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United Way’s Day of Caring extended; focuses on 21-day Equity challenge

United Way’s Day of Caring has been extended to three weeks and will focus on equity beginning on September 17. The 21-day Equity Challenge is targeted to raising awareness of and to inspire solutions to racial inequity.
Published: Sep. 15, 2020 at 3:11 PM CDT|Updated: Sep. 15, 2020 at 7:43 PM CDT
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QUAD CITIES (KWQC) - United Way’s Day of Caring has been extended to three weeks and will focus on equity beginning on September 17.

The 21-day Equity Challenge is targeted to raising awareness of and to inspire solutions to racial inequity.

Last year, United Way’s Fall Day of Caring brought hundreds together in the Quad Cities. There, residents volunteered time and talents to help nonprofits in the area.

On Thursday, Sept. 17, people will remotely unite “around the goal of building a stronger, more equitable Quad Cities by starting their own ‘self-guided learning journey’” with the 21-day challenge.

“It takes 21 days to change a habit. So we started this thinking that, you know, with the recent going ons, kind of what’s going on in our country right now, this would kind of be the perfect time to ease people into these topics that may not be the most comfortable,” said Kayla Babers, the project manager for the African American Leadership Society with the United Way. “It’s just a challenge to basically challenge your thinking, cause maybe some of the people..this may not be their reality and it’s easy to kind of disconnect yourself when it’s not directly affecting you so the goal was to bring about conversation.”

Babers also said it’s something everyone can get involved in

“I think the misconception is that this conversation is only for a certain group of people, wherein actuality, it’s geared towards anybody that wants to see change and to make a more equitable playing field for everybody in the Quad Cities,” she said

Dee Bruemmer has worked in the public sector in Davenport and Scott County for almost 40 years. She participated in the first session of the challenge.

“Since I’ve retired, I’ve spent quite a bit of time really trying to understand our community and where we are in terms of poverty and the gap of services. Not only children but for everyone,” she said, “If I knew what I know today..if I knew that when I arrived here in 1981..what would have been my experience or my ability to affect programming in the city to change our community,” she said.

Bruemmer also said she has taken away a lot from the program.

“There’s this term, ‘south of Locust’. That didn’t come about by itself. It is a structural issue. It came along with all the housing rules. The challenge allows you to understand the terms. It allows you to see the issues today and how they came about and then I think the best part of it, it moves into what you can do,” she said. “It’s given me the cues to think deeper. Not see it on the surface. If you do something for 20 to 25 minutes every day and it changes you that much, that’s a pretty powerful program.”

“When everybody has equity it just makes a more positive and more vibrant community,” Babers said.

“The effects of the pandemic and renewed focus on racial injustices show we’re in the middle of a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to solve the problems that we’ve put off for too long — and Quad Citizens have shown that they’re ready to show up,” said Rene Gellerman, President and CEO of United Way Quad Cities in a release. “The Day of Caring has always brought out the best in people. A community doesn’t overcome the challenges we have without an ability to do the hard work necessary to build a better life for all its residents. We’re fortunate to have caring people and strong corporate, civic and community partners who are resiliently reimagining their involvement with Day of Caring by committing to build more equitable and resilient Quad Cities, starting with the 21-Day Equity Challenge.”

Registration will end on Tuesday, Sept. 15 for the next session of United Way Quad Cities' Day of Caring: 21-Day Equity Challenge.

Those who miss the next session will be able to sign up by Oct. 22 for the third and final session.

The challenge is also a segway for the Quad Cities Equity Summit in October.

About the Challenge

The three-week program, which sends daily actions by email, aims to inspire change and help Quad Citizens develop a deeper understanding of how inequity and racism affect our lives and community.

Kicking off its first session in August, the challenge sends readings, podcasts, videos and resources to take action, most of which can be done in 10-15 minutes. Challenges can be done individually or as a group.

The equity challenge was originally developed by University of Iowa alum, Dr. Eddie Moore Jr., along with Dr. Marguerite Penick-Parks and Debby Irving, and was adapted by Food Solutions New England. United Way Quad Cities and partners Quad Cities Community Foundation, Quad Cities Chamber and Visit Quad Cities have adapted the challenge to focus on Rock Island and Scott counties.

To learn more about the United Way, visit www.unitedwayqc.org.

Copyright 2020 KWQC. All rights reserved.

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