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Talk will review 21 Day Anti-Racism Challenge

Since spring 2021, more than 700 SUNY Cortland community members have completed a virtual challenge to educate themselves to confront and end racism wherever it’s seen on the campus.

The multimedia 21 Day Anti-Racism Challenge is being highlighted throughout February during Black History Month. However, the program is available all year long, with some Cortland faculty members assigning it to their fall and spring semester classes.

Representatives of the current, nine-member Multimedia Subcommittee of SUNY Cortland’s Anti-Racism Task Force will analyze the success of the challenge, now in its fourth year, during a campus presentation on Thursday, Feb. 29.

Titled “Challenge Accepted: Overcoming Bias, Prejudice and Racism One Day at a Time,” the sandwich seminar will run from noon to 1 p.m. in Old Main Colloquium. The program is free and open to the public.

The Anti-Racism Task Force aims to proactively identify, and address matters related to racism on campus that bar or slow academic, social and personal success for Black, Indigenous and People of Color (BIPOC) students.

The Multimedia Subcommittee utilizes various media channels to address racism head-on and foster sustained anti-racist practices. They created and curated multimedia and communications content for the 21 Day Anti-Racism Challenge, which disrupts participants’ own biases so they recognize injustice and inequity when they see it and have the courage to confront it. 

“Since its release in January 2021, we have had over 700 faculty, staff, students and alumni participate in the challenge with overwhelming positive feedback,” said Andrea Robinson-Kuretich, associate registrar and chair of both the Anti-Racism Task Force and its Multimedia Subcommittee.

On a typical day, a challenge participant might diversify their cultural knowledge about BIPOC people by reading an article. The next day might find them watching a video. On other occasions, they might fill out a survey or listen to a podcast.

SUNY Cortland students explore their world inside a campus computer lab.

More than 500 of the participants were students, according to data gathered by the subcommittee.

“A popular suggestion from the first round of surveys asked for opportunities to discuss the challenge,” Robinson-Kuretich said. “We thought having a discussion surrounding the challenge during Black History Month would be a perfect fit to dialogue about the knowledge gained through the challenge and to ask, ‘What’s next?’”

During the seminar, past participants will share their perspective on the challenge.

“Our hope would be to have new participants, past participants and those on the fence come together and have a rich discussion,” Robinson-Kuretich said.

“These subjects were never taught honestly in schools and there’s a political movement to obfuscate our history even further,” said another subcommittee member, Michelle LoGerfo, assistant director of web and digital marketing. “It’s more important now than ever.”

Jesse Bloom Bateman, assistant professor of biological sciences, co-chairs the taskforce with Robinson-Kuretich. In addition to LoGerfo, the Multimedia Subcommittee members also include: Joseph Anthony, assistant professor of political science; Kathleen Lawrence, professor, communication and media studies; Ricardo Nelson, media production specialist, communication and media studies; Christina Paske, instructor, health; Lauren Scagnelli ’12, M ’14, health educator, Conley Counseling and Wellness Services; Amanda Sharpsteen, application support analyst, information systems and security; and Paul van der Veur, professor, communication and media studies.

For more information on the 21 Day Anti-Racism Challenge, contact Robinson-Kuretich. For more information on Black History Month, contact Charlotte Wade, assistant diversity officer, at 607-753-2975 or in Miller Building, Room 404A.

Co-sponsorships and funding for Black History Month were made possible by the President’s Office, Institutional Equity and Inclusion Office, SUNY Cortland Alumni Association, Multicultural Life and Diversity Office, Student Government Association, Black Student Union, Men of Value and Excellence, , the Health Promotion Office, the Provost’s Office, Memorial Library, School of Education, New York State United Teachers, and the departments of physical education, English, health, communication disorders and sciences, literacy, philosophy, communication and media studies, sociology/anthropology, economics, sport management, chemistry and kinesiology.