United Way of Washtenaw County ends 2021 Equity Challenge with more than 2,000 participants

Photo: United Way of Washtenaw County

ANN ARBOR, Mich. – Talking to children about race was the most powerful day of a 21-Day Equity Challenge, hosted by United Way of Washtenaw County, according to participants.

Over 2,000 community members, 91 community partners and six sponsors took part in a challenge aimed at increasing collective awareness on the impacts of bias, prejudice, privilege, and oppression experienced by those in Washtenaw County.

“It is so important for United Way to continue to center the community around equity to ensure it is a movement and not a moment,” said UWWC president and CEO Pam Smith in a release. “This is a lifelong learning journey, and every time you engage you are in a new place to accept, discover and create change in how you think, feel and act.”

This year, participants reported being affected by the Equity Challenge in several ways.

  • 86% of survey takers said they learned more about themselves and their community
  • 53% said they learned about making changes in the community and how to become involved with advocacy
  • Participants said the most powerful day of the 21-Day Equity Challenge was Day 13, Talking to Children about Race.

Originally developed by Dr. Eddie Moore, Jr., Dr. Marguerite Penick-Parks, and Debby Irving, the 21 Day Equity Challenge was started in Michigan by United Way of Washtenaw County. It spread to throughout the United Way Network and has reached more than 100,000 people.

Participants spend 21 days examining the history and impacts of racism and how it shapes the lives of those in Washtenaw County through email prompts, readings, videos and podcasts. Content from the challenge can be found on the 21 Day Challenge Catalog.

2021 Equity Challenge participants represented 124 different zip codes and five states during the challenge from June 19 and July 9, the organization said in a release.

About the Author:

Sarah has worked for WDIV since June 2018. She covers community events, good eats and small businesses in Ann Arbor and has a Master's degree in Applied Linguistics from Grand Valley State University.