Our 21-Week Anti-Racism Challenge

Welcome to the UC Davis Graduate School of Management’s 21-Week Anti-Racism Challenge

The 21-Week Anti-Racism Challenge grounds us individually and collectively to differing modes of learning; individual, collective, and structural change only happen by using this knowledge for positive change.

We invite participants to complete the full curriculum of 21 activities, including readings, videos, and recordings, each grounded in a social justice framework that situates structures of power, position, privilege, perception, and process.​

Dean's Message:

"We're going through a period of upheaval in our interpersonal relationships in the U.S. ... We may be led to believe the planet is filled with hate and racism. As we look around at the GSM, we see our friends held together by our Principles of Community that reject discrimination and encourage us to respect our difference. We see this as a chance to learn, understand and grow." — Dean H. Rao Unnava on the creation of the Action for Diversity Community Group


Fall Quarter 2020: How We Got Here

Week 1: October 19, 2020

The Injustice of This Moment Is not an ‘Aberration’ Michelle Alexander contextualizes the US’s 2020 state of racism/white supremacy as an inevitable outcome of a collective narrative steeped in denial.

Week 2: October 26, 2020

1619 is a New York Times audio series that examines the long shadow of American slavery. 

Listen to the first episode here. (42 min)

Week 3: November 2, 2020

We Can't Recover From This History Until We Deal With It (6 min) How do we begin to break through the ills of racism? In the video with Bryan Stevenson, lawyer and founder of the Equal Justice Initiative, Stevenson speaks to our country's need to talk about racism. 

Week 4: November 9, 2020

Don’t Talk about Implicit Bias Without Talking about Structural Racism (PDF) (June 13, 2019) The National Equity Project, an organization focused on education reform, teaches us that we cannot begin to dismantle the structural inequities in education without checking both our biases and the systemic barriers sustained by these biases. 

Week 5: November 16, 2020

Here & Now - Without Slavery, Would The U.S. Be The Leading Economic Power? Host Jeremy Hobson explores with author Edward Baptist how slavery established the United States as a world economic power. (15 min)

Baptist argues in his new book, "The Half Has Never Been Told: Slavery and the Making of American Capitalism," that the forced migration and subsequent harsh treatment of slaves in the cotton fields were integral to establishing the United States as a world economic power.

Week 6: November 23, 2020

Teaching While White: White Fragility Parts 1&2, Educators Jenna Chandler-Ward and Elizabeth Denevi discuss the inability of most white people to deal with racial stress with author Robin DiAngelo.

In their interviews with young people around the country for their Teaching While White podcast, they witnessed firsthand an inability among white students to talk about race without exhibiting racial stress. White children as young as nine years old have expressed anxiety about being white and what they think that means.

Week 7: November 30, 2020

Baldwin – Buckley Debate Still Resonates (PBS NewsHour | 9 min) It has been 55 years since civil-rights activist, James Baldwin, and founder of the conservative National Review, William F. Buckley, Jr., met for a debate on race in America. That discussion and the lives of the two cultural giants are subjects of "The Fire is Upon Us." Zachary Green spoke with author and political scientist Nicholas Buccola about how the debate's still resonating.

Winter Quarter 2020: Intersections of Power, Language and Visibility

Week 8: January 18, 2021

COVID-19 has inflamed racism against Asian Americans. Here’s how to fight back.

California’s vaccine plan will prioritize Blacks and Latinos, among others. Here’s why. (November 19, 2020 | 8 min) As California plans to distribute an eventual vaccine to its nearly 40 million residents, the state intends to prioritize early rounds of the shots in the name of fairness for these communities disproportionately affected by the disease.

COVID-19 and advancing Asian American recovery. (August, 2020 | 10 min) Asian American communities have been disproportionately affected by the pandemic. Stakeholders in the public, private, and social sectors can help spur their recovery and promote greater equity.

Week 9: January 25, 2021

A Forgotten History of How the U.S. Government Segregated America (May 3, 2020 | 35 min) Federal housing policies created after the Depression ensured that African-Americans and other people of color were left out of the new suburban communities — and pushed instead into urban housing projects. Fresh Air’s Terry Gross interviews Richard Rothstein, research associate at the Economic Policy Institute.

Week 10: February 1, 2021

We the People (January 24, 2019 | 18 min)  Native American activist, author and public speaker Mark Charles breaks down what he asserts to be "the three most misunderstood words in US history" and challenges us to consider their inherent meaning.

Week 11: February 8, 2021

The Urgency of Intersectionality (2016 | 19 min) The Urgency of Intersectionality (Transcript)

Kimberlé Crenshaw, professor of law at UCLA and Columbia University, introduces us to the term "intersectionality" and how applying this lens makes the invisible, visible.

Week 12: February 15, 2021

You Cannot Divorce Race From Immigration Journalist Rachel Martin talks to Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Jose Antonio Vargas for a response to a story in The Atlantic, proposing the U.S. cut legal immigration by half. (6 minutes)

Week 13: February 22, 2021

How Racism Makes Us Sick (May 2, 2017 | 18 min) During this TedMED talk, David R. Williams recounts his dismay with the mortality rate of Black people in America, and has made it his life's work "to understand why race matters profoundly for health."

On Witness and Respair: A Personal Tragedy Followed by Pandemic (Vanity Fair, September 2020) The acclaimed novelist lost her beloved husband—the father of her children—as COVID-19 swept across the country. She writes through their story, and her grief.

Week 14: March 1, 2021

13th, Netflix documentary by Ava DuVernay about the connection between US Slavery and the present day mass incarceration system. (1 hour 40 minutes)

Spring Quarter 2021: Allying, Action & Accountability

Week 15: April 12, 2021

The George Floyd Protests: A Guide to Practicing Anti-Racism as an Asian Ally (June 3, 2020 | 20 min) Our Asian and Asian American communities are experiencing their own unique plight with "otherness", xenophobia, and anti-Asian racism in America. With the release of the George Floyd, Jr. video, many from the Asian community have come to express great disappointment and anger with the Asian American officer who stood by, failing to intervene. In this article, we learn how Asians and Asian Americans can effectively support the Black community with their allyship.

Why Don’t we Treat Asian American History the Way we Treat Black History? (Washington Post, March 26, 2021) The American racial conversation, in which African Americans are the default minority group, has impoverished our understanding of—and provided a poor platform for—the stories of others. That is why, in a year with thousands of anti-Asian assaults, civil rights violations and instances of verbal harassment reported even before the Atlanta area shootings this month—in which six of the eight slain were women of Asian descent—most Americans are just beginning to engage with the Asian American struggle.

Week 16: April 19, 2021

The Case for Reparations (The Atlantic, June 2014) Ta-Nehisi Coates’ seminal essay disseminating the theft of resources from Black people and the argument for reparations.

Week 17: April 26, 2021

The Michelle Obama Podcast: Protests and the Pandemic (August 5, 2020) Award-winning journalist Michele Norris joins Michelle to discuss how we can gain new understandings of ourselves during an international pandemic and national reckoning with race. Find the episode transcript here.

Week 18: May 3, 2021

Addressing Anti-Blackness on Campus: Implications for Educators and Institutions (June 25, 2020 | 1 hr 45 min)  In June 2020, the Center for Organizational Responsibility and Advancement (CORA) hosted a special webinar presentation in response to the public statements released by academic institutions regarding the killings of George Floyd, Jr., Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, and Tony McDade. A panel of experts came together to discuss viable solutions for confronting anti-Blackness in education.

Week 19: May 10, 2021

MSNBC: This Is Us (August 6, 2019 | 3 min) Dr. Eddie Glaude Jr., distinguished professor at Princeton University, attempts to answer host Nicole Wallace's question, what now

Week 20: May 17, 2021

What is/isn’t Transformative Justice? (July 9, 2015 | 14 min) 

What is/isn’t Transformative Justice? (PDF) Author and Black feminist Adrienne Maree Brown urges us to be careful with how we direct our energy. We must seek transformative justice, which has long-term impact instead of the short-term gain that comes from “cancelling” individuals, who are often just a symptom of a much deeper, systemic issue.

Culmination, Week 21: May 24, 2021

This week, we invite you to our culmination event on Zoom from 5 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. 

  • 5:00 – 5:10: Welcome/Acknowledgement of Land Grant
  • 5:10 – 5:20: Remarks from Dean H. Rao Unnava 
  • 5:20 – 6:00: Invited Speaker James Burch, Policy Director of the Justice Teams Network
  • 6:00 – 6:15: Q&A for Mr. Burch
  • 6:15 – 6:30: Alexandra Huynh, Sacramento Youth Poet Laureate, SAYS Member

Register in advance for this webinar and find more information here

Prior to our meeting, we hope you engage with Black artistry through the following perspectives in poetry and musical selections that demonstrate the breadth of the Black experience with joy and pain. 

Poetry Selections:

Musical Selections:

Please note: Dates and meeting times may change. 


The Beginning, Not the End

Completion of the 21-Week Anti-Racism Challenge is the beginning, not the end, of our anti-racism work.

Through the GSM's 21-Week Anti-Racism Challenge we explore anti-racism as a means to help one another begin to identify and confront the structural and behavioral norms that perpetuate civil injustice and systemic racial inequality. Our goal is to assist everyone in furthering their awareness, compassion, understanding, and engagement towards anti-racism, with a focus on anti-Blackness and the experience of Black people in America.

For questions regarding the schedule or group meetings, please email Chief Diversity Officer Elizabeth Moon.