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Racial Justice Challenge

Welcome to Day 1 of the Racial Justice Challenge.
Today, we begin a conversation about racial justice. We will learn about some of the issues that contribute to racial inequity and consider why it can be hard to talk about race. As Emmanuel Acho notes, "“[I]f you want to know how you can help, how you can stand with us, how you can stand with me, you must first educate yourself so you know exactly what you’re standing for and why you’re standing," from Uncomfortable Conversations with a Black Man.

1. Let's Get Started.

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2. Understand Why it's Hard to Talk About Race

3. Actions You Can Take Today

  • Go to blacklivesmatter.com to better understand the Black Lives Matter movement and the issues they're trying to address. Then, sign up for their email notifications to continue learning. Listen to what they say they are trying to accomplish and what they need from us. 
  • Borrow or buy Layla Saad's Me and White Supremacy and Reni Eddo-Lodge's Why I'm No Longer Talking to White People About Race, and start reading! For those looking to borrow, request these books at your local or university library. For those looking to buy, order from bookstores run by people of color, like these Black-owned bookstores.
  • Create an antiracism self-care plan, using this template. Open the template, click on "File" (upper left corner), and then click on Download, to create a personal copy. The National Museum of African American History and Culture reminds us:

"We each bring our own beliefs, experiences, and feelings to our anti-racist work – a work that is difficult and demanding. Our ongoing commitment to actively think about and take action against racism, combined with a sense of urgency and deep caring, adds pressure and stress to our daily lives. The emotional impact of this work is real, therefore it is vital that we all practice “self-care” to benefit our overall health and quality of life."

4. BONUS Actions

  • Listen to this episode of the Black Girl in Maine Podcast. Shay Stewart-Bouley, author of the Black Girl in Maine blog, and Debby Irving, author of Waking Up White: And Finding Myself in the Story of Race, discuss niceness, "white women tears," discomfort, and making antiracism personal. You can find Irving's book at your local or university library.
  • Learn about commonly used terminology as we continue this conversation - see, for example, the Racial Equity Tools Glossary and The New York Times' Where did BIPOC Come From?.

You have completed Day 1 of the Racial Justice Challenge! Keep what you learned today in mind as we move into tomorrow's topic, How to be Antiracist, not "Not Racist." See you soon!

5729 Fogler Library · University of Maine · Orono, ME 04469-5729 ; (207) 581-1673

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