How can/do you celebrate the beauty of diversity and difference in your food system work/volunteerism/studies?

The main premise of Islam is peace and submission to a higher power.  Embedded in peace is naturally being just and bringing justice to those who face injustice. This 21-Day Racial Equity Habit Building Challenge builds on the concept of bringing peace by identifying injustice, and creating mechanisms to understand one another and the beauty of our differences.  The Holy Quran states: “And among His wonders is this: He creates you from dust, and behold, you are human beings spreading far and wide!” (The Quran 30:20).  This is a clear instruction that human beings are varied all over the earth.

An imam recited this verse from the Quran that contained clear political messages for the new president and his administration, “O humankind, We have created you a single male and female and made you into nations and tribes and communities, that you may know one another. Really, the most honored of you in the sight of God is the most righteous of you, and God has all knowledge…” (49:13). Read more in this CNN report

As the Muslim Holy Month of Ramadan approaches (May 26-June 25, 2017), a time of reflection, take this opportunity to reflect on the beauty of our differences and ways to be accepting of all. How are you celebrating the beauty of diversity and difference in your food system work/volunteerism/studies? How might you?

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How can you be more inclusive and work for racial equity in your food system-related messaging and communications?

Consider any current challenges you face in communicating effectively about race, racism, and racial justice in the food system. Read The Opportunity Agenda’s tip sheet on Lesson for Talking About Race, Racism and Racial Justice. What are three ways that you can be more intentional, inclusive, and effective in your communications/ messaging about race, racism, and racial justice?

What are transformative stories that can serve the ends of justice in the food system?

Like yesterday, consider The Storytelling Curriculum (here again is a summary article). Identify three resistance stories in the food system that might be amplified. For examples of resistance stories, read this article on the Federation of Southern Cooperatives, or this one on the Coalition of Immokalee Workers.) How can you build on and amplify resistance stories to interrupt the status quo and work for change? What is one counter/transformative story that you can use to challenge the stock stories you identified yesterday? For an example of a counter/transformative story, read this brief piece on Shirley Sherrod’s journey, and her most recent work on a remarkable farm and cooperative venture at Cypress Pond.

Whose stories are highlighted and not highlighted and what kinds of stories are told and not told in your food system work and studies?

Read this article about The Storytelling Curriculum, which talks about different kinds of stories – stock, concealed, and resistance. Name three stock stories in or surrounding your food system-related work/volunteerism/studies that keep the current dominant system in place. Identify three concealed stories (if you can’t come up with any, ask others). What does this bring up for you? See this link for the entire Storytelling Curriculum.

In your food system-focused work/volunteerism/studies, whose voices are included and excluded?

As the staff of Race Forward write, “The persistence of racial disparities across society is evidence of institutional racism––the routine, often invisible and unintentional, creation and recreation of inequitable social opportunities and outcomes. When racial equity is not consciously addressed, racial inequality is often unconsciously replicated.” One tool to help is a racial equity impact assessment, which is an examination of how different racial and ethnic groups will likely be affected by a proposed action or decision. Read through this explanation of racial equity impact assessments. Then consider whose voices are included in your food system work/volunteerism/studies. At the end of the day, do people of a certain racial identity dominate decision-making? Bring a racial equity impact assessment to your class/group/work and share what the impact was.

How can you use micro-inclusions to counter micro-aggressions?

Small acts can have big impacts, both negative and positive. Read this blog post – 21 Racial Microaggressions You Hear on a Daily Basis and this blog post on “micro-inclusions” as a counter to micro-aggressions. Identify three micro-aggressions that you have experienced, observed, or committed in your food system-related work/volunteerism/studies. How might these be countered, including through the use of micro-inclusions?

How does implicit bias show up in your work/volunteerism/studies and how can you effectively address it?

Implicit bias refers to the attitudes or stereotypes that affect our understanding, actions, and decisions in an unconscious manner. These biases, which include both favorable and unfavorable judgments, are activated without our awareness or control. Watch this video clip from a television program on implicit bias. Then take the Implicit Association Test focused on race and on other dimension of diversity. What struck or surprised you about your implicit association test (IAT) results? What implications arise from the results for your work/volunteerism/studies in the food system? If you have previously taken the IAT, were your results different this time? If so, how and why do you think this is so? For more about implicit bias, look at the State of the Science from the Kirwan Institute. Read this short blog post on implicit bias and de-biasing strategies and name three examples of the way that implicit bias shows up in your food system-related work, workplace, on campus/in the classroom. What is at least one de-biasing strategy you can use in each of these instances? Also you might consider signing up for a 7 day bias cleanse.