ABA-Wide 21-Day Racial Equity Habit-Building Challenge ©

If we are to live up to our own time, then victory won't lighten in the blade,/But in all of the bridges we have made. /That is the promise to glade, the hill be climbed. /If only we dare it because being American is more than a pride we inherit./ It is the past we step into and how we repair it.

-Amanda Gorman

The ABA Diversity and Inclusion Advisory Council is proud to announce our participation in a “21-Day Racial Equity Habit-Building Challenge ©,” and we invite all ABA members to join us. The 21-Day Challenge concept was conceived several years ago by diversity expert Eddie Moore, Jr. to advance deeper understandings of the intersections of race, power, privilege, supremacy and oppression. We are grateful to him for publicly sharing and encouraging others to use this concept as an educational tool. 

This Challenge builds off of the Challenge created by the Labor and Employment Law Section in June 2020, which created its own syllabus for the Section. 

The Goal of the Challenge

The goal of the Challenge is to assist each of us to become more aware, compassionate, constructive, engaged people in the quest for racial equity. It transcends our roles as lawyers. Non-lawyers are also welcome to participate.

How it Works

It is, of course, completely voluntary to do, and participation in the Challenge shall not be construed as agreement with every word of every assignment nor a commitment by any person to a particular professional position or strategy. Further, participants are free to opt out of participating along the way. There is no grade at the end of the Challenge. While it is not the intention of the Challenge to cause offense, some participants may be offended by some language used in the lessons.

The Challenge invites participants to complete a syllabus of 21 short assignments (typically taking 15-30 minutes), over 21 consecutive days, that include readings, videos or podcasts. It has been intentionally crafted to focus on the Black American experience. The assignments seek to expose participants to perspectives on elements of Black history, identity and culture, and to the Black community’s experience of racism in America. Even this focus on Black Americans cannot possibly highlight all of the diversity of experiences and opinions within the Black community itself, much less substitute for learnings about any other community of color. This syllabus is but an introduction to what we hope will be a rewarding journey that extends far beyond the limits of this project.

Access the Syllabus

See a day-by-day breakdown of the Syllabus below, or you can access the full syllabus, including reflection/discussion questions, additional links from ABA entities, and ABA entity-recommended resources at this link. 

21-Day Racial Equity Habit-Building Challenge is the registered copyright of America & Moore, LLC. 2014. 


Opening

Black History is US History, Part I

Black History is US History, Part II

Changing the Educational Landscape toward Equity, Part I

Changing the Educational Landscape toward Racial Equity, Part II; Equity in Child Welfare

Racial Equity in Law School Education

Young Lawyers Advancing Racial Equity and Implicit Bias Learning

  • Melissa Little, Implicit Bias: Be an Advocate for Change, TYL (May 2018). [Submitted by the Young Lawyers Division]
  • Take one or more short, visual tests from Harvard’s Implicit Association Test to learn more about how implicit associations work. Please focus on Race, Race-Weapons, or Skin Tone Implicit Association Test (IAT) [Submitted by D&I Advisory Council 21-Day Challenge Committee]

Building Racial Equity within Legal Workplaces, Part I

Building Racial Equity within Legal Workplaces, Part II

Economic Inequity is the Legacy of Racial Inequality

Recognizing Racial Equity as a Matter of Basic Survival      

The Moral and Ethical Imperative for Business and Law to Advance Equity

Mass Incarceration is America’s Shame and Black America’s Burden

Ending Police Brutality that Disproportionately Impacts Black Americans

Black to the Future

Ending Courtroom Bias

How Legislation and Local Action Can Advance Racial Justice

Intersectionality: Is the Legal Profession Hostile to Black Women?     

Intersectionality: Black Immigrant Experiences

Dismantling White Supremacy

Restorative Justice

  • Ta-Nehisi Coates, The Case for Reparations, (The Atlantic, May 21, 2014). [Submitted by D&I Advisory Council 21-Day Challenge Committee]
  • Alice Walker, The World Rising (2017). [Submitted by D&I Advisory Council 21-Day Challenge Committee]

 


Building Racial Equity within Legal Workplaces, Part I


Building Racial Equity within Legal Workplaces, Part I


Building Racial Equity within Legal Workplaces, Part I

Additional Resources

Discussion Questions

View discussion questions for Week 1 below. This site will be updated with additional questions as the Challenge continues!

Day 1: Opening

  • What are your goals in completing this Challenge?

  • What is a primary theme of Amanda Gorman’s poem that stands out to you?

  • What is the greatest “hill” the US needs to climb at this moment in history?

  • What did you learn about slavery and Reconstruction in school? 

    • How does what you learned growing up compare with Nikole Hannah-Jones’s overview of these periods in U.S. history?

Day 2: Black History is US History, Part I 

  • Review this quote from the Eddie S. Glaude, Jr. piece: “The current crisis around policing and the protests in the streets confront us with the ugliness of who we are as a nation….This moral reckoning requires confession and repair.”

    • What might “confession and repair” look like to you in your community? What actions are required?

  • What was the Great Migration? How did the Great Migration impact U.S. history and modern culture today? How did it impact you?

Day 3: Black History is US History, Part II

  • What did you know about the Black Panther Party before watching Austin Curtis’s talk? What do you know now?

    • To what reason/s do you attribute the collective misconceptions about the Black Panther Party?

  • Consider the story that purportedly sparked the 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre. What does that story have in common with other instances of racial violence in U.S. history?  

Day 4: Changing the Educational Landscape toward Equity, Part I

  • ·What role do adults play in children’s lives to help them observe and combat the formation or perpetuation of harmful implicit bias behaviors?

  • What is the first step to combating implicit bias that the article by Nicole Scialabba recommends? Is this step a norm in your workplace? Why or why not?

Day 5: Changing the Educational Landscape toward Racial Equity, Part II; Equity in Child Welfare

  • Does proximity to those of different races than ourselves change our behavior or beliefs? Why or why not?

  • What systemic changes are most critical in the public school system and in the child welfare systems after listening to and reading these resources?

  • Why and how have these systems remained the same year after year?

Day 6: Racial Equity in Law School Education

  • ·If you are an attorney, how did the law school classroom allow or not allow flawed, racist, or other inaccurate legal arguments to flourish?

 

  • If you are not an attorney, how can you use social media to push for racial equity in your workplace or other spaces where you live and work?

Day 7: Young Lawyers Advancing Racial Equity and Implicit Bias Learning

  • What is a key takeaway you have from Desmond Meade’s work?

  • What were your IAT results? How will your results push you to reflect on your behaviors moving forward?

Day 8: Building Racial Equity within Legal Workplaces, Part I

  • What are the implications of lawyers who are women of color receiving the brunt of microaggressions in the legal workplace?

  • How aware were/are you of the microaggressions that women of color face in the workplace? Why is that so?

Day 9: Building Racial Equity within Legal Workplaces, Part II

  • What policies does your organization have that do not make space for Black employees, especially after traumatic events in the news that disproportionately impact Black employees?

  • The Nextions article on writing samples is less than 7 years old. If the same study were to be conducted in your law firm today, do you think the results would be similar? Why or why not? 

  • What are historical issues that have contributed to Black employees not receiving credit (be it origination credit, as in law firms, or other types of credit relevant to non-law firm organizations) for their work?

Day 10: Economic Inequity is the Legal of Racial Inequality

  • How are the statistics shared in the articles about Black generational wealth and poverty reflective of the inherent racial segregation of many communities?

  • What are the impacts of such disproportionately inherited wealth? 

  • What is the source/s of inherited wealth?

Day 11: Recognizing Racial Equity as a Matter of Basic Survival

  • The articles on this day discuss racism in the healthcare system, and the life-threatening outcomes that it can and does generate. How does racism in the legal profession intersect with the healthcare sector?

    • How can/does racism in the legal profession also impact (disproportionately Black) lives?

  • Consider your racial and ethnic background. How has it informed your interactions with law enforcement? What do you do when you are scared of a perceived danger in your home or neighborhood? Why?

    • How might your answer be different than someone of a different race than you? 

Day 12: The Moral and Ethical Imperative for Business and Law to Advance Equity

  • What is the difference between “morals” and “ethics” with regard to the legal profession? Why is advancing equity not merely a moral imperative for lawyers, but also a matter of legal ethics?

  • Has your state adopted Model Rule 8.4(g)? Do you think this Model Rule goes far enough in preventing racism and advancing equity among lawyers in their engagement with each other and the public?

Day 13: Mass Incarceration is America’s Shame and Black America’s Burden

  • Consider the history presented in Michelle Alexander’s article describing the New Jim Crow. What did you learn about and/or experience during the Nixon years and the years following regarding the War on Drugs? How does Alexander’s article change your perception of this history?

  • What has the role of rap music been in the history of mass incarceration, and in recent history regarding amplifying an array of Black experiences with police brutality and violence?

Day 14: Ending Police Brutality that Disproportionately Impacts Black Americans

  • What points do Megan Ming Francis and Juan Thomas make about the ineffectiveness of approaching issues of police brutality against Black Americans as ones of simply “bad apples”?

  • What is the history of policing in the U.S? Why is this context so important in today’s conversations about disproportionate police violence against Black Americans?

Day 15: Black to the Future

  • Why is learning about the past so critical to moving forward?

  • How have you been working to educate yourself on topics of Black History that are oftentimes not taught in U.S. schools?

  • How can the workplace be a conduit for further learning on Black History and the role of current systems of power on the impacts of slavery and other historic injustices (specifically those against Black Americans)?

Day 16: Ending Courtroom Bias

  • What is your reaction to learning that even judges can be biased? Do you feel this conversation is discussed enough?

    • For those who attended law school, what did you learn about judges and how people become judges? Is there an implicit assumption that they are “free from bias”?

Day 17: How Legislation and Local Action Can Advance Racial Justice

  • Desmond Meade shares his experiences in Florida as an activist and leader. He speaks in some of his answers about his law degree and the benefit being a lawyer provides to his work. What unique benefits can lawyers provide in the conversation around activism, local action, and affecting policy change in their communities? 

  • Consider the conversation around Confederate monuments from the CNN podcast. Does your organization uphold monuments, either literal or figurative, from the past that are harmful or speak to a time in history that caused disproportionate harm to Black people? Why have those monuments remained? How can they be removed?

Day 18: Intersectionality: Is the Legal Profession Hostile to Black Women?

  • What is intersectionality? The term was initially coined in relationship to the legal profession, specifically related to an employment discrimination case brought forward by Black women. How do you define intersectionality?

  • The question for the theme of this day’s reading is mostly rhetorical, but what are the ways in which the article details how the legal profession is hostile to Black women?

    • What are ways change could take place to eliminate the disproportionate hostility Black women legal professionals face?

Day 19: Intersectionality: Black Immigrant Experiences

  • President Biden has deported thousands of Black immigrants (primarily from Haiti) since the start of his administration, and past Presidents of both parties have also targeted Black immigrants for deportations historically. 

  • What are the impacts that Black immigrants uniquely face at the intersections of race, national origin, native tongue, and immigrant status?

Day 20: Dismantling White Supremacy

  • How does white supremacy operate on a national scale? A global scale?

  • Reflect back (as you may have earlier in this Challenge) on what you learned in school about race. Did your textbooks discuss white people with the same specificity they discussed Black people?

  • How does avoiding discussing race issues in textbooks and other teaching material perpetuate inequality and white supremacy?

Day 21: Restorative Justice

  • What are reparations? Is this your first time learning about them? If so, why do you think that could be? If not, when did you first learn about them?

  • How have economic inequity and racial inequity been intertwined in US history, especially related to laws and policies?

  • How will you seek to make change and work toward restorative justice?

 

Pledge Groups

The following ABA entities and affiliated groups have had participants (current # listed in parentheses, and counting!) who have pledged to participate in the Challenge: 

  • American Immigration Lawyers Association 
  • Center for Human Rights 
  • Commission on Hispanic Legal Rights and Responsibilities 
  • Commission on Immigration 
  • Forum on Franchising 
  • Government and Public Sector Lawyers Division 
  • Judicial Division 
  • Law Student Division 
  • Section of Antitrust Law
  • Section of Business Law 
  • Section of Civil Rights and Social Justice 
  • Section of International Law 
  • Section of Labor and Employment Law 
  • Section of Litigation 
  • Section of Real Property, Trusts, and Estates 
  • Solo, Small Firm, and General Practice Division 

If you would like to pledge to join the Challenge, click here (ABA affiliation is not required to participate)

Special Thanks

Special Thanks to the D&I Advisory Council 21-Day Challenge Committee: 

  • Samantha Grant, Section of Labor and Employment Law; 21-Day Challenge Committee Chair
  • Justice Adrienne Nelson, Diversity and Inclusion Center and Advisory Council Chair 
  • Kelly Dermody, Section of Labor and Employment Law
  • Michelle Jacobson, Section of International Law
  • Lillian Moy, Coalition on Racial and Ethnic Justice
  • Maureen Mulligan, Commission on Women in the Profession
  • Juan Thomas, Section of Civil Rights and Social Justice