Thousands of Iowans Are Uniting to Learn About Equity Together
The 21-Day Equity Challenge is a powerful opportunity to learn about the barriers to opportunity that many Iowans face.
In these tumultuous times, the term “equity” might inspire feelings of confusion, discomfort, or anxiety. But it’s actually a concept that Iowans have always held dear, even if we didn’t use the modern term. The 21-Day Equity Challenge is here to put your fears to rest. You’ll get the chance to join thousands of other Iowans in a journey of discovery, learning, and growth. You’ll come to understand the barriers are keeping fellow community members from success and what small steps you can take to help create a more equitable Iowa for everyone.
What is the 21-Day Equity Challenge?
United Ways across Iowa have come together to create a 21-Day Equity Challenge to raise awareness about the particular ways racism, discrimination, and inequities affect our state. The self-guided online journey runs from September 1 - 30, 2021, and is completely free and open to anyone.
What topics will the challenge cover?
No matter where you are in your personal journey of understanding — the content and activities will inspire you to reflect more deeply about your personal attitudes and behavior, the experiences of other Iowans, and powerful opportunities for change. The content for each topic was curated by a curriculum committee composed of representatives from multiple United Ways in Iowa who are equity experts or have lived experience with prejudice and discrimination. Daily topics include:
- Implicit Bias
- Systemic (or Institutional) Racism
- Learning Disparities
- Foster Youth
- Physical and Maternal Health
- Mental Health
- History of Experimentation/Impact of COVID-19
- Legacy of Redlining
- Housing Disparities & Discrimination
- Generational Wealth
- Justice System
- Issues Unique to Marginalized Communities
How does the challenge work?
From September 1 - 30, participants will receive an email each weekday about a specific topic, with links to videos, articles, podcasts, and more. You should plan to spend 15 - 30 minutes on each daily topic. We’ve worked hard to provide a range of content from multiple perspectives, designed for different learning styles. Consider engaging with at least one piece of content each day, and use the journaling questions to reflect on what you’ve learned — or discuss it with others. At United Way, we know that equity is critical to ensuring that all Iowans have a chance at an education, a good job, a healthy life, and a secure future.
“There is no reprieve, even during the pandemic, to accept inequities for communities of color. Racial/ethnic discrimination has no place in our society. United Way of Johnson & Washington Counties expects equal access to justice for all and a widespread commitment to equity. Standing with partners of all walks of life, we can denounce systemic racism that may still exist in policies, practices, and cultural norms. United, we can build a future where the color of our skin does not determine life outcomes. Together we can take steps to change racist and discriminatory attitudes and remove prejudices. We believe every person in our community must be valued and empowered. We believe change starts with self. We believe in equity. We believe we all need to work together to bring about real and lasting change.”
Catherine Knight, CEO & President
United Way of Johnson & Washington Counties strives to be a model of diversity and inclusion, reflecting the many faces, cultures and walks of life that proudly make up our communities.
We respect, value and celebrate the unique attributes, characteristics and perspectives that make each person who they are.
We also believe that bringing diverse individuals together allows us to collectively and more effectively address the issues that face our communities.
To value diversity is to respect and appreciate race, religion, skin color, gender, nationality, language differences, cultural differences, sexual orientation, gender identity, physical, mental and development abilities or disabilities, age, socioeconomic status, work and behavior styles, parental status and the perspectives of each individual, as shaped by their nation, culture and experiences.
To be inclusive is to leverage diversity by bringing together unique individuals and organizations to collectively impact the issues that face our communities.
To be a diverse and inclusive system is fundamental to achieving our mission and goals in education, income and health and is at the heart of what it means to live united.
To achieve a strong, equitable community where everyone is empowered to succeed, we must address existing structural and systemic inequities in our communities through a human-centered approach.
Our commitment to diversity and inclusion rests on certain principles that influence our decision-making, guide our interactions with each other and others, and determine the measure of our success.
We will continue to seek respectful relationships and partnerships that align with achieving common goals. Focused on inviting all people, we have the opportunity and responsibility to value and respect diverse perspectives, ideas and beliefs.
We strive to continually improve our understanding and application of inclusion and equity to address racial disparities in the communities we serve alongside our partners and within our strategies and investments.
It is our aim, therefore, that our Board of Directors, staff, volunteers, partners, strategies and investments reflect these core values.
Effective Date: October 20, 2011
Revised Date: December 19, 2013
Revised Date: March 28, 2019