The Triandiflou Institute for Equity, Diversity, Inclusion and Transformative Practice invites you to participate in SUNY Oswego’s second annual Oz Equity Challenge, a three-week interactive program running Monday, February 13 through Friday, March 3, 2023.
The Oz Equity Challenge is designed to help all of us dedicate time and space to building more effective social justice habits. Each day of the challenge features a module intended to raise our awareness about a different social justice issue, deepen our understanding, and shift our thinking and behavior. As a whole, the challenge will provide participants with tool kits and resources for building and elevating their social justice practices.
How to Participate
You can register to participate online by end of day Wednesday, February 15, 2023. Registration will close on Wednesday, February 15. Faculty and staff: please contact Anneke McEvoy at [email protected] if you are interested in having your class or area participate in the challenge together. This year we are offering an opportunity for participants to identify themselves when registering to better offer recognition for those who are able to complete the challenge.
This year’s challenge, though different in some ways from last year’s, will again provide short articles, videos, and activities to inform and connect our community around topics such as justice, equity, diversity, inclusion and belonging.
We have organized the content of this year’s challenge into three pillars:
- Building a Foundation
- Understanding Systems
- Interrupting Injustice
Each week of this year’s challenge, Monday through Thursday, will consist of four days of topics related to the week’s overarching theme. Each day will offer a few resources to review and reflection questions to consider as you explore the day’s topic. Resources are selected with brevity in mind, so each day of the challenge should require less than 20 minutes of your time. You don’t have to study every resource; choose the format that works for you and the content that speaks to you. Some days there will be more resources to consider than others.
Opportunities for Dialogue
Each Friday of the challenge – on 2/17, 2/24, and 3/3 – the Triandiflou Institute will host an opportunity for dialogue from 2-4 p.m. in 206 Penfield Library. This will allow participants to further explore and share their thoughts about one of the week’s topics.
Do I receive an incentive for participating?
The first 20 participants to sign up will have the chance to win a T-shirt from the Triandiflou Institute! At the end of the challenge, participants will earn a certificate that reflects their level of engagement.
- Challenge Superstar - Completes 12 reflections and attends three Equity Dialogues
- Challenge Star - Completes 12 out of 15 engagement opportunities, for example: 12 reflections, or ten reflections and two dialogues, or nine reflections and three dialogues
- Challenge Completer - Completes 10 out of 15 engagement opportunities, for example ten reflections or eight reflections and two dialogues
What are the key components of the challenge?
Registered participants will receive daily emails that include short readings and/or videos, and/or resources along with discussion questions that we encourage you to process alone and with a pair/group of individuals. You will be asked to submit your responses to discussion questions as a way for us to track your participation for recognition, and to help us better understand what participants are gaining from the experience and what questions they still have.
Each daily module will be shared via email (for registered participants), in Oswego Today, and posted to the Oz Equity Challenge webpage. The daily modules will also be archived for future reference.
The challenge is inclusive of all knowledge levels, so we hope students, faculty, staff and administrators of all identities will engage through the entire three weeks. Whether you are new to thinking about social justice and equity, interested in further building your knowledge, or looking for videos, articles, or activities to share with students or colleagues, this challenge is for all of us.
By reflecting on our own identities, the experiences connected to our identities and how they define us, we can become better able to articulate our own experiences and by extension to understand the experiences of others.
Our function to hold biases is wired into the oldest part of our brains, the amygdala. Understanding that biases are universal, then recognizing how they function in our daily lives and actions, we can begin to address them and interrupt them when they hold us back or do harm.
Nonviolent Communication (NVC) is an important tool in building understanding and community. Marshall Rosenberg, who developed this model of communication, asserted that all emotions arise from met or unmet needs. NVC invites us to recognize our feelings and needs, share our lived experiences, and listen to and learn from each other.
Empathy as a concept is pretty easy to grasp, but it can be difficult to practice. It takes thought and intention to truly grasp the feelings and experiences of another person.
Equity in education requires practices, policies, and procedures to support academic fairness and inclusion. Inequities in education start early with lifelong impacts on children and communities. Gaps in educational opportunity stem from historic and current social and economic conditions.
This week we will focus on health disparities and how systems of oppression create and maintain inequitable health outcomes for BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, and People of Color) and traditionally marginalized populations.
Elements of a healthy, equitable community — such as affordable housing, parks, quality schools, a thriving economy, environmental quality, access to healthy food, and connected transportation systems — provide cumulative health and equity benefits.
The U.S. has the highest incarceration rate in the world. Between 1970-2005 the U.S. population grew by 44% while the prison population grew by a staggering 700%. People of color represent over 60% of state prison populations. Multiple studies of these racial disparities identify three recurrent explanations: policies and practices that drive disparity; the role of bias and stereotypes in decision-making; and structural disadvantages in communities of color which are associated with high rates of offending and arrest.
Inclusion is the act of creating environments in which any individual or group can be and feel welcomed, respected, supported, and valued to fully participate. An inclusive and welcoming climate embraces differences and offers respect in words and actions for all people. Inclusion creates trust, belonging, happiness, bonding and even better engagement and productivity.
According to the Truth, Racial Healing, & Transformation (TRHT) implementation guide, the concept of narrative change refers to the fact that the human brain is hardwired to capture stories and associated images to construct conscious and implicit meaning and beliefs. Stories make up our individual and collective narratives about reality. Achieving racial equity and healing from the trauma of centuries of legal, institutional, and structured racial hierarchy requires transforming our experiences, stories, and understandings about the equal and inherent value of all humanity.
Belonging is identified as a basic human need in Maslow’s pyramid. Human beings are happier and healthier when they feel they belong. When that belonging is lacking, it affects their self concept and ability to experience fulfillment. People experience belonging in families, clubs, neighborhoods, faith communities, interest groups, schools and so many more places.
While investigating systems of oppression and marginalization, it is worth noting the empowering and self-defining work happening in and and around many communities. Some steps to empowerment include: understanding barriers to change; seeking to transform, not only transact, knowing and stating your purpose in this work, creating space for reflection; and promoting “shared power” vs. “power over.”