The Unity Challenge: Taking a Deeper Look at Racism & Biases

Canton, OH (September 3, 2020) – More than two thousand community members took the Unity Challenge this past month and almost fifty organizations endorsed it.

From August 10 to August 28, members in the community processed the challenge in many ways: attended Facebook Live Check-Ins Monday through Thursdays, Weekly challenges through online conference calls every Friday, and continued the conversation in the online group. Many used the different tactics to disseminate the information they were presented with daily by having open and honest discussions on what they were learning.

The Dismantling Racism Coalition of Stark County assembled the Unity Challenge to help people create time to build more effective social justice habits, especially race, power, privilege and leadership. Participants were asked to read articles, listen to podcasts or watch videos pertaining to the daily topic in order to discover some of the ways bias impacts injustice in our community. The daily topics included: Personal Racial Identity; Understanding and Reflecting on Our Bias; What is Privilege?; Talking About Race Is Challenging for Some. Here’s Why.; The Impact of Racial Trauma on Black, Indigenous and other POC; Levels of Racism; Housing Inequity in your Backyard;  How Racism Affects Your Health; The Racial Wealth Gap – Meet ALICE!; Education;  Adverse Childhood Experiences; Equity & the LGBTQI+ Community; Building a Race Equity Culture; Take Action; and Tools for the Racial Equity Change Process.

“I knew that I had biases, I’ve experienced other people’s biases towards me. What surprised me today, after going through the activities is how insidious and ingrained those biases are in everyday life. It will take conscious and constant work to recognize and overcome those biases.” – H. C. Pennington, Facebook Group for Unity Challenge to Dismantle Racism, August 11, 2020

Forty-nine organizations in the community made a public commitment of their support by becoming endorsers of the challenge: 3rd Street Community Church, Abiding Savior Lutheran Church, Alliance for Children and Families, Aultman Health Foundation, Child and Adolescent Behavioral Health, Coleman Professional Services, Coming Together Stark County, Inc., Cultural Ally for StarkMHAR, ERRAND XPS 747, LLC, Faith United United Methodist Church, Greater Stark County Urban League, Jonathan Thurman , JRC Cares, Kent State University at Stark, Latino Business League, Light After Loss, Lighthouse Ministries, OSU EFNEP, Paula Ledoux, Plain Local Schools, Pro Football Hall of Fame, Project REBUILD, Inc., Restoration Community Services LLC, Rocio Nohemi Hernandez Segura, Sky Witness Healing Arts, LLC, Stark Area Regional Transit Authority, Stark County Alumnae Chapter, Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc., Stark County Educational Service Center, Stark County Fatherhood Coalition, Stark County Health Department, StarkMHAR, Stark Education Partnership, Stark Library, Stark State College, StarkFresh, State Support Team Region 9, STEAMM Academy @ Hartford Middle School, Stucky Sayner Architects, Temple Israel of Canton, Ohio, , The Relationship Center, Tiqvah Hands of Hope, TomTod Ideas, Union Baptist Church, United Steelworkers Local 9187, United Way of Greater Stark County, Vertava Health of Ohio, Voyager Program, Inc., Women’s Impact Council and YWCA Canton.

“Institutional racism is the root cause of the many discriminatory policies and practices within organizations in our country and community”, says Diane Robinson, CEO/President of Greater Stark County Urban League. “The message of the Unity Challenge is that we must work together to unify Stark County.  “We cannot hope to achieve true equity and inclusion without first understanding the concept of race, how it is the source of the routine racially inequitable outcomes and disadvantages experienced by people of color. Thank you to those who have taken the challenge and are continuing the conversation. Your voice is crucial to our progress towards dismantling racism and other forms of discrimination and establishing inclusive policies and procedures that promote racial justice.”

All Stark County businesses, individuals, and agencies can make a public commitment and endorse the challenge at

Dismantling Racism is a movement, not a moment. Take the pledge against racism to help messages and action go beyond this critical moment in time. Join the challenge and continue the conversation online at Dismantling Racism Coalition of Stark County

About Dismantling Racism Coalition of Stark County
Dismantling Racism Coalition of Stark County is a partnership between Child & Adolescent Behavioral Health, Coming Together Stark County, The Greater Stark County Urban League, Kent State University at Stark, Stark County Collaborative on Race Relations, Stark County Educational Service Center, Stark County Health Department, StarkMHAR, Stark Education Partnership, YWCA Canton and United Way of Greater Stark County.

LaFlovia “Flo” Ginanni/ Director, Project Blueprint
United Way of Greater Stark County
330-491-9984  |  [email protected]