United Way of Illinois Launches '21 Week Equity Challenge

The statewide association invites all Illinois' residents to take the learning challenge

Chicago, IL – Janurary 6, 2021 - United Way of Illinois is launching a '21 Week Equity Challenge' this week. Following a year of unrest and strife, this free, online learning program will provide lessons and resources for Illinoisians to learn about racial issues and systemic inequalities, together.

"Our association, in partnership with local United Ways, is so excited to be taking this journey with our communities," said Eithne McMenamin, Director of Public Policy and Advocacy for United Way of Illinois. "This is an excellent opportunity to learn -- personally and professionally -- have necessary conversations, and equip our communities to engage meaningfully in the work of racial understanding and healing."

The United Way of Illinois 21 Week Equity Challenge encourages individuals, families, friends and co-workers to have racial equity conversations to gain a deeper understanding about the impact systemic racism and inequality have on our state and in our local communities. United, we can help create a stronger, more equitable Illinois economy and stronger, more inclusive Illinois communities.

From Martin Luther King Jr. Day (1/18) to Juneteenth (6/19), participants will complete weekly learning assignments about equity, racism, bias and more. The 15-minute assignments include readings, videos, and questions for participants to consider. Upon completion, they'll receive a digital certificate and tips and tools to help continue the conversation in their local community.

The 21 Week Equity Challenge is supported by Healing Illinois, the State of Illinois, The Chicago Community Trust and United Way of Illinois. The weekly curriculum was designed by United Way of Champaign, using evolving content originally created by United Way of Washtenaw County in Michigan. New challenge content will be released on a weekly basis.

United Way of Metro Chicago is proud to join United Way of Illinois and 43 other local United Ways across the state to embark on the 21 Week Equity Challenge. United Way staff and leadership will participate, as well as corporate partners, volunteers and donors.

"Tackling inequality and racism isn't just about the work we do in communities, it's about the work we each do in our individual lives, too. Building an equitable region, and world, requires all of us to learn, expand our thinking and take action. The 21 Week Equity Challenge will help us begin building that foundational knowledge," said Sean Garrett, President and CEO of United Way of Metro Chicago. "I, and our team here in Chicago, have accepted the Challenge. We invite our neighbors, partners and donors across the region to join, too."

You can take the pledge today by visiting www.unitedwayillinois.org/equity-challenge.

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About United Way of Illinois
United Way of Illinois is an association of local United Ways representing communities across Illinois. The organization. We advance the common good through public policy. We monitor the activity of government, review legislation, and educate the general public and our public officials related to their impact on human services and on our local communities.

About United Way of Metro Chicago
United Way of Metro Chicago brings together businesses, government, nonprofits, and community leaders to deliver funding, resources, and expertise to nonprofit organizations across greater Chicago. We are working alongside our partners at the neighborhood level to tackle the systemic issues that have plagued our region, creating communities where children and families can thrive. United, we’re building stronger neighborhoods for a stronger Chicago region.


Media Contacts:
United Way of Metro Chicago – Marilyn Jackson, 312-906-2387, marilyn.jackson@liveunitedchicago.org
Prosper Strategies – Walker Post, 773-597-7504, walker@prosper-strategies.com

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