21-Day Equity Challenge Reflection: Matt Durham

by Matt Durham, President, DMARC

When setting sail on the 21-Day Equity Challenge I was very much looking forward to the content but didn’t know what to fully expect. Over the past couple months, I, like much of the United States, put some intent around educating myself more, reading more, and talking more about racism. As I peeled back the layers of internalized, interpersonal, institutional, and systemic racism it was eye-opening that there was both things I could be better at – and there were surely ways that we as a community could be better. All that being said – the 21-Day Equity Challenge admittingly felt like something that was going to be going through the motions on things I thought I already knew…I was wrong.

From day one, I quickly found out the content was engaging, the content was well thought through and it was going to be a month of exceeded expectations on the journey. The morning of October 5, I was glued to the screen as Nia, Lily, and Nina put me in my place. Although it’s only been a week since I’ve watched their TedX I don’t think a day has gone by where I haven’t thought about their speech at least once. Maybe it was because it was the first video I watched, maybe it was because it was presented so well, or maybe because it was so relatable. Whatever the combination or reason, their message, paired with what I have learned over the quarantined summer, speaks to the layer of racism that I was most blind to – and that is hardest to overcome as a community. However – the girls gave three pieces of advice that rang true:

  • You should not put power in another person’s ignorance
  • You should not feel guilty for your privilege
  • You cannot keep living like these issues are not here

The three powerful statements can mean a little something different to anyone that is reading or listening this month but to me they have surfaced as the frame of intent on this journey. The week was filled with impactful articles, videos and podcasts that had my eyes opened a bit wider to the issues that exist and the blind spots that I must see. I also came to acknowledge that my initial perception of ‘going through the motions’ on the journey is a microcosm of the larger problem of racism that exists today in society. But it was these pieces of advice that lead the charge into the next 16 days – and beyond.

As we look ahead to another week of content it has me looking forward to relating the things I do and hear every day to the things I read and listen to as part of the 21-Day Equity Challenge. We as a community – individuals, non-profit boards, and companies cannot keep living like these issues are not here – we all need to be better and the next week has me looking forward to being better.

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