YWCA Utah’s 21-Day Racial Equity & Social Justice Challenge: Our Reflection
In July, we invited you to join us as we accepted the YWCA Utah’s 21-Day Racial Equity & Social Justice Challenge. As Planned Parenthood, we are working on examining our relationship with systemic and institutional racism and we’re holding ourselves accountable. Part of that accountability is being transparent with you, our supporters, about the work that we’re doing. Below are some of the thoughts our Public Affairs team had after participating in the 21 Day Challenge.
Katrina: “For the days that had more historical information, I thought, ‘What?! How did I not learn this before?’ The history we don’t get taught is one of the parts that really stuck with me. As a white person, I would really like to get some more understanding of when it’s best to step back and step forward. I’m trying to be cognizant of my own privilege. I feel very hopeful that we will be able to carry this forward.”
Lorena: “It’s so crazy how much power people/organizations have that can literally destroy lives. It’s mind-blowing. The main thing I’m working towards is being able to have these hard conversations with family. It is a topic that’s been avoided because it’s generally sad and I want to be that guidance for my family by unapologetically using my voice.”
Sarena: “A lot were things I was already teaching myself, but it’s nice to have this new outlet of resources. I took a lot from the day about talking to kids at an early age. That it’s the way that race and color are used is what makes people uncomfortable. I would like to continue to amplify BIPOC and educate myself by learning from people who have been doing this work longer.”
Rebecca: “I felt cheated in terms of how history was defined by what the system felt was important for one to hear and know. I think of all the generations before myself who don’t know the true history that has been ignored and swept under a rug. It feels overwhelming right now. Initially, I want to figure out how to help my kids have a different experience so that three decades from now they aren’t where I am.”
Annabel: “It’s maddening that it continues. It’s all of us upholding these systems and structures that causes the harm, and we will not be able to move through it unless we disrupt it. I have been thinking a lot about really trying to reframe things to decenter whiteness when looking at an issue. I’m looking at what we can change systemically and how we can use our space as Planned Parenthood.”
Saundra: “I appreciate all the historical content. I personally knew a lot of the stuff because my parents made it a point to teach me a lot my people’s history because they knew it would not be taught in school, it has been a part of my upbringing. The personal experiences help me understand how we all can either perpetuate or dismantle oppression/systemic racism, and it’s the daily things we do that will determine where we’re at. Let’s dismantle it now that we have insight on the formula and have seen its outcome. As a Black woman, I am currently working on my mental health and holding collective healing space for my family. Our collective healing and rest is resistance.”
Jess: “I am solemnly reflective. This challenge has allowed me to slow down, and wake up and look at the orchestrated system I was born into. I feel angry and like the sense of ‘why didn’t I know this sooner?’ but I know why. I am getting away from the wow factor and trying to be bolder and more unapologetic about the toxicity of white culture and racism. It’s been beneficial to test my own understanding of race, and how to be an ally and more actively an accomplice to dismantle the system.”
Anna: “A lot of these topics, as a person of color, I’m familiar with. We had to learn on our own to understand the experiences we face. I want to focus on my internalized oppression and embrace the parts of me that society doesn’t like. Once I feel more whole and complete, I feel like I can work on doing better for my community.”
Candida: “I’ve focused a lot on the feelings that have come up and giving them names rather than just calling it anger. I already knew a lot of what was shared. More than anything it has helped me feel validity and helped me challenge my imposter syndrome by affirming that I do know what I’m talking about and that my experiences are real.”
The challenge has ended but let’s not lose this momentum. We must continue to learn so that we may dismantle systemic racism and other systems of oppression as we work towards advancing equity. I invite you all to join the YWCA’s monthly newsletter, “Learn More. Do More.” and to continue the dialogue on racial equity.