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Alexandria teaching racial and social equity with 30 day challenge

It’s a different world than when Jacqueline Tucker started work in Alexandria.

Tucker started her job as the city’s first-ever racial and social equity officer in February 2020, and in the months that followed the pandemic and social unrest shook the city to its core.

“It’s a completely different world,” Tucker told ALXnow. “I think that at a minimum that our awareness and consciousness is raised.”

After overseeing racial and social equity training for approximately a third of the city’s workforce, Tucker is offering training to residents for the first time in the 30-Day Racial Equity Challenge. The four-part program started last month, and every day participants complete short assignments, like watching a TED Talk or taking an implicit bias test. The goal is for participants to walk away with a broader understanding of racial bias in the community.

The weekly conversation on the program continues in a Zoom conversation at noon on Wednesday, June 30.

The four-week program is being done in partnership with ACT for Alexandria, and currently has about 30 participants (with 80 signed up) focusing on history, micro aggressions, systemic and institutional racism and what they can do about it.

“It’s designed to be sort of a primer for scratching the very tip of a surface on some of the main issues related to race and equity,” Tucker said.

The format is slightly different than what’s offered to city employees. So far, all 700 Department of Community and Human Services staffers have received initial training from the Government Alliance on Race and Equity, in addition to all city department heads. That training mostly focuses on government’s role in systemic and institutional bias and racism, and each department has an equity team focused on training their staff.

Tucker’s next step is creating an “opportunity map or an equity index map” to show disparities within communities on a public dashboard.

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