United Way of Washtenaw County aims to engage 10,000 people in 21 Day Equity Challenge

The United Way of Washtenaw County is inviting county residents to register for a 21 Day Equity Challenge that aims to shed light on race, equity, and social justice in the community.


Every morning from Jan. 6-26, participants will receive an email with links to readings, videos, or podcasts. These resources can be explored solo or shared with friends, family members, or coworkers. A reflection and action log can also be downloaded.


Challenge participants need only commit 10-15 minutes a day to exploring these resources. The challenge is confidential and free of charge. United Way of Washtenaw County president Pam Smith stresses that the challenge is essentially a self-guided journey.


"The ease of the challenge is very intentional, because we want to create an on-ramp to learning," Smith says. "You can participate in any way you see fit, but what is most important is that you participate."


The challenge will culminate in a community meeting where participants can gather to share lessons learned and discuss plans for action and further conversations.


"The end goal is to be able to have an open dialogue, because the economic divide that continues to grow in Washtenaw County needs to be addressed," Smith says. "And in order to do that we need to be able to have healthy conversations where people can talk about gerrymandering or redlining or what segregation looks like."


The hope is that increased education will bolster people's confidence to engage with topics they might otherwise dismiss out of ignorance, and to change their habits.


United Way is aiming to get 10,000 people on board for the challenge. So far, Smith says people have been very responsive and eager to take part.


"We've had a good number of PTOs, book clubs, and businesses sign up already. There are also some nonprofits that are going to do it as part of their staff development initiatives," she says. "It's great because inequities affect everyone and everyone can play a role in eliminating injustice."


Jaishree Drepaul-Bruder is a freelance writer and editor currently based in Ann Arbor. She can be reached at jaishreeedit@gmail.com.

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