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The 21-Day Challenge

Upstate partners with United Way of Central New York for 21-Day Racial Equity Habit Building Challenge

Upstate Medical University is proud to be a partner in the upcoming CNY 21-Day Racial Equity Habit Building Challenge, sponsored by the United Way of Central New York.

The 21-Day Challenge is a three-week, self-guided series of educational opportunities that focus on developing more effective social justice habits, “particularly around the issues of race, power, privilege and leadership.”

The challenge kicks off locally on Oct. 1 and culminates Oct. 21 with “A Community Conversation with Dr. Ibram X Kendi,” a free, virtual event presented by The Friends of the Central Library.

Participants sign up for the challenge at www.cnyequity.org/signup. Enter your name and email address and each day a new challenge – typically a video, article or podcast – will be sent.  The 21-Day Challenge is a national campaign developed by two renowned diversity experts that has been adopted by organizations across the country. The timeframe is based on the idea that it takes three weeks to develop a new habit.

Upstate Chief Diversity Officer Daryll C. Dykes, PhD, MD, JD, encourages everyone at Upstate to participate.

“This challenge could not have come at a more perfect time for Upstate and this community,” Dykes said. “We are deep in the work of taking Upstate in a bold new direction to improve our diversity, equity and inclusion. While five Tiger Teams of approximately 100 Upstate staff, students and faculty members are working regularly to improve a sense of belonging here, this challenge is an opportunity for the entire campus to think critically about these issues.  The self-reflection that is possible through this 21-day challenge is vital to Upstate’s ability to change, grow and improve. We must all take responsibility for creating a stronger sense of belonging here and I applaud the United Way for providing the opportunity.”

Upstate’s five working Tiger Teams were born of a 162-page report issued in August from Upstate’s 2020 Diversity Task Force, which included 65 action items related to diversity, equity and inclusion. That report mentions the 21-Day Racial Equity Building Challenge several times as a high-quality program Upstate should utilize.

Participants are encouraged to sign up for the challenge before Oct. 1 but can sign up at any time before Oct. 21. The program is free and open to anyone in Central New York and beyond. Each day’s content will also be available on the website’s Resource Library page for later reading and reference.

United Way of Central New York President Nancy Kern Eaton shared her enthusiasm for the project.

We are extremely encouraged by the community response to the CNY 21-Day Racial Equity Habit Building Challenge,” Eaton said. “In just over one week, more than 75 participating partners, representing a cross section of industries, have signed on to promote the challenge within their organizations.

The support of some of our area’s largest employers such as Upstate, Onondaga County, the City of Syracuse, and Syracuse University demonstrates that we are a community dedicated to improving ourselves, and our region, through an act of collective self-discovery.”