920.563.8880 [email protected]

The United Way of Jefferson & North Walworth Counties is joining forces with the United Way of Wisconsin to offer a state-wide 21 Week Equity Challenge available at no cost to all community members.

“Our United Way is grateful to be able to participate in, and help promote, this amazing educational series offered by the United Way of Wisconsin,” states Megan Hartwick, United Way executive director.  “The 21 Week Equity Challenge will provide a powerful opportunity for individuals to develop a deeper understanding of how inequity and racism affect all of our lives and our communities.”

The 21 Week Challenge begins on Monday, February 1st to kick-off Black History Month, and continues with weekly Monday emails through June 21st. Each week, participants will receive emails focused on a specific topic, taking them through a journey that starts with understanding internalized racism and explores how racism permeates person-to-person interactions, institutions, and social structures.

“United Way believes that participation in this educational challenge will help deepen understanding, suggest ways to act, and help launch people into a lifelong commitment to improving equity and inclusion in our communities,” Hartwick adds.

Board themes that will be covered in the weekly emails will range from definition & general concepts, internalized racism, interpersonal racism, institutional racism and structural racism. The content will include an action related to reading, watching or listening to information, will ask participants to reflect using provided questions, and will invite learners to continue their work through suggested follow-up behaviors. Note taking sheets and a general guide for group discussions will also be provided.

United Way is encouraging community members to register and is also suggesting that other community organizations and local businesses considering registering members and employees, in an effort to expand upon their work related to racial inequity. Our local United Way will also be participating in the challenge, with the director, some board members and volunteers already registered.

“Our United Way’s mission is to fight for the health, education and financial stability of every person in our communities. That mission calls on us to confront any challenges and disparities that exist within our communities related to those building blocks for a strong quality of life,” Hartwick adds. “Within our pillars of focus – health, education and financial stability – we are learning more about how residents in our communities face racial and ethnic disparities. Most importantly, we are eager to learn more about how our work can address those barriers and how we can involve others in that work.”

The challenge will be hosted by the United Way of Wisconsin, with full and active participation from our local United Way. Residents are encouraged to visit the United Way of Wisconsin platform to register:  www.unitedwaywi.org/equity. The link can also be found on our local United Way’s Facebook page and website at www.uwjnwc.com.

“We hope to have a strong turnout of Jefferson County residents participating in this opportunity,” Hartwick states. “Our office looks forward to connecting with those who join, so we can further our local work related to ensuring equity for all of our community members.”

Participants are encouraged to follow the Facebook pages for both United Way of Wisconsin (@unitedwaywi) and United Way of Jefferson & North Walworth Counties (@uwjnwc), and to share their own participation and learning experience throughout the 21 weeks.

Any questions, comments or requests for further information can be directed to the United Way office at 920.563.8880 or [email protected].