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SUNY Erie Library Resource Center

Diversity Academy

United Way Western New York 21 Day Race Challenge

Beginning on June 22 2021, the United Way of Western New York began it's 21-Day Race Equity Challenge. This challenge is to help local people develop a deeper understanding of race, equity and our collective role in improving our community. Each day they sent out a series of resources to review and short reflection questions to journal about. If you would like to follow while this challenge is ongoing please feel free to contact Tracy Archie ( to be included in the daily email. If the 21 days has past you can review the resources and reflection questions at any pace you choose.

Day 1

1) Read “What is Racial Equity” from the Center for Social Inclusion. (3 minutes)

2) Watch “The Myth of Race: Debunked in 3 Minutes” from Jenée Desmond Harris at Vox. (3 minutes)

3) Journal about your own racial identity. You might consider:

·       When did you first become aware of your racial identity? 

·       What messages did you learn about race from your school and family?

·       Did they align with what you’ve seen in your life?

·       Think of a time when the way others perceived your racial identity affected how they treated you?


Day 2

  1. Read “Race and Racial Identity Are Social Constructs” by Angela Onwuachi-Willig. (3 minutes)
  2. Watch “We All Have Bias” with john a. Powell. (1 minute)
  3. Take the Project Implicit Bias Test from Harvard University [select Race IAT after agreeing to terms]. (10 minutes)

Day 3

  1.  Watch this "What is Privilege" video. (2 minutes)
  2. Watch “Privilege/Class/Social Inequalities Explained in a $100 Race” (4 minutes)
  3.  Listen to this Stateside episode with Eddie Moore, Jr., executive director of The Privilege Institute, about the how the White Privilege Conference in Grand Rapids created a space for people to have “tough conversations. (8 minutes)

Day 4

Day 5

ACTIVITY 1: Read more about the Four Levels of Racism from Race Forward. (2 minutes)

ACTIVITY 2: Watch “Systemic Racism Explained” from Act.TV. (4 minutes)

ACTIVITY 3: Check out this short video from Race Forward about the levels and the importance of looking at systemic, not simply individual, racism. (4 minutes)

Day 6

ACTIVITY 1: Read “Healing the Hidden Wounds of Racial Trauma” (7 minutes)

ACTIVITY 2: Read “The Link Between Racism and PTSD” (5 minutes)

ACTIVITY 3: Read this list of 8 ways to practice self-care to support you and your loved ones when you are personally affected by racism. (4 minutes)

Day 7

ACTIVITY 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. (3 minutes)

ACTIVITY 2: Read a short article by Dr. DiAngelo that unpacks how we continue to reproduce racist outcomes and live segregated lives. (5 minutes)

ACTIVITY 3: Review this list of 28 common racist attitudes and behaviors that indicate a detour or wrong turn into white guilt, denial or defensiveness. Do you identify with any of these attitudes?  Reflect on which ones, and how you think you came to hold these attitudes.

Day 8

ACTIVITY 1: Increase your understanding of how racism is reinforced by policies and systems by reading this article by Anne Branigin published in The Root, “Black Communities Are on the 'Frontline' of the COVID-19 Pandemic. Here's Why.” (14 minutes)

ACTIVITY 2: Why are cities still so segregated? Watch this video where NPR’s Code Switch looks at the factors contributing to modern-day segregation. (7 minutes)

ACTIVITY 3: Watch this WIVB Channel 4 story “A legacy of racism: How past practices affect segregation in Buffalo today” (3 minutes)

Day 9

ACTIVITY 1: Read “A 'Forgotten History' Of How The U.S. Government Segregated America” from NPR. TIP: We also suggest listening to the 35 minute “Fresh Air” podcast. (7 minutes)

ACTIVITY 2: Connect with the resources provided by Housing Opportunities Made Equal (HOME) and learn about fair housing laws.

ACTIVITY 3: See how your own neighborhood has been affected by redlining by checking out The Mapping Inequality website.


In February 2021 the New York State Department of Financial Services released a report on redlining in the Buffalo metropolitan area. According to the report, Buffalo remains one of the most racially segregated cities in the United States decades after the practice of redlining and other forms of housing discrimination were banned by law.


Day 10

Activity 1: Watch “Explained | Racial Wealth Gap.” (17 minutes)

Activity 2: Explore these data graphs by the Urban Institute about wealth inequality in America. Looking at all of the data together, what story is this telling you? (10 minutes)

Activity 3: Check out Vox Media’s visual explanation of the wealth gap and how cuts to tax rates for the rich have led to drastic inequality in the last 50 years. (10 minutes


Day 13

Activity 1: Read this U.S. News article on how ‘Education Inequality Starts Early’ for children in households with low incomes. (6 minutes)

Activity 2: : Watch this CBS News report on how systemic racism persists in early

childhood education, where black preschool students are disproportionately facing harsh

punishments, like suspension. (2 minutes)

Activity 3: View this info-graphic that explains how Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs), like racism and community violence, without supportive adults, can cause what’s known as toxic stress. (2 minutes)

Day 14

Activity 1: Read the Partnership for the Public Good’s report on Public Education in Buffalo and the Region. (7 minutes)

Activity 2: Watch TED Talk “How America's Public Schools Keep Kids in Poverty.” (13 minutes)

Activity 3: Read New America Weekly article “How to Bring Equity and Inclusion to the Classroom.” (4 minutes)

Day 15

Activity 1: Read “Refugees raise voices to push for racial justice” (7 minutes)

Activity 2: Watch “The racist history of US immigration policy” (3 minutes)

Activity 3: Read “Forgotten twice: the untold story of LGBT refugees” (6 minutes)

Day 16

Activity 1: Watch “Why Respecting Pronouns Is So Important.” (3 minutes) Bonus: Add your personal pronouns to your email signature to show your advocacy for LGBTQI+ individuals.

Activity 2: Watch Ted Talk “Effective Allyship: A Transgender Take on Intersectionality” by Ashlee Marie Preston, whom gives her perspective as a Black transgender woman. (15 minutes)

Activity 3: Explore resources the Pride Center of WNY offers LGBTQI+ People of Color and see what you can do to support their efforts.

Day 17

Activity 1: Read “3 Ways to Get Started Talking About Race at Work.” (4 minutes)

Activity 2: Watch “Inclusion Starts With I” which sheds light on common struggles people face bringing their authentic selves to the workplace. (3 minutes)

Activity 3: Complete this Racial Justice Assessment Tool to determine what steps your workplace has taken toward racial justice. (5 minutes)

Day 18

Activity 1: Read Amélie Lamont’s “Guide to Allyship.” (7 minutes)

Activity 2: Watch “5 Tips For Being An Ally.” (3 minutes)
Activity 3: Read “The Role of ‘Privileged’ Allies in the Struggle for Social Justice.” (10 minutes)

Day 19

Activity 1: Read this “Beginner’s Guide to Asset Framing”, to learn more about why how we communicate impacts our ability to achieve racial equity. (8 minutes)

Activity 2: Read “10 Ways to Start a Conversation About Race” by Race Forward. (3 minutes)

Activity 3: Use these strategies of Being an Active Bystander when faced with the emergence of bias in interpersonal interactions.

Day 20

Reflection Questions:

1. What are my identities and in what ways have my identities impacted my life? Are there identities of mine that have provided me higher social capital or privilege in certain environments, or vice versa?

2. What were some of my assumptions about race and racial inequity before I started this 21-day challenge? In what ways have these assumptions been challenged? In what ways have they been reinforced?

3. Where have I seen evidence of inequities and systemic and structural racism in my community?

4. What two to three shifts, changes or actions, can I take to create a more inclusive and equitable environment in my home, workplace, and community?

5. What do I want to learn more about? What topics related to racism, oppression and/or discrimination do I need more research on?

Today’s Challenge:

Activity: Write down a goal you have moving forward to help in dismantling racism and inequity. Research shows that when you write down your goals, you are more likely to commit to them and achieve them.

Day 21

Support for accessible & equitable mental health resources and divert non-emergency, non-criminal calls from 911 by telling your Congressional representative to support the HELP ACT.

Protect the voting rights of communities of color by learning about and supporting the For the People Act.

Lookup who your federal, state and local elected officials are and continue to contact them to tell them to support anti-racism and anti-poverty policies that will lead to racial equity. Tip: Ask your representatives to meet in-person.

Sign up for an equality-focused volunteer opportunity through VolunteerWNY.

Help to remove the racial wealth gap by supporting Black owned businesses throughout WNY.

Expand on what you’ve learned during this Challenge by signing up for a Racial Equity Impact Analysis Training.

Explore Diversity and Inclusion initiatives for the workforce offered by the Buffalo Niagara Partnership.

We would appreciate your input so we can learn about your experience with the WNY 21 Day Racial Equity Challenge. We ask that you take two to three minutes to complete a brief survey. Your answers will remain anonymous and confidential.