The 21-Day Racial Equity Habit Building Challenge is based on a need for better skills when dealing with social justice in order to create a more inclusive community, creator Dr. Eddie Moore explained in a talk. “We are not just talking about diversity and anti-racism, but we are being about diverse and being about anti-racist,” he explained.
There are current concerns surrounding the multiple pandemics that the U.S. is currently facing, including the COVID-19 pandemic and a pandemic of racial injustice, panelist Nobles Crawford PhD’84 explained. Citing the murders of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor, Moore explained the importance of having a broader skill set to address social justice in the U.S. “We need different skills when it comes to social justice, racial justice, I am upset that people are still using 1981 skills in 2021,” Moore explained. He added that white supremacy has changed over time and new skills are required to fight it.
When fighting white supremacy and racism, in whatever context it may come up in, Moore states that self-care is an important tool for dealing with resistance to anti-racism efforts. Sometimes it is part of a racist’s strategy to exhaust you, and that it is why you must take care of yourself and understand that you may not be able to convince everybody, Moore explained.
The hope of the 21-Day Challenge is to give individuals the power to open their eyes about how someone is doing in their personal journey, Teresa Rodriguez, Associate Director of Admissions at the Brandeis International Business School, explained. “As a person of color, I was shocked to admit how much I didn’t know about the struggles of Black America; it was empowering to have that space and be part of it,” she noted in the panel.
The Black community has had a history of low financial literacy as a result of white supremacy, according to Moore. However, the 21-Day Challenge provides an opportunity to this community to alleviate, and decrease, the disparities. Moore questions white individuals about giving back. “If you have a lot, can you do a lot?” he asks.
Moore encouraged the Brandeis community to keep being creative and bold to fight white supremacy, even outside of the 21-Day Challenge. “We [at Brandeis] don’t want to just appear that we are in the game,” Rodriguez added. “We want to really continue the work.” Crawford also called on the university to reinvigorate its social justice mission by doing something “visionary,” such as expanding the 21-Day Challenge to the entire Brandeis community and make it a common practice. “We have to keep up the fight,” Pierrce Holmes MPP’22 added, explaining that there is still work to be done.
Moore’s 21-Day Racial Equity Challenge is an initiative where the participants are encouraged, for 21 days, to do one action to further their understanding of power, privilege, supremacy, oppression and equity, according to his website. There are a variety of ways to do this including readings, videos, podcasts and other forms of media and communication.
This event was a cross collaboration between The Heller School for Social Policy and Management, the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences and the Brandeis International Business School. Faculty, staff and students at all three graduate schools were invited to partake in the 21-Day Challenge to create an open dialogue about social justice in their own communities.