June 8, 2021

Day 1: Social Identities & Systems Of Oppression

Welcome To YWCA Spokane’s 14-Day Racial Equity & Social Justice Challenge

We are grateful for you dedicating the time, space, and energy to deepen your understanding of concepts related to race, power, privilege, and leadership.

DAY 1 | DAY 2 | DAY 3 | DAY 4 | DAY 5 | DAY 6 | DAY 7 | DAY 8 | DAY 9 | DAY 10 | DAY 11 | DAY 12 | DAY 13 | DAY 14

YWCA Spokane is dedicated to eliminating racism, empowering women, standing up for social justice, helping families, and strengthening communities.  By signing up for this 14-day challenge, engaging with the content, and using it to inform the creation of more equitable habits, you are supporting the health and well-being of your community and YWCA Spokane’s mission to promote peace, justice, freedom, and dignity for all.

You will receive 14 challenge emails in total. Each will include content curated to make exploring issues related to race, power, privilege, and equitable leadership accessible, regardless of your background.

Before You Get Started

  1. Please take a moment to set your intention for participation in this challenge. Consider sharing your goals for the challenge with us by leaving a comment here or by sharing online with #YWCAEquityChallenge.
  2. We also encourage you to download this 14-Day Challenge Log.  This tool is designed to encourage reflection on the new information received and how you can take advantage of what the Challenge has to offer.
  3. Continue the conversation online and connect with others. Join YWCA Spokane’s Racial & Social Justice Facebook Group to continue the discussion and build your knowledge and community.
  4. Consider participating as a group. Invite friends, family, and co-workers to join you as you take on this daily challenge. Establishing a safe environment where you can share, ask questions, and explore, can provide opportunities for you to gain insight and a better understanding of the concepts and information provided. Accountability from supportive loved ones can ward off procrastination, helping you to remain diligent with your engagement throughout the challenge and beyond.
  5. Acknowledgement to those who inspired this challenge. We want to thank YWCA Dayton for allowing us to bring this challenge to Spokane. The equity challenge was originally developed by Dr. Eddie Moore, Jr. and Debby Irving and has been adapted by many organizations across the country.
  6. Thank you! There is no better time than now to step into action in support of an equitable community supporting peace, justice, freedom, and dignity for all. Thank you for accepting this challenge! Make sure to share this opportunity with friends.

DAY 1: Social identities & systems of oppression

Who we think we are and who others think we are has an influence on how we navigate the world, think about possibilities, and take action. Whether we are aware of it or not, we are all assigned multiple social identities, both internal and external.

Educators from oneTILT define social identity as having these three characteristics:

  • Exists (or is consistently used) to bestow power, benefits, or disadvantage
  • Is used to explain differences in outcomes, effort, or ability.
  • Is immutable or difficult, costly, or dangerous to change.

Examples of social identities include race, gender, class, ability, and sexuality.

The term “systems of oppression” helps us call attention to the historical and organized patterns of mistreatment against people with non-dominant social identities. In the United States, systems of oppression (like racism) are woven into the very foundation of American culture, society, and laws. Other examples of systems of oppression are sexism, heterosexism, ableism, classism, ageism, and anti-Semitism. Society’s institutions, such as government, education, and culture all contribute to or reinforce the oppression of marginalized social groups while elevating powerful, dominant social groups.

If you have…

5 Minutes


10 Minutes


15 Minutes

and and
Examine this graphic
to break down how oppression of various social groups becomes ingrained in our society.
and Review this blog post
by YWCA Boston, outlining the “Big 8” of social identities.
and Explore this interactive article
detailing the five main ways oppression shows up.

daily Reflection

Once you have completed today’s challenge, take a moment to reflect on any insights you experienced. How did the challenge make you feel? What is something you learned? Did you notice anything about yourself after taking the challenge? Consider sharing this new awareness with a friend or group to help deepen your understanding of the information. Consider tracking your reflections on the below daily log or joining our online Facebook group to encourage daily sharing with each other about the challenge topics.

Challenge Reflection Log

Last year, Cami participated in the 14-Day Challenge and explained why this challenge is important:

Let us know why this challenge is important to you by leaving your comment here

Share each challenge online with #YWCAEquityChallenge

DAY 1 | DAY 2 | DAY 3 | DAY 4 | DAY 5 | DAY 6 | DAY 7 | DAY 8 | DAY 9 | DAY 10 | DAY 11 | DAY 12 | DAY 13 | DAY 14

By: Rachel Dannen

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