“Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.”
- Nelson Mandela  

 “The ability to read, write and analyze; the confidence to stand up and demand justice and equality; the qualifications and connections to get your foot in that door and take your seat at that table − all of that starts with education." - Michelle Obama 

Thank you for saying yes to this next 5-Day Equity Challenge focused on education. When schools and childcare centers closed their doors in the spring of 2020, it highlighted challenges for so many families who lacked access to remote learning resources and reliable childcare options. While the crisis brought these issues front and center for many, our Black and Brown neighbors have been encountering these inequities as part of the impact of systemic racism for decades. 

We must take a deeper look at our existing educational structures and ask ourselves how we address the root causes of poverty in order to create a truly just and equitable education system, and ultimately end poverty.

This Equity Challenge will help you ask questions, reflect on existing systems, and identify actions that all of us can take. This Challenge is not intended to be a solution in itself or a performative act, but is meant to spark new ideas and motivation for us all to continue our learning.

We are grateful to our Community Design Team who helped curate this 5-Day Equity Challenge:

- Bobbi Jo Evans, BHcare
- Fatema Basrai, Yale School of Public Health 
- Ann Baker Pepe, LEAP, Horizons at Foote School
- Jennifer Heikkila Díaz, New Haven Promise
- Gisele Nyandekwe, Community Volunteer
- Andrea Motto, Yale Peabody Museum
- Raven Imani Bacote, Temple University and former New Haven student
- Erin Shaffer, New Haven Legal Aid
- Jacqueline Brown, Yale New Haven Hospital 
If this is your first time joining us, we encourage you to explore the 5-Day “Foundations” Challenge content we facilitated back in January 2021. It’s important to have a grounding in the topics of racial identity, systemic racism, bias, privilege & white fragility, and urban trauma & healing in order to fully absorb and participate in this Challenge experience. We need to speak a common language to further the conversation.

To start framing the educational focus of this Challenge, you can watch a brief video, "Why Equity Matters in Education" from Education Northwest, that describes the importance of equity in education.  

Starting on Monday, September 27, you will receive an email each morning with an overview of the topic and a variety of ways you can choose to learn: you can READ articles, WATCH videos, LISTEN to podcasts, or complete ACTIONS.

You get to choose how you engage with the Challenge, but we ask that you commit 10-15 minutes each day to explore the resources and start to build a habit of learning and reflection. Please don’t feel like you need to review all of the resources. You can revisit the daily prompts at any time, so decide what’s manageable for your day and make a commitment.

Schedule time each day that you’ll protect to engage with the Challenge content. Schedule it in your calendar! Establishing a habit is based on setting up a practice or routine. Learning about racial equity is a habit we all want to build!
Reach out to a friend, colleague, or family member to join the  Challenge and to be an “accountability partner” with whom you can share and process what you are learning. How can you really challenge yourself?

On Thursday, October 7, we will host a virtual lunchtime Community Conversation for anyone who participated in this Equity Challenge to come together to share their experiences and what resonated with them, what they would like to learn more about, or to offer feedback about the Challenge. Save the date! 

We are all learners on this journey and we look forward to traveling along with you.  Thanks for joining us! 
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