PhD Student, School of Earth and Climate Sciences and the Climate Change Institute University of Maine
2020 awakened the United States to widespread police brutality, systemic racism, and white supremacy. As the world witnessed numerous police killings of Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC), including George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Tony McDade, and Rayshard Brooks, unprecedented numbers of people, from all walks of life, joined the Black Lives Matter movement and other longstanding efforts by BIPOC to address and dismantle structural racism and white supremacy culture. Seeking to contribute to this work, a graduate student, a librarian, and a diversity officer designed a weeklong program aimed at jumpstarting a commitment to meaningful change regarding racist policies and practices. The result: The Racial Justice Challenge.
Each day, for five days, participants received an email with several tasks designed to learn, unlearn, listen, share ideas, and take action around issues of race and racism. We explored what Dr. Ibram X Kendi describes as how to be antiracist (versus "not racist"), approaches to moving beyond what Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie calls “the danger of a single story,” and ways in which news outlets and social media shape perceptions of race. Participants contributed daily insights and ideas to open discussion board questions, in an effort to learn from one another and have a diverse set of actions to draw upon, and by the end of the week, participants created an individualized antiracist action plan based on what each participant wanted to commit to changing, tackling, or dismantling.
Join the designers of this program for a tour of the challenge, a discussion of why and how we sequenced each day, and ways we made this remote learning opportunity interactive. We will invite the audience to brainstorm approaches to adapting this type of program to their institution or position, and ways to build on this program going forward.
Upon completion, participants will be able to identify ways to adapt this challenge to one's own organizational setting and position.
Upon completion, participants will be able to describe the opportunities and challenges of an email-based format for asynchronous teaching and learning.
Upon completion, participants will be able to demonstrate the benefits of collaboration (and identify potential collaborators) for creating and implementing a racial justice challenge.