Week 1: VOTING
We encourage you to refer to the Aspen Institute’s structural racism glossary for key terms and definitions that will come up in the challenge.
Option 1: Watch this video that explains that, while race and racism have a real and significant impact on our lives, race is a social construct and one that has changed over time. None of the broad categories that come to mind when we talk about race can capture an individual’s unique story. For more information, read this article on how science and genetics are reshaping our understanding of race.
Option 2: Read this article defining Anti Racism and why the term is so powerful. If you are ready for a deep dive, you can listen to the podcast featuring historian Ibram X. Kendi, author of How to be An Antiracist.
Option 3: Watch this video about the difference between being non-racist and anti-racist. YWCA’s 21 Day Challenge will encourage you and give you tools to be an anti-racist because it doesn’t require that you always know the right thing to say or do in any given situation. It asks that you take action and work against racism wherever you find it including, and perhaps most especially, in yourself.
The fight for women’s suffrage was not as straightforward as you might think. Today we will examine the intersections of race and gender and how this played out during the fight for the 19th Amendment. Black women were marginalized in the movement and their contributions sidelined by history. Today, we will look back at these pioneering leaders and how they laid the groundwork for universal suffrage and the civil rights movement.
Option 1: Read this article about the African American suffragists who fought for the right to vote, while fighting racist backlash from the movements white leadership, many of whom did not believe that any black person should have the right to vote before white women.
Option 2: Watch this video that re-frames the way we look at the suffrage movement and encourages us to do more to honor and remember the black women who bravely fought for universal suffrage.
Option 3: Read about five amazing women of color who bravely fought for the abolition of slavery, the rights of women, and civil rights in the United States. They pioneered the idea of intersectionality more than a century before the term would be officially coined in 1989.
Today, we are looking at the history of voter suppression and how people of color were systemically kept from the ballot box, as well as the challenges they had to overcome in order to exercise their right to vote. Today’s activities will provide much-needed context for tomorrow’s challenge, which will show how voter suppression has changed over time and how it is disenfranchising marginalized communities today.
Option 1: From the 1890’s to the 1960’s literacy tests were designed to disenfranchise people of color from voting (white men were exempt). Print out and try to complete this test. Be sure to set a timer before you start, you would have been given 10 minutes to finish.
Option 2: View this interactive timeline of the history of the Voting Rights Act and see how access to the vote has been expanded and restricted over time.
Option 3: Read this article highlighting the role that the Voting Rights Act played in protecting Asian Americans’ voting rights. Until 1952, federal policy barred immigrants of Asian descent from becoming U.S. citizens and having access to the vote.
Yesterday you learned about voter suppression and its impact on American history and people of color. Today, we are going to learn how voter suppression continues to impact our democracy and disenfranchise marginalized groups. With 2020 being a significant election year, it is important that we recognize the barriers to voting that many people still face and work to eliminate those barriers, so that our representatives and laws reflect our increasingly diverse country.
Option 1: Read this article and see how the fight for universal suffrage began and how modern voter suppression tactics continue to deny the vote to people of color.
Option 2: The right of Native Americans to vote in U.S. elections was not recognized until 1948. Read this article on the systemic barriers to voting that Native Americans face today and what steps are being taken to protect the suffrage of Indigenous people.
Option 3: 150 years after the 15th Amendment was passed, barriers to voting remain. Learn about how social media, gerrymandering, access to polling places and other strategies have all been used to limit access to the ballot box.
Every 10 years the federal government undertakes the important task of counting every person living in the United States. Today, you are going to learn about the Census’ history, why people of color are routinely undercounted, and how this unsung program impacts the lives of every American without most of us even realizing it.
Option 1: Read this article about how the census was historically used as a tool to silence people of color. You’ll also learn how certain tactics continue today and why the debate over adding a citizenship question to the 2020 Census may depress engagement from the Latinx community.
Option 2: Watch this video about the challenges facing the 2020 census and how failing to accurately count the population would threaten the integrity of the country’s most authoritative dataset that drives public policy.
Option 3: Listen to YWCA USA’s Organize Your Butterflies podcast about their YWomenCount campaign to encourage everyone to participate in the 2020 census.
Option 4: Read this article from University Hospitals about the importance of counting children in the 2020 Census and its impact on driving health policy.