March 2020 21-Day Racial Equity Habit Building Challenge.
Day 1 - Monday September 14 Racial Identity Formation
Understanding the process of racial identity development is important for self-awareness, relationship-building, and work for equity. We are, all of us, wonderful mashups of identities, and experiences. Refer to the post at this link to reflect specifically on where you are in the different stages of racial identity development.
Day 2 - Tuesday September 15 Racial Socialization
Socialization is a process we all undergo – it is how we develop values, habits and attitudes and learn to function in the world. Understanding the process of socialization can help us understand how we came to where we are in our views of race and racism in the food (and other related) systems and what we are willing and “able” to do to work for justice.
Day 3 - Wednesday September 16 Indigenous Food Ways
In her book Sacred Instructions: Indigenous Wisdom for Living Spirit-Based Change, Penobscot lawyer, activist and teacher, Sherri Mitchell (Weh’na Ha’mu Kwasset) writes “One of the most important things we can do for ourselves, our children and the future of the planet is to decolonize our minds and ways of life.”
Day 4 - Thursday September 17 Food and Farm Workers
The very foundation of our food system in the United States is grounded in slavery. This started with the system of plantation slavery in the Southeast, moved into indentured servitude and share cropping and has continued over time with “agricultural exceptionalism,” which has left farm workers out of labor protections over time.
Day 5 – Friday September 18 Whiteness and Anti Blackness
Gita Gulati-Partee and Maggie Potapchuk, in an article titled “Paying Attention to White Culture and Privilege: A Missing Link to Advancing Racial Equity,” write “Processes aimed at racial equity change can overlook the privileged side of inequity.” Work for racial justice in our food and other systems must include naming and de-centering whiteness, white privilege, and white superiority/supremacy, which racism is designed to protect and uphold.
Day 6 - Saturday September 19 Catch-up and Reflections
While reflecting on the first week’s prompts, we invite you to take some time to get quiet and reflect. Is there anything that you see differently based on your participation so far? What images come to mind? How does this impact how you think about your life, work, volunteerism, studies in food systems or your relationship to food? Is there anything you are inspired to do differently?
Day 7 - Sunday September 20 Week One Catch-up and Reflections
Part of grounding in the reality of racism and other forms of oppression is not simply about thinking, but also honoring our emotional and embodied reactions. There is important information in our feelings and bodies that dominant professional culture can often marginalize. As you reflect on this week’s prompts and resources, what emotions come up? What do you sense in your body? What does that tell you? What can you learn from that?
Day 8 – Monday September 21 Internalized Racism
Of the four levels of racism (internalized, interpersonal, institutional, and systemic) internalized can be the hardest to see and is often the hardest to talk about. And yet for healing to happen, what is otherwise unseen must be named. Internalized racism can manifest as internalized racial inferiority on the part of Black, Indigenous and People of Color and as internalized racial superiority for White people.
Day 9 – Tuesday September 22 Interpersonal Racism
Though some would believe otherwise, interpersonal racism is very real. We are seeing more visible evidence of this in the time of COVID19, including escalating attacks on Asian and Asian-American communities. Everyone, and especially White people, have a role in calling out racism and bigotry, and this can be a hard thing for some people to do. Even if it is not difficult to do, it can be difficult to do in a way that is ultimately productive, inviting someone who has said or done something that perpetuates racism to change or to consider changing.
Day 10 – Wednesday September 23 Institutional Racism
Institutional racism shows up in both formalized and informal ways, from Human Resources policies that privilege white dominant norms of “professionalism” to cultures that instill a sense of belonging to those who feel more comfortable in norms of whiteness (go back to the prompt from Day 5 to dig back into this).
Day 11 – Thursday September 24 Structural Racism and New Narratives
Poet and novelist Ben Okri wrote, “Beware of the stories you read or tell; subtly, at night, beneath the waters of consciousness, they are altering your world.” Systems scientist Sally J. Goerner has added, “The stories we tell ourselves about how the world works form our greatest survival tool.” Stories hold tremendous power in our world, work, and lives. Writer Chimamanda Adichie notes: “Stories have been used to dispossess and to malign. But stories can also be used to empower, and to humanize. Stories can break the dignity of a people. But stories can also repair that broken dignity.”
Day 12 - Friday September 25 Structural Racism & the Racial Wealth Gap
As Inequality.org puts it, “Systemic and structural racism has contributed to the persistence of race-based gaps that manifest in many different economic indicators. The starkest divides are in measures of household wealth, reflecting centuries of white privilege that have made it particularly difficult for people of color to achieve economic security.” This gap means that many Black and Indigenous people and communities and People and Communities of Color are more at risk financially than White people and communities at times of disruption. And with respect to the food system, it means having less access to the means to purchase land, start a business, etc.
Day 13 – Saturday September 26 Catching Up and Reflections
Take some time to catch up on this past week’s prompts. Reflect on the different approaches we have explored so far for addressing the different levels of racism (internalized, interpersonal, institutional, structural) and white superiority/supremacy.
Day 14 – Sunday September 27 Reflection
As with last weekend, we invite you to find some quiet time (if possible and desirable) to get centered and to consider the past two weeks of your participation in the Challenge. Check in with yourself. What do you sense/feel? How are you physically? Intellectually? Emotionally? Spiritually? What are these sensations telling you?
Day 15 – Monday September 28 Reparations
The National Black Food and Justice Alliance, along with growing numbers of regional and local groups, including white “accomplices,” are calling for reparations of land and resources to Black and Indigenous people to account for decades of extracted wealth.
Day 16 – Tuesday September 29 Equitable & Liberation Forms of Food System Governance
Government and governance have both been and continue to be forces for perpetuating and exacerbating racial inequities. By governance, we mean “the processes of interaction and decision-making among actors involved in collective problem-solving that lead to the creation, reinforcement, or reproduction of social norms and institutions.” Governance happens through government, and also through organizations, communities, markets and networks.
Day 17 – Wednesday September 30 Sovereignty & Self Determination
Someone at a Food Solutions New England Network Team meeting once said, “Equity within fundamentally dehumanizing systems is not what the goal is.” Rather, equity is tied to “liberation” (from racism, othering, white supremacy, patriarchy, extractive forms of governance and economics) when it lifts up food sovereignty and self-determination.
Day 18 – Thursday October 1 Raising the Next Generations
Each generation is hopefully building on the work of those that came before. We certainly see that up and coming generations seem to be more aware of what is wrong in our food and related systems and are determined to create something better. And this is ideally about multi-generational work … maybe four generations to carry the work forward.
Day 19 – Friday October 2 New Patterns, New Vision
At FSNE, we believe that vision and imagination are powerful “leverage points” in systems for finding a path forward beyond oppressive structures and extractive mindsets. And we know we are in good company! In her book Emergent Strategy, adrienne maree brown writes that we are engaged in an “imagination battle”, that the current conditions are the result of someone’s imagination, a de-humanizing and domination-oriented view. There are so many other alternatives, if we would be bold, broaden our view, and band together with one another to create new living and life-affirming stories.
Day 20 – Saturday October 4 Week Three Reflections
What are your main takeaways from the Challenge? Where are you now compared to before you started? How do you feel? What new knowledge or insights do you have? What hopes?
Day 21 – Sunday October 5 Closing Reflections
Today’s prompt builds on yesterday’s reflection about how the Challenge has guided you to think and act differently, perhaps more boldly, on this journey of racial equity and justice.
How will you put any of your new commitments into action, starting as soon as Monday October 6th? What kinds of support do you need to do so? Do you have those supports or can you organize them into being, perhaps with help from others? Please share your comments here. You have an option to share anonymously in this survey. We really want to hear your responses!