By Nancy Lilley
YWCA Advocacy Director
Abigail Van Buren (Dear Abby) said, “A bad habit never disappears miraculously; it’s an undo-it-yourself project.”
The YWCA Gettysburg & Adams County is once again joining with sister YWCA organizations nationwide for a 21-day Racial Equity Habit Building. The premise is that by doing a daily action for 21 days, you will further your understanding of power, privilege, supremacy, oppression, and equity. The plan will include suggestions for readings, podcasts, videos, observations, and ways to form and deepen community communications.
One comment I heard last year was that there were so many options for daily activities. And, I admit, there was a lot! Please, if you join us, do not feel obligated to complete all the activities. Just choose one activity a day, and you will be doing great! (I have to admit that some days I skipped and some days I binged.)
I also share that one participant created a folder to re-visit over the following few months. The time estimated to complete each challenge and whether it is audio, visual, or interactive are listed upfront so that you can participate in a way that suits your schedule and learning style.
The first week delves into a topic that we have all heard about — Critical Race Theory and what students are learning about race and racism in schools. The first day takes the time to explore what Critical Race Theory is, dispel some common misconceptions, and take a deep dive into the origins of this important academic movement. It includes the option of listening to a thirty-minute podcast featuring Kimberle Crenshaw, one of the founders of the CRT movement, as she explains its true meaning and how it became a flashpoint in schools and beyond. You have the option of watching an eight-minute video with Professor Khiara Bridges, who dispels some of the commonly repeated untruths about CRT. And, if reading is your thing, you can read the article “A Lesson on Critical Race Theory: Manufactured Boogeyman” by Janel George. And that’s just Day One!
The following weeks concentrate on the topics of Living Wage, Film and Television, and Reproductive Justice.
As a retired teacher, I firmly stand behind the words of Thomas Jefferson, “Educate and inform the whole mass of the people…they are the only sure reliance for the preservation of our liberty.”
I love this country; I love the people in it. But I understand the importance of not just repeating what one reads or hears from an unattributed source; we must educate ourselves based on a variety of attributed, reliable sources, not just on the catchiest Facebook meme. We must educate ourselves so that, when faced with inaccurate, unattributed statements, we can share what we have learned or, at the least, question intelligently what is being said or passed along as facts.