Judicial Educators and the 21-Day Racial Equity Habit-Building Challenge

By Michael Roosevelt, NASJE Diversity Access and Fairness Committee Co-Chair and Senior Analyst for the Judicial Council of California

The day after the passing of Congressman John Robert Lewis I read his posthumous letter, “Together, You Can Redeem the Soul of Our Nation,” a call to action during this moment of racial turbulence. In this moment there is much we can do to address racial inequities starting by educating ourselves and others.   I believe diversity expert Eddie Moore Jr.’s 21-Day Racial Equity Habit- Building Challenge, now adapted by the American Bar Association, can improve our knowledge about the relationship between race, power, privilege, white supremacy, oppression and the justice system.

According to the American Bar Association,” [t]he Challenge invites participants to complete a syllabus of 21 short assignments (typically taking 15-30 minutes), over 21 consecutive days, that include readings, videos or podcasts. It has been intentionally crafted to focus on the Black American experience. The assignments seek to expose participants to perspectives on elements of Black history, identity and culture, and to the Black community’s experience of racism in America.”

As judicial educators we are always looking for innovative ways to teach and address race; and, I believe the habit-building curriculum offers a very promising approach.   However, I would take the self-study curriculum a step further by virtually convening people every seven days to check-in and share experiences with the materials, recognizing some might have read ahead and others still be at day three.  The purpose of a scheduled check-in is to see how people are progressing and offer support as they wade through difficult material.

Please take and share the Challenge with colleagues, judges, court staff and leadership.

You can also listen to actor Morgan Freeman read “Together, You Can Redeem the Soul of Our Nation.”