United Way Invites SW Michigan to a 21-Day Equity Challenge

In their never-ending drive to encourage individuals to deepen their understanding of and willingness to confront racism, United Way of Southwest Michigan is launching an interactive digital “Equity Challenge” to the collective community of Michigan’s Great Southwest.

United Way leaders say they are proud to give the community the opportunity to take a self-guided journey to learn about the history and impacts of racism and how it has shaped the lives of people in Southwest Michigan while at the same time inspiring participants with resources and tools to build racial equity in their work and lives.

People from all over Southwest Michigan will participate in the Challenge, from September 8th through the 28th, coordinated by United Way of Southwest Michigan to raise awareness, shift attitudes, and change outcomes.

Anna Murphy, President and CEO of United Way of Southwest Michigan says, “As an organization, we are committed to understanding and undoing racism in our community,” and adds, “By taking the Challenge, made up of small daily email prompts delivered each morning, we can all easily participate in this transformative effort.”

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Murphy continued, “We are not the experts in this space, and we are not owning this work, but we want to come alongside individuals, nonprofits, and businesses in this journey of learning. And we invite individuals, nonprofits, and business to join us and bring along staff, boards, and even customers.”

To join the Challenge, simply visit http://uwsm.org and sign up with your email address.

So, what happens during the Challenge?

For 21 days, participants will receive an email “prompt” with a short reading, video or audio file. Participants are encouraged to take about 10-15 minutes each day considering the material in the prompt. Extra resources are provided in case they want to dig further into the day’s topic.

The daily prompts will explore many different facets of racism and how they intersect with other social and economic issues, as well as provide guidance on building a race equity culture and becoming an ally. The prompts also offer tools for the racial equity change process and ways to take action in the community.

You are encouraged to explore the work on your own, with friends and family, or even organization-wide. You can capture your daily reflections and actions using the online activity log. Participants are encouraged to share reflections and “a-ha” moments using the hashtag #miuwequitychallenge.

The challenge was sparked by the recent release of the ALICE (Asset Limited, Income Constrained, Employed) and Black Households Data, which clearly illustrates the inequities that are deeply rooted in our national, state, and local systems and institutions.

The organization’s colleagues at the United Way of Washtenaw County successfully issued the Equity Challenge, engaging over 5,000 participants in January this year. The Michigan Association of United Ways adapted the challenge with the support of leaders across the Michigan United Way network, and now United Ways across the state are making plans to follow their lead.

United Way of Southwest Michigan fights for the Health, Education, and Financial Stability of every person in every community. They have the influence and relationships to make sustainable change a reality. By harnessing resources from corporate, nonprofit, and public partners, they provide immediate assistance to the most vulnerable populations among us while addressing the root causes of the community’s longstanding challenges and changing lives for the better. To join the fight—through giving, advocacy, and volunteering—visit www.uwsm.org.