What is the challenge?
The North Carolina Community Action Association (NCCAA) will celebrate Community Action Month with a 21-day challenge inviting the public to better understand and support a culture of equity.
Community Action Month—celebrated in May--highlights the successes of the Community Action Network. Community action agencies connect millions of children and families to greater opportunities, transform their lives and make our communities — and our nation— stronger.
The Equity Starts Here challenge is a four-week educational initiative to guide participants in learning more about equity, how it applies to the community, and how they can apply the term to their own lives. Each day of the challenge, participants will receive an email with that day's topic, learning material, and discussion questions. The challenge will run each Monday through Friday throughout the month of May. The challenge is designed for individuals to do alone; however there are materials on the website for those who would like to participate as a group.
“Equity is an underlying issue to many of the social issues we are currently facing,” said Sharon C. Goodson, executive director, NCCAA. “We believe that education is a crucial first step to changing some of the actions necessary to eradicate exclusionary behavior.”
What is Equity?
What is Empathy?
Today, we start with the basics. In order to truly understand and advocate for equity, we all have to work off the same definition.
Equity vs Equality
It's important to understand the difference between equity and equality, and understand why equity is the new goal.
What Does Equity Look Like?
Equity envelopes everything from education to social justice to law to your own family dynamics. With so many possible ways we can be impacted by equity, we decided to focus on a few areas that we all have in common: school, the workplace and our cities.
How to Embrace Change When it's Hard
Our society is undergoing major change right now, much of which calls for equity. Learning how to handle that change, whether it's scary or exciting, is an important part of bringing more equity into society.
Understanding Your Biases
Practice critical thinking in everything you do. This week, question your feelings, your opinions and your world view. Questioning yourself does not mean you’re wrong and it doesn’t mean degrading yourself. Questions bring to light our inner motivations, thinking processes, experiences, and values.
The notion of privilege may be a sensitive topic for many people. Whether we speak of privilege in terms of race, socioeconomic status, education, or gender, there always seems to be someone more privileged. As a prelude to understanding equity, the concept of privilege must first be understood.
Are You Biased?
There’s a very easy answer to the question, Are you biased? Yes. We all are. Biases can be as simple as preferring a certain color or food, and as complicated as being biased for or against someone based on their race, religion or political beliefs.
What Are Your Values?
At the core of every opinion and belief you hold is a value. Everyone has a series of values they hold such as family, faith, inclusivity, independence, ambition, thrift, success, among others. Although our values direct every decision we make and opinion we hold, most of us are unaware of what those values are!
How to Argue Productively
In our current society, we often see people who are unable to productively discuss different opinions. Instead, a meaningful conversation about policies turns into a yelling match, sometimes with name calling and accusations. We all know that this is unproductive.
This week, your challenge will help you take an active role against racism in your life and community.
Racism has been an issue in the United States almost since it became a country. Last summer, racism escalated to the forefront of everyone’s mind. Clearly, our country has a lot of work to do before we truly end racism in America.
The Effects of Racism
Racism negatively affects our lives. It is degrading and demoralizing for those who experience it. And it’s degrading to the people who make racist comments. Racism prevents our communities from fully thriving. And, it keeps people living in fear.
Immigration and Refugees
Middle Eastern and Hispanic people face a lot of racism in America, though it’s less discussed. Much of this racism stems from people’s views and fears surrounding immigration and refugees.
Being an ally means going to war with your ally. Allies don’t just say “Well that sucks. Our society is so messed up. Some people are so rude.” They provide support by sending troops and supplies and fighting enemies with you.
There has been a long history of discrimination and segregation in housing across America. This means that historical housing discrimination automatically puts some people at a health disadvantage.
Although a formal education is not always necessary to have a successful career, it is often a predictor for high-paying jobs and socioeconomic status. Your education isn’t always about learning math or science, education often exposes students to various career options, interests and hobbies.
The healthcare system is a striking example of inequity based on race. Although we want to believe that medical professionals treat everyone the same, the data says differently.
Last summer, our country saw large and commanding protests regarding inequity in the justice system. From police violence to incarceration, there are many racial inequity issues facing our legal system. It's an outdated system that doesn’t work with our evolving society, and it is in desperate need of to change.
The Final Challenge
We hope you’ve come away with a better understanding of equity, your own beliefs and values, and what inequity looks like in our society. As with everything, the first step to change is understanding ourselves, changing our own behavior and then working to help others change theirs. We hope that as you shared your experiences regarding this challenge with your circle, you found great connection and allyship.