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YWCA South Florida’s 21 Day Racial Equity and Social Justice Challenge was a success!


21-Day Challenge Testimonials

Here’s what our participants had to say about how the challenge impacted their perspectives and altered their lives.

I want to thank you for your leadership, especially in creating the 21 day racial equity challenge. Our team has been listening, reading, learning and connecting in such meaningful ways because of it. I am grateful for you and your work. I look forward to staying in touch.
Kristina DaSilva | Hands On Broward
It’s going extremely well. We created cross-department “journey teams” and each team has staff facilitators who are creating a space for the team to do the daily activities together and have a short discussion after. Beginning next Friday, journey teams will participate in a longer facilitated discussion about the topic area. The staff is super engaged and it is providing a space and framework that allows us to engage in the conversation in a way that builds trust. Thank you!
Viviane Bohorques | The Children’s Trust
We just finished a really special Week 1 discussion. 11 people on a holiday! I want to introduce you to my remarkable friend of many years and one of the GREAT Jewish communal leaders in Broward, Elissa Mogilefsky. She wants to tell you something. As the President/CEO of YWCA South Florida, I felt you should hear this wonderful feedback first hand. Elissa, take it away!
Evan Goldman | Jewish Federation of Broward County
I am so impressed with what YWCA is doing and what your mission is. Thank you too for partnering with other organizations so that we can learn and teach others. Again, I am so, so impressed.
Elissa Mogilefsky | Jewish Federation of Broward County
This series has been an eye-opener. There is so much discrimination going on today that people don’t even realize.
Marie Allen
These emails are so informative and inspiring and I look forward to them everyday. I can tell a lot of work and research is put behind them and you should be so proud! <3
Roberta Silva | United Way of Miami-Dade
Congratulations on the Challenge. It’s so well done.
Mary E. Donworth, | United Way of Miami-Dade
This challenge has been a tremendous, educational resource. Are other states doing this as well? I sure hope so!
Gabby Bastos
I have a very diverse staff (Skin Type Solutions) and I asked everyone to participate. One of my black male employees called me and told me how much he appreciated the fact that I asked everyone to be involved. It opened up an interesting dialogue because he was adopted by white parents and he felt comfortable opening up and talking about how hard it was for him to be the only black kid in high school and college fraternity. He said he would not have felt ok talking about it with his work colleagues if I had not initiated and encouraged and open conversation with our employees. He shared this [podcast] with our team. https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/nba-stories/id1504504677?i=1000478399940 I personally have learned SO MUCH too.
Leslie Baumann MD | Skin Type Solutions
I found the reading about indigenous peoples and their land to be eye-opening and important. Consultation and consent are different and I agree that the DAPL situation would have turned out differently had government truly listened to the Sioux nation's concerns. Indigenous peoples have been treated like a commodity, being moved to wherever settlers and then the government saw fit. Even now, they don't have true sovereignty over the land on which they live because it is owned by the government. The discussion also opened my eyes to the Native American stereotypes that I have learned about my whole life - that we should "pity the plight," that we should listen to them about conservation and environmentalism because they know best, etc. They're just people trying to live their lives according to their heritage and the current world, same as the rest of us. But they should be included in environmental efforts and discoveries, and they should truly be able to stand up for their land, same as the rest of us.
Aimee Iannacci
When it comes to racism and inequality and it’s impact on the health and well being of Blacks, I am a little familiar. Especially as an RN working in L&D, GYN, and women’s services for most of my career. But it’s impact was first presented to me in a story told by mother about how she was separated from me immediately after my birth; the reason being is because she was ‘colored’; which was the race for Blacks back then. Black mothers were not allowed to have their babies with them, not even on the same floor or even in the same building. When she told me what happened when we arrived home, she clearly had postpartum depression, even if she wasn’t diagnosed. But that was then and now here we are in 2020 and the statistics on maternal/infant morbidity and mortality rates are alarming, but not surprising. Alarming due to the fact that the state (FL) in which I reside the preterm birth rate among Black women is 52% higher than the rate among all other women. Alarming to hear that the US is known as the most dangerous place to give birth in the developed world. But not surprising that even after all the attempts at improving health care for all, racism and discrimination continues to have harmful effects on Blacks. I will continue to join challenges such as this and others, and do all that is in my power to get rid of the effects of racism on Blacks, especially women. I will continue because there needs to be a sense of urgency to get rid of what has been declared a public health crisis, racism.
Deborah Rushing
I am loving the challenge, and I am so grateful to be a participant! I really enjoyed learning more about Desmond Meade, one of the men who helped advocate to restore voting rights for Floridians with felony convictions, which restores rights to about 1.4 million citizens. I was shocked to learn these activities are felonies in Florida: trespassing on a construction site, releasing helium balloons into the air, driving with a suspended license. [https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C2FgQ7X3Se8]
Jordan Fickess | Common Threads
Full disclosure... I have always considered myself fair and equitable. I have always embraced all colors, ethnicities, sexual orientations. I lived in Germany back in the day when my father was NSA and traveling back and forth “beyond the wall” (yes there is a Game of Thrones reference there!) our neighbors and best friends (My best friend- in the 50’s) were black. When we arrived back to Baltimore,MD in the late 50’s we went to church with Dad’s devoutly Baptist family and, as I have been told, walked out, because the sermon was based on how to keep blacks out of the church. We never went back to church during my youth and I have always remembered why. My “significant son” (son of my significant other of 20+ years) is gay and I have supported him from day one and am an advocate for gay rights. Having said all of that this challenge has been a WTF eye-opener!! I know nothing, Jon Snow (Sorry, another GOT thing) This challenge has been the best thing!! I am seeing the world in a whole new perspective! It’s not over yet but THANK YOU!!
Patti Norris Homes
Good morning... today’s video really resonated with me - I have a toddler - and I want to start having these conversations with her early on. I also looked back at my schooling through the years and I don’t recall having a black teacher. Until I got to college - my greatest mentor was a brilliant black professor, he became my advisor once I got into my major. He went as far as filling in my grad school application with me when I told him I was going to take a break - he quickly said ‘No Ma’am, this is not the time for a break’ and pulled out an application from his desk drawer and started the process.
Lorena Lama
The information that I’ve received in the past 7 days has been an invaluable one. Being a part of this amazing group has been an enlightening and learned experience for me. I appreciate and am grateful to you all!
Karen Jones-Lewis
When I wake up in the morning - before I get distracted by the kids or work - I check my email for my daily Racial Equity and Social Justice Challenge. It’s filled with insightful information about issues we interact with and experience in everyday life - but rarely pause to reflect on. This one intentional action allows me to filter my entire day through a different lens. We have all been primed by negative messaging our entire lives. This challenge primes us in a positive way. Thank you, YWCA South Florida!
Mandy Spangler Bartle
I created a reading list based on a graduate seminar I taught for several years that looked at how the idea of race was constructed over time and its use as a tool of oppression in the U.S. Then I sent the book list to friends who are in book clubs that want to learn more about this central issue in our nation's history. Thanks for the 21-day challenge!
Holly Iglesias, Professor | University of Miami
A few months ago I had read that people in the LGBTQ+ community look for signs when they meet new people or enter an office or location that they will be accepted, and that this is especially true for children and teens. I decided that I wanted to ensure people knew I was accepting and so I added she/her/hers to my signature block, and I have a she/her/hers pin on my name badge. I also have a little jar of pride pins and she/her/hers, he/him/his, and they/them/theirs stickers on my desk that are free for others to take. It may only be my office, my office, my signature block, and my work badge, but everyone who encounters me in or out of my office will see and that might make them think about what steps they can take for themselves. Maybe in the future it will be common to ask someone’s name and their pronouns when you first meet them.
Amy K. Starosciak, Ph.D. | Baptist Health South Florida
The 21 day challenge has been a very eye opening experience. We ignorantly believe we “know” about racial issues in our area but clearly having completed all of the tasks to date as well as searching other similar related information, we ( I )are clearly not at all knowledgeable on the issues that face so many people of minority backgrounds. I have brought these topics into casual community conversations with friends and peers and realized I am not alone in this ignorance, that there are many people like myself, that have little idea of the realities of what others are truly enduring every day. I have been a permanent legal resident of the USA for 19 years now and have never had much reason to believe I should obtain citizenship, thinking my vote is not that impactful, however, having taken part in this challenge, I have realized the value and importance of every vote and the struggles that so many people endured to obtain that right. As a result, I have applied for American Citizenship and am hopeful to have this in hand prior to November 3, 2020 and for that I thank you and this program.
Bernard (Bernie) Roy | Coca Cola Florida
In order to foment a sense of inclusivity of cultures in my math class, I teach with a history of mathematics approach. I inform the students about the life and the experiences of the creator of a math theorem. I include their culture and their life perspective as they were experiencing at their time. For example, the world Algebra is an Arab word., Algebra (from Arabic: ????? al-jabr, meaning "reunion of broken parts" and "bonesetting") is one of the broad parts of mathematics, together with number theory, geometry and analysis. The word algebra comes from the title of a book by Muhammad ibn Musa al-Khwarizmi.[6 I explain how he viewed the world and how other people throughout the world benefited from his ideas. I also explain about the origins of the Pythagorean theorem dating back to ancient china. I hope that by me educating our students about other cultures who have contributed to our system of learning and thought can bring a bit more appreciation of others from around the corner or around the world.
Christian Jarquin
Thank you so much to you and your team for putting on such a far-reaching, thoughtful, intentional, and powerful initiative. I am eager to continue reading, experiencing, and co-learning with this community that you have assembled and I am excited to see the impact this will have in the future.
Nicky Zarchen | Radical Partners
I'm continuing to share my experience with the Challenge through my blog! Title: How a Public Challenge Increased This Black Girl’s Racial Awareness Link: https://medium.com/@jackiebell8601/how-a-public-challenge-increased-this-black-girls-racial-awareness-8480718587d1
Jackie Bell