The Western New York 21-Day Racial Equity Challenge Day 1

DAy 1: Race and equity

Welcome to Day 1 of the Western New York 21-Day Racial Equity Challenge! Together, thousands of local people are working to develop a deeper understanding of race, equity, and our collective role in improving our community. Before you get started, if you haven't done so already, please fill out this pre-challenge survey to help ensure this experience is supportive and beneficial for the entire community. 

To help set the stage, let's look at a few common terms and develop a mutual understanding of diversity, inclusion, and equity:

  • Equity - A commitment to fair and impartial opportunities for all, often through actively challenging and responding to bias, harassment, and discrimination. 
  • Diversity - Welcoming differences of race and ethnicity, gender and enter identity, sexual orientation, socioeconomic status, language, culture, national origin, religious commitment, age, (dis)ability status, and political perspective.
  • Inclusion - A commitment to ensuring that differences are welcomed, every person feels a sense of belonging, and everyone's voice is valued and heard. 


This Challenge is focused on racial equity. The Center for Social Inclusion defines racial equity as an outcome and a process. We are striving toward the outcome of everyone having what they need to thrive, regardless of their race or where they live. The process of equity requires breaking down beliefs, systems, policies, and practices that support systemic racism and racial inequity. 

You may have heard of the idea that race is a "social construct." What does this mean? As a society, we define race based upon values, perceptions and power, as it is a product of culture and not a biological product. Race is not defined by genetics or DNA, instead, society plays a major role in shaping our views of race and racial identity. With this come social, economic, and political implications that have contributed to racial inequity in the United States for hundreds of years. 

How do you think about your racial identity and its relevance to your work/volunteerism/studies? Identity matters. Who we think we are and who others think we are can have an influence on all aspects of our lives. Think about the first time you became aware of your racial identity. What comes up for you? 


The latest U.S. Census figures put Buffalo's population at just over 278,000. About 47% identify themselves as white, 35% as black, 12% as Hispanic or Latino, and 5% as more than one race. 


  1. Read "What is Racial Equity" from the Center for Social Inclusion. (3 minutes)
  2. Watch "The Myth of Race: Debunked in 3 Minutes" from Jenée Desmond Harris at Vox. (3 minutes)
  3. Journal about your own racial identity. You might consider:
    • When did you first become aware of your racial identity?
    • What messages did you learn about race from your school and family?
    • Did they align with what you've seen in your life?
    • Think of a time when the way others perceived your racial identity affected how they treated you? 

DAY 2: Exploring Bias


Back to Pre-Challenge