Program Overview

21 Day Challenge

The Institutional Diversity Committee at Elms College has curated a 21-Day challenge for faculty and staff to enhance a deeper understanding of topics related to racial justice.  This 3-week program runs from September 16-October 6, 2022 and will focus on three weekly themes: Historical Context of Race and Racism; Whiteness and Privilege; Steps Forward. Together with their peer accountability partner, each participant will be expected to review a series of selected articles, short videos and/or podcasts in a weekly sequence, inspired by Dr. Eddie Moore’s 21 Day Challenge. Partners will then come together each week for a Community Open Dialogue Workshop over lunch in the Faculty Dining Room. A Certificate of completion will be provided to participants present for all meetings.


Program Schedule (faculty and staff)

September 16, 2022 12:15-1:15: Program Kick-off for all participants over Zoom (register for link)

September 22, 2022 12:15-1:15 (FDR); Community Lunch and Workshop: Historical Context of Race and Racism

September 29, 2022 12:15-1:15 (FDR); Community Lunch and Workshop: Whiteness and Privilege

October 6, 2022        12:15-1:15 (FDR); Community Lunch and Workshop: Steps Forward

Friday, Sep 23 theme one 12:15-1:15

Friday, Sep 30 theme two 12:15-1:15

Friday, Oct 7 theme three 12:15-1:15

Program Goals

Participants in this program will:

  • discover where they are on their diversity, equity, and inclusion and justice (DEIJ) journey.
  • challenge deep rooted assumptions about race and racism
  • expose themselves to ideas and conversations central to racial justice
  • create safe spaces and opportunities for dialogue
  • acquire confidence and skills to engage in difficult conversations about race and racism
  • understand the value of community in building a more inclusive campus

Program Activities

  • Educational development through Readings and Videos
  • Peer Accountability Partner Weekly Meetings and Conversations
  • Complete Weekly Private Journal Reflections
  • Attend Community Open Dialogue Workshops
  • Review/Acknowledge Community and Peer Accountability Partner Agreements
  • Complete End of Program Survey

Peer Accountability Partner Overview

All participants in the 21-Day Challenge are encouraged to pair up with a Peer Accountability Partner. Peer Accountability Partners provide support, encouragement, and a safe space for processing ideas and feelings with a trusted colleague outside of the large group weekly meetings. You are expected to meet weekly to discuss your reactions to the selected program materials you will complete each week.  The meeting between partners allows for in-depth reflection and dialogue as a way to build community.

No Accountability Partner? No problem!

  • If you would like a peer accountability partner but haven’t paired up yet, or would like to be paired with someone that is in a different department from your own, let us know and we will help.
  • If you prefer to go solo, you are still welcome to participate in the 21 Day Challenge for Racial Justice!

Suggestions for Peer Accountability Partners:

  • Decide what check-in style works best for both of you (text, phone call, email, Zoom, in-person office meeting, go for a walk, meet for coffee/tea, etc.). Dr. Eddie Moore’s 21 Day Challenge Tracking Tool is a helpful tool for planning and tracking progress.
  • Start each week with a Peer Accountability Partner Check-in to preview that week’s challenge materials and share ideas for how you’ll fit the challenge into your schedule. Perhaps you will use time usually spent on recreational reading or other media consumption to instead read a challenge article. Could you listen to a podcast during your morning walk? Maybe you can meet up with your Peer Accountability Partner to watch videos together in-person or via Zoom.
  • Mid-week and/or end of week Peer Accountability Partner Check-ins can be used to process ideas and feelings, ask each other questions you might not feel comfortable asking the whole group, role play ways to approach old situations in new ways, and share strategies (i.e. journaling, making a list of action items, searching for additional resources about a particular topic, rereading/reviewing materials to think deeply about their message, etc.).
  • Peer Accountability Partners can support each other during the whole group weekly meetings, through their shared experience and insight into each other’s work throughout the week.
  • Moving beyond the 21 Day Challenge, your Peer Accountability Partner is part of your community and a partner in continuing these vital conversations and this very important work.

For more tips on Accountability Partners, check out “Do The Work: An Antiracist Activity Book” by W. Kamau Bell and Kate Schatz.

Peer Accountability Partner Agreement

  • Please keep in mind the following principles when working with your Peer Accountability Partner:
  • The partnership is a professional and equal relationship based on mutual respect, collegiality and trust
  • The partnership is non-hierarchical and complements (rather than replaces) other forms of professional development
  • Participants share responsibility for the relationships formed, which should be mutually valuable
  • Participation is voluntary
  • Reflection is a critical component of the partnership

Cohort partners agree to:

  • Maintain confidentiality and respect each other’s privacy
  • Be respectful, non-judgmental and supportive
  • Keep to scheduled meeting times or give adequate notice of change
  • Behave ethically at all times

Community Open Dialogue Agreement

Be open-minded

  • Embrace curiosity and be brave

Respect differences

  • We are all on different parts of a journey. Suspend your judgment about self and others—assume good intentions.

Prioritize active listening

  • Attempt to understand over trying to be understood. Speak for yourself instead of generalizing—use I statements.

Challenge ideas, not people’s experiences.

  • Take what you already think you know and ask: How can I take this deeper? Or how am I applying this in practice?

Identify your learning edge and push it.

  • Acknowledge discomfort as necessary for growth

Move beyond opinions

  • Hold your opinions lightly and with humility –Strive to move beyond opinion to informed knowledge, which comes from sustained experience, study and practice.

Take a reflective stance

  • Recognize how your own social positionality (e.g., race, class, gender, gender identity, sexuality, ability) informs your frame of reference, perspectives and reactions to others and the program materials

Don’t take things personally

  • Notice your own defensive reactions and use them as entry points for gaining deeper self-awareness

Maintain confidentiality

  • Outside of our community, only share your own stories and lessons learned.  What is learned is intended to be applied; however, do not share names or personal stories


September 16-September 22:
Please read, view or listen to at least 4 of the following program materials, reflect in your journal, meet with your peer accountability partner and attend the week’s closing lunch and community open dialogue workshop

ARTICLE: National Museum of African American History and Culture / Smithsonian:
Historical Foundations of Race 

READ and WATCH with references: National Museum of African American History and Culture / Smithsonian: Historical Foundations of Race 

READ: The Idea of America Nikole Hannah Jones

READ: Black Women aren’t Saving America. We’re Saving Ourselves.

WATCH: White Backlash Against Progress: The 3rd Reconstruction

READ: Statue Honors Once Enslaved Woman

WATCH: Racial Wealth Gap

WATCH: Segregated by Design

WATCH: How American Invented Race


September 22-September 29: Please read, view or listen to at least 4 of the following program materials, reflect in your journal, meet with your peer accountability partner and attend the week’s closing lunch and community open dialogue workshop

READ: White Privilege: Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack and other essays, Groundbreaking 1989 essay by Peggy McIntosh who lists the ways she’s beginning to recognize the way white privilege operates in her life.

READ: Explaining White Privilege to a Broke White Person, Gina Crosley-Corcoran, raised “the kind of poor that people don’t want to believe still exists in this country,” explores where race and class do and don’t intersect and how she’s come to understand her own white privilege.

READ: Harvard Historian Examines How Textbooks Taught White Supremacy Liz Mineo explains how U.S. textbooks and educational strategy became perpetrators of white supremacy

WATCH: How ‘white fragility’ reinforces racism 

WATCH: The American Lows, Excerpt Jacqueline Battalora talks about how white supremacy permeates all aspects of American society (4 mins)

WATCH: White Bred

White Bred from Ross Tierney on Vimeo.


September 29-October 6: Please read, view or listen to at least 4 of the following program materials, reflect in your journal, meet with your peer accountability partner and attend the week’s closing lunch and community open dialogue workshop

LISTEN: Episode 19: Engaging Resistance, CRT, & What’s Best for Kids Part I

LISTEN: Episode 20: Engaging Resistance, CRT, & What’s Best for Kids Part II

WATCH: How to overcome our biases? Walk boldly toward them (TedTalk video)

READ: Ally or Co-conspirator?

WATCH: A Poem for My White Friends: I Didn’t Tell You (Video/Poem)

LISTEN: Family Secrets: Melissa & Paula – “Discussion on Color-Blindness and Trans-Racial Adoption” (Podcast) 

READ: We Can Create Change Together