Our Equity Work
After two years of Community Conversations devoted to the subject of race, equity and inclusion, we have developed a better understanding of the challenges our community faces when it comes to racial inequities. These inequities contribute to the disparities we see in the areas of health, education and financial stability and will continue to hold us back until we address them. Below, you’ll learn about the tactics United Way of Racine County has developed to progress towards equity and how you can get involved.
Declaration of Inclusion
Make your commitment to inclusion—the active, intentional and ongoing engagement with diversity—official by signing our Declaration of Inclusion Pledge. This pledge is to respect and appreciate all aspects of any person, including race, religion, skin color, nationality, sexual orientation, gender, physical abilities, age, parental status, work and behavioral styles, and the perspectives of each individual as shaped by their nation, culture and experiences. You will also receive our quarterly diversity newsletter to build your "equity muscle."
You can catch up on previous newsletters here:
Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Committee
The DEI committee serves a peer group to help United Way's staff learn, grow, and continue the conversation around equity. It identifies local diversity experts to train staff, facilitates discussions and exercises in building staff's equity muscles, and acts as inclusive leaders to share resources and keep staff moving together towards a stronger culture of equity.
Link and Inspire For Tomorrow (LIFT) Strategy
Community schools are an integral component of an equity strategy. They create the infrastructure necessary to student success by focusing time, attention, and resources towards eliminating systemic barriers that limit opportunities for students and families. United Way of Racine County's community schools work employs a place-based approach, LIFT (Link and Inspire for Tomorrow). The LIFT model creates partnerships between schools, neighborhoods and resources by using the community school as the hub. Foundational to the LIFT model are four key pillars that ensure community schools reflect neighborhoods' needs and priorities:
- Integrated student supports
- Expanded and enriched learning time and opportunities
- Active family and community engagement
- Collaborative leadership and practices
These four pillars comprise a strategy that enables educators, community members and partners to forge strong relationships. Together, we can LIFT the community.
21-Week Equity Challenge
The 21-Week Equity Challenge is an opportunity to develop a deeper understanding of how inequity and racism affect our lives and communities. We will refresh the series for a second round later this year, so stay tuned!
- Early 2021 participants received an email every Monday, starting Feb. 1 and ending June 21.
- Weekly topics took participants through a journey that started with understanding internalized racism and explored how racism permeates person-to-person interactions, institutions and social structures.
- The experience is intended to deepen understanding, suggest ways to take action and help launch what we hope will be a lifelong commitment to improving equity and inclusion in our communities.
- Individuals are encouraged to take on the challenge themselves or form groups for discussion and reflection.
Want to re-experience the first series? Check it out:
- Week 1: Welcome to the 21-Week Equity Challenge
- Week 2: Understanding Privilege
- Week 3: Understanding Stereotypes
- Week 4: Reflect
- Week 5: Internalized Racism
- Week 6: Internal Bias
- Week 7: Reflect
- Week 8: Interpersonal Racism
- Week 9: Microaggressions
- Week 10: Reflect
- Week 11: Institutional Racism
- Week 12: Racism in Media
- Week 13: Reflect
- Week 14: Participant Check-In
- Week 15: Structural Racism
- Week 16: Economic Mobility & Opportunity
- Week 17: Criminal Justice System
- Week 18: Education
- Week 19: Health & Healthcare
- Week 20: Reflection
- Week 21: Wrap-Up
How It Works
- Sign up to take the challenge.
- Beginning on February 1, you will receive an email each Monday.
- Each week's message will have information, links to articles, videos and more about a specific topic. The challenge is to spend time each week learning and getting a better understanding of the equity issues we face in Wisconsin.
- You can participate solo or form a small group to discuss weekly topics. We will provide access to discussion guides and other resources throughout the challenge to help you facilitate conversation.
- We will present you with ideas on actions you can take to help improve equity issues in your community
United Way of Racine County fights for the health, education and financial stability of every person in our community. That work calls us to confront the challenges and disparities in our community and state. In each pillar of our work – Health, Education and Financial Stability, which we recognize as the building blocks for a good quality of life and strong community – Wisconsin residents face disparities along racial and ethnic lines.
A 2019 report by COWS (PDF), a nonprofit think tank based at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, finds that Wisconsin’s white residents have “relatively good” economic, health, and educational outcomes while Black residents fare worse than Black people nationally. Black babies in Wisconsin are three times more likely to die before reaching their first birthday than white babies. One in three Black children in Wisconsin lives in poverty, a rate that is 3.5 times higher than that of white children. Black students are 7.5 times more likely than white students to face out-of-school suspension, the second worst disparity in the country.
While the pandemic reinforces the fact that every person's health is intertwined with the health of others in their community, racial and ethnic disparities observed in state health data demonstrates that Black, Brown, Indigenous and other communities of color are suffering a disproportionate impact and bearing the brunt of the COVID-19 pandemic. The 2020 Wisconsin ALICE Report found that nearly 66% of Black households and 48% of Hispanic households fell below the ALICE threshold, compared to 32% of White households.
This year, our country again confronted the painful, long-standing reality of racial inequity and the deadly results of racism and injustice that permeate so many communities. We saw that confrontation come to a head in our communities and on our streets – and in this difficult moment, we’ve seen our local organizations rise to the challenge of acknowledging and confronting racism in our community. The stark reality of racial disparities, racism and inequity throughout Wisconsin calls us to recognize, understand and act against racism and racial inequity.
We know that when we Live United, we must Live United for everyone.
We’re grateful for those who have led the way in their communities, not just to acknowledge the inequities and injustices, but to do the work and commit to active anti-racism. The 21-Week Equity Challenge is just one step toward personal and community growth. Please, join us.
Sharing the Challenge
Below are some sample posts and graphics you can use to promote the 21-Week Equity Challenge through your social media channels. Feel free to use these as they are or to change them to fit your style. To use the graphics, click the image; it will open in a new tab, where you can right click and save it to your computer.
Join folks around Wisconsin uniting to learn and grow together for the the #EquityChallenge - a 21-Week exercise to deepen understanding of how inequity and racism affect our lives and communities. Visit UnitedWayRacine.org/Equity#21WeekChallenge to sign up. The challenge starts Feb. 1.
Tools and Resources
- Challenge Tracking Tool for Participants (PDF) — Download and save or print to track your activities and reflections.
- Group Discussion Guide (PDF) — United Way of Central Iowa-hosted challenge guide.
- Net Impact: The 10 R's of Talking About Race: How to Have Meaningful Conversations
- Dr. Eddie Moore 21-Day Racial Equity Habit Building Challenge
- Racial Equity Tools Library
About the Logo
The 21-Week Equity Challenge logo is a call to unite in learning and growth and work toward anti-racism in our community. With inspiration from the 21-Day Equity Challenge of Central Iowa, United Way of Wisconsin worked with its advisory group to select the image of the raised fist, calling on the gesture’s core meaning of unity and solidarity.
About the Challenge
The 21 Week Equity Challenge is adapted from the work of Debby Irving, racial justice educator and writer, and Dr. Eddie Moore, Jr., Director of the Privilege Institute in Green Bay, WI. Ms. Irving and Dr. Moore designed the challenge to not only help people better understand the issues surrounding equity and inclusion, but to do so in a way that would build a long-lasting habit of learning by stretching it over 21 days. United Way of Wisconsin adapted the concept to 21 weeks, encouraging participants to engage with a topic throughout the week by revising the questions and taking more time to engage with the materials.
- Best African American History Apps and Websites
- Our Diversity Statement
- Payne and Frasier
Kimberly Payne and Dr. Arletta Frazier use their combined decades of experience to offer customized, interactive diversity trainings in the Racine area.
- Racial Equity Institute Trainings
United Way has partnered with Higher Expectations on multiple occasions to offer Racial Equity Institute trainings at no cost to Racine County residents. In these lively presentations, REI organizers use stories and data to present an argument that racism is fundamentally structural in nature.
- Safe Zone Training
The LGBT Center of SE Wisconsin educates individuals and organizations on the LGBTQ+ community—what it is, what it needs, and how to be a good ally. Both community-wide and organization-specific trainings are available.
- Women's Resource Center Programs
WRC provides crisis intervention, advocacy, education and prevention services for people at risk of domestic abuse and/or sexual assault by promoting positive change for clients and the broader community of Racine County.
- YWCA SEW Workshops and Trainings
The YWCA of SE Wisconsin offers a variety of trainings about different facets of equity, such as structural racism, cultural differences, social transformation and more.
- Gateway Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Celebration: Response, Resiliency, Restoration — Video
- "How I Became Comfortable Talking about Race" by United Way President and CEO Ali Haigh
- "How to Talk to Children about Race" by Deanna Singh, a recorded webinar
- Journey to Freedom: Racine, WI Underground Railroad
- LGBTQ+ Terms and Definitions
- Race, Equity and Inclusion Community Conversations Report (2018)
After two years of conversations with people throughout the county, we compiled a report of our findings. Learn our community's challenges and aspirations on the state of race, equity and inclusion and see United Way's beginning steps to build equity.
- Read in Color Recommended Reading
Everyone can take part in the Read in Color program. That’s why this list of suggested books—recommended by Little Free Library’s Diverse Books Advisory Group and others—includes options for young readers, middle and YA readers, and adults. The recommended reading lists are far from exhaustive, but they offer a starting point for exploring different perspectives.
- Visualizing the Legacy of Redlining
In 2019, a 24/7 Wall St. study marked Racine, Wisconsin as the second worst city for Black Americans. In these slides and the accompanying data visualization by Higher Expectations, discover how the continuing gaps between Black and white residents of Racine are rooted in decades-old redlining practices.
- Women's History Month at Gateway, recorded sessions
Women’s History Month is a celebration of women’s contributions to history, culture and society and has been observed annually in the month of March in the United States since 1987. This year's national theme is Valiant Women of the Vote: Refusing to be Silenced.
- Anti-Racism Book Group (ongoing)
A weekly book discussion group reading books on race and racism.
- Gateway's Diversity 365 events (ongoing)
- Queer Book Club: Radical Change Through Real Talk (ongoing)
Looking for a safe place to grow, challenge the status quo and expand your understanding of what is needed for positive change in our community? Grab the book of the month and join the discussion. We'll cover topics from social justice and advocacy to personal growth and community development.
- Open Our Hearts and Minds to End Racism (ongoing)
A yearlong, faith-based series of interactive and multidimensional public events. The series goal is to increase our understanding of how we think and feel about racism, resulting in actions that can help to transform us as individuals and the systems of racism in our country.
- Civil Dialogue: Facilitating Crucial Conversations (July 27, 1 to 3 p.m.)
Prepare to handle conversations of sensitive topics in structured environments through models and skills necessary for holding meaningful conversations between those with opposing viewpoints – not for the purpose of finding an action to address a problem, but for the ability to find common ground and understanding. You will leave prepared to facilitate these conversations in group formats.
- Ouch That Stereotype Hurts (Aug. 3, 2 to 4 p.m.)
In the face of stereotypes, micro-aggression and biased remarks, how do you react? Learn how to build the confidence and the skills to speak-up and interrupt disrespectful comments when you hear them.