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Holderness School
21-Day Racial Equity
Learning Challenge

This Challenge was originally developed by Dr. Eddie Moore, Jr., Dr. Marguerite Penick-Parks and Debby Irving and has been adapted by for Holderness School by Jini Rae Sparkman. Please contact Jini Rae Sparkman ( with any question or requests for use! Click below for more information! (Photo credit: Emily Magnus. Educator photographed: Dr. Nicole Furlonge)

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Learning & Reflection Chart

Keep Track of Your Learning!

Below you will find all 21 days of our planned learning. Download the 21-Day Racial Equity Learning & Reflection Chart.

You can use it to keep track of your learning, questions, thoughts, ideas, experiences, or any other form of reflection. The challenge consists of 5 major parts and a reflection on each: read, watch, listen, notice, act. We are ready to learn and reflect together.

You will need to download or save the file to your own computer. 

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Week 1 (Days 1-7)

The Holderness Racial Equity Challenge

Week 1 is here! Don't forget to complete your learning and reflection chart. Have questions? Want more information? Let us know!

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Day 1: Who Me? Biased?

From the New York Times (6 minutes)

What does peanut butter and jelly have to do with our brains and bias? Who Me? Biased?  is a selection of short films about how our brain works and how that impacts us in ways that we may not realize. We recommend that you watch the first 2 videos in the series--"Peanut Butter, Jelly, and Racism" and "Check Our Bias to Wreck Our Bias." They will automatically play in order. Look for more from them later in the challenge!

(And don't forget to check "watch" in your chart and fill in your reflection!)


Day 2: Race, Ethnicity, Nationality, and Jelly Beans

Produced by Eliana Pipes for Encompass at the Western Justice Center (3 Minutes)

What is the difference between race, ethnicity, and nationality? And what does that have to do with Jelly Beans? Click below to watch this 3-minute video to find out! 

(And don't forget to check "watch" in your chart and fill in your reflection!)


Day 3: What it takes to be racially literate. 

Priya Vulchi and Winona Guo (A 10 Minute TED Talk)

Over the last year, Priya Vulchi and Winona Guo traveled to all 50 US states, collecting personal stories about race and intersectionality. Now they're on a mission to equip every American with the tools to understand, navigate and improve a world structured by racial division.


Day 4: "Ten Things Everyone Should Know About Race"

From the PBS docuseries, Race: The Power of an Illusion (5 minutes)

"What is this thing we call race? Where did the idea come from? “Race: The Power of an Illusion” compels viewers to examine some of their most fundamental beliefs about concepts of race." Take a look at this 4 minute read to get started thinking about what we know and have questions about!


Day 5: Color Blind or Color Brave 

Mellody Hobson (14 Minutes)

"The subject of race can be very touchy. As finance executive Mellody Hobson says, it's a "conversational third rail." But, she says, that's exactly why we need to start talking about it. In this engaging, persuasive talk, Hobson makes the case that speaking openly about race — and particularly about diversity in hiring -- makes for better businesses and a better society."


Day 6: What Does My Headscarf Mean to You?

Yassmin Abdel-Magied TEDx Talk (13 minutes)

"What do you think when you look at this speaker? Well, think again. (And then again.) In this funny, honest, empathetic talk, Yassmin Abdel-Magied challenges us to look beyond our initial perceptions, and to open doors to new ways of supporting others."

Kids in Preschool

Day 7: "Kids on Race: The Hidden Picture"

The Clark Doll Test: Then and Now (13 minutes)

Based on the original research used in Brown vs. Board of education, “renowned child psychologist and University of Chicago professor Margaret Beale Spencer, a leading researcher in the field of child development, aimed to re-create the landmark Doll Test from the 1940s.

Week 2 (Days 8-14): Expanding Perspectives

As Harper Lee wrote for Atticus Finch, "You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view... Until you climb inside of his skin and walk around in it."

The Holderness Racial Equity Challenge enters the second week of learning and growing! Join us this week as we listen, learn, and consider the perspectives of others. This is a great time to add reflections on your learning and reflection chart!

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Day 8: A Conversation with Asian American on Race

From The New York Times series, A Conversation on Race (7 minutes)

What does it mean to be Asian in America? What are the impacts of the language and stereotypes associated with being Asian?

Day 9: A Conversation with Latinos on Race

From the New York Times series, A Conversation on Race (7 minutes)

Listen and consider the experiences of Latinos, Latinas, and those with Hispanic origins speak about their experience with race.

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Day 10: A Conversation with White People on Race

From the New York Times series, A Conversation on Race (5 minutes)

What does it mean to be white in the United States? Everyday people reflect on race.

Day 12: A Conversation about Growing Up Black

From the New York Times series, A Conversation on Race (5 minutes)

From the mouth of 10 yr. old Maddox, "I want people to know that I am perfectly fine and I am not going to hurt anybody." What does it mean to grow up in America with black skin? What messages have young people received? What does it feel like to be perceived as black?

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Day 11: A Conversation with Native Americans on Race

From the New York Times series, A Conversation on Race (7 minutes)

What does language mean? What is culture? Native American people share their experiences and perspectives.

Day 13: A Conversation with Police on Race

From The New York Times series, A Conversation on Race (7 minutes)

Why become a police officer? How do race and our understandings of race impact the role of a police officer?

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Day 14: Debunking Myths About Race

Author Robin DiAngelo (3 Minutes)

Robin DiAngelo, author of “White Fragility,” unpacks common excuses white people make about race–and how to address them.

Week 3 (Days 15-21): Courageous Conversations

The Holderness Racial Equity Challenge enters its final 7 days and enters into the Courageous Conversations

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Day 15: The Life-Changing Magic of Hanging Out, Why We are Awkward, and Snacks & Punishment

From the New York Times series, "Who Me, Biased?"

Now we know what bias is but what do we do about it? Watch these 3 short videos to figure out ways to interrupt our biases!


Day 16: Words That Don't Belong to Everyone

(5 minutes)

Bestselling author Ta-Nehisi Coates answers an audience question about the N-word and the power and ownership of words at the Family Action Network event with Evanston Township High School


Day 17: What We Get Wrong About Affirmative Action

From Vox (10 minutes)

What is affirmative action? Where did it come from? What is the controversy? Who has benefited?

College Campus

Day 18: If You See Racism, Say Racism

From This American Life "Birds and Bees" (18 Minutes)

Comedian W. Kamau Bell has two daughters and tries to figure out just how much about the violent history of racism and oppression his four-year-old can handle.


Day 19: 21 Things You Can Do to Be More Respectful of Native American Cultures

(5 minutes)

From Tara Dowd, Inupiaq; Randy Ramos, Colville and Coeur D’Alene; James Lovell, Turtle Mountain Ojibwe; Joey Gray, Métis, and Okanagan; Vicki Mudd, nondocumented Cherokee and Blackfoot; and Miriam Zbignew-Angelova, Choctaw, Cherokee, Chickasaw, Sauk/Fox, and African-American and Ashkenazi.


Day 20: Being Outdoorsy When You Are Black or Brown

NPR's Code Switch Podcast (20 Minutes)

"Truth is, people of color aren't heading to national parks in droves. In fact, according to the National Park Service, last year about 80 percent of all national parks visitors, volunteers and staff were white....There are real reasons, both historical and contemporary, that can make stepping outside in your free time while black or brown a politically charged move. At the same time, there are some really interesting organizations and individuals pushing the boundaries of what "being outdoorsy" looks like, and we wanted to know what they're up to."


Day 21: Speak Up! Responding to Everyday Bigotry

From The Southern Poverty Law Center (5-? minutes)

Your brother routinely makes anti-Semitic comments. Your neighbor uses the N-word in casual conversation. Your co-worker ribs you about your Italian surname, asking if you’re in the mafia. Your classmate insults something by saying, “That’s so gay.” And you stand there, in silence, thinking, “What can I say in response to that?” Or you laugh along, uncomfortably. Or, frustrated or angry, you walk away without saying anything, thinking later, “I should have said something.” When a Native American man at one roundtable discussion spoke of feeling ostracized at work, a Jewish woman nodded in support. When an African American woman told of daily indignities of racism at school, a white man leaned forward and asked what he could do to help. When an elderly lesbian spoke of finally feeling brave enough to wear a rainbow pin in public, those around the table applauded her courage. Using the stories of real people, this guide helps you to navigate those spaces and those conversations.


All-School Learning Conference

Continuing the Challenge and Conversations

Each year, Holderness School engages in an all-school conference. Click the link below to see the topics that students and teachers discussed specific to race.

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