In honor of Black History Month, United Way of Midland County is hosting a 10-Day Virtual Equity Challenge running February 1 – 12.
This free, virtual challenge is open to all. It offers a powerful opportunity to develop a deeper understanding and awareness about how inequity and racism affects our lives and community.
These topics are not only relevant across the country, but within our own backyard. During the recovery from the Great Recession, the number of Black households under the ALICE (Asset Limited, Income Constrained) Threshold in Michigan increased by 11% from 2010 to 2018. The number of white households struggling to make ends meet increased by only 1% statewide during that time frame.
The Equity Challenge aligns with United Way of Midland County’s mission to unite to improve lives by bridging awareness with action.
“This challenge is a step we can all take together to widen our lens in which we see our world,” said Holly Miller, president and CEO of United Way of Midland County. “Together, we can continue building a community that is committed to improving equity and inclusion. It starts with educating ourselves, being curious and committed to listening, learning and challenging our biases.”
Here’s how the equity challenge will work:
The challenge will begin with a 30-minute virtual kick-off this upcoming Monday, February 1. Participants will then receive an email each weekday for two weeks (10 days) that focuses on a specific topic about diversity, equity and inclusion. The email includes background information and a challenge section with engaging prompts to encourage participants to read, watch, listen, or learn.
Examples of daily topics include: personal racial identity, understanding privilege, race in the workplace and more.
United Ways across Michigan are reinforcing their commitment to race and equity, both in policy and in action. This Challenge was originally developed by Dr. Eddie Moore, Jr., Dr. Marguerite Penick-Parks and Debby Irving and has been adapted by Food Solutions New England. United Ways in Michigan have committed to adapt the challenge with the support of leaders across the Michigan United Way network.
The challenge led by United Way of Midland County concludes with a virtual summit on February 12. Community experts and leaders will join facilitators Kathy Snyder—who serves as the Midland Area Wellbeing Coalition Coordinator—and Kimberly Houston—who retired as Dow Corning Corporation’s Diversity Officer, Global Community Relations Leader, and President of the Dow Corning Foundation—to explore and discuss what was discovered through the challenge.
“I am thrilled to have the opportunity to collaborate with United Way, Kimberly Houston and such an insightful group of panelists for this 10-Day Equity Challenge,” Snyder said. “Midland’s aspirational vision is ‘Together. Forward. Bold. An exceptional place where everyone thrives.’ This is more than just a slogan to me. This takes work in many different ways in many different areas, and the Equity Challenge is a very important step in the right direction.”
The Equity Challenge and the Summit brings leaders from numerous community groups committed to Diversity, Equity and Inclusion together, demonstrating collaboration at its finest.
The esteemed panelists include:
- Amy Beasley: Dow (on loan to MPS), Midland County Inclusion Alliance
- Jimmy Greene: Associated Builders and Contractors of Michigan
- De’Ondre Hogan: Midland Public Schools Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion
- Diane Brown Wilhelm: Midland City Council , We Hear You Coalition
- Gina Wilson: Central Michigan University, Cultural Awareness Coalition
Registration for the Equity Challenge will remain open until through Sunday, January 31. To register, visit https://eportal.unitedwaymidland.org/equitychallenge