Why     How     What

Day 5 Policy and Legislative Change

Juneteenth marks a very important turning point for the lives of African Americans in the United States. Immediately, there were grey areas and African Americans did not have the same opportunities or access to resources as their white counterparts. Since slavery was abolished over 155 years ago, black and brown individuals in this country still struggle to find peace and equity in “the land of the free.” On the days leading up to this important holiday, it is pivotal not only to reflect on the history of slavery, but also to look at the current standing of voter suppression, criminal justice reform, equitable education, and economic disparities in communities of color.  


One critical issue that persists in the fight for racial equality is voter suppression. While progress has been made since the Voting Rights Act of 1965, discriminatory practices continue to obstruct marginalized communities from exercising their democratic rights. By supporting initiatives for fair and accessible voting procedures, we can strive for a society that upholds democratic principles and ensures equal representation for all. 


Another pressing concern is the need for comprehensive criminal justice reform. The disproportionate impact of the criminal justice system on communities of color is a stark reminder of the deep-seated racial inequalities that persist. Through advocacy, we can urge legislators to enact policies that address systemic biases, promote rehabilitation over punishment, and contribute to a more just society. 


Equitable education is a powerful tool for dismantling systemic racism and ensuring equal opportunities for all students. The persistent disparities in educational resources, funding, and access that disproportionately affect communities of color. By advocating for policies that promote fair distribution of resources, culturally responsive curricula, and diverse representation within educational institutions, we can work towards creating an inclusive educational environment that empowers every learner and narrows the opportunity gap. 


Persistent economic disparities are another crucial aspect that must be addressed to achieve true racial equality. Juneteenth can serve as a platform to advocate for policies that promote economic justice, such as equitable employment opportunities, fair wages, and entrepreneurship support for historically marginalized communities. By supporting organizations that work towards economic empowerment, fostering financial literacy, and promoting inclusive business practices, we can help create an economic landscape that provides equal access to resources and prosperity for all. 


By raising awareness and advocating for policy changes focusing on systemic issues such as voter suppression, criminal justice reform, equitable education, and economic disparities, we can contribute to meaningful change. It is crucial for individuals to engage in advocacy efforts, support organizations working towards policy changes, and continue the conversation surrounding racial equality long after Juneteenth. Through collective action, we can create a future where every individual, regardless of their race, enjoys equal rights, justice, and opportunities. 


How can we address these issues to build a brighter, more equitable future for everyone? On Day 5 of this Social Justice Challenge, United Way of Westchester and Putnam asks you to not only educate yourself using the resources below, but also act as an ally and support organizations working towards policy changes that promote equality and justice for all. 

Today's Challenge


Article: FACT SHEET: The Biden-⁠Harris Administration Advances Equity and Opportunity for Black Americans and Communities Across the Country 

Article: The Impact of Voter Suppression on Communities of Color 

Article: The Color of Justice: Racial and Ethnic Disparity in State Prisons 

Article: Systematic Inequality: How America’s Structural Racism Helped Create the Black-White Wealth Gap 


Video: Advancing Equity and Racial Justice Through the Federal Government 

Video: Timeline: Voter suppression in the US from the Civil War to today 

Video: Confronting anti-Black Racism Resource: Criminal Justice 

Video: A conversation about the racial wealth gap—and how to address it 


Podcast: Advancing Racial Equity 4.0 with Shereen Daniels 

Podcast: An introduction to Criminal Justice Reform 

Podcast: Berkeley Talks: ACLU leader on how voter suppression works 

Podcast: The Race and Wealth podcast series 

Reflection Questions

How can Juneteenth serve as an effective platform to raise awareness about systemic issues such as voter suppression, criminal justice reform, equitable education, and economic disparities?  

What are some concrete policy changes and legislative initiatives that can address racial inequalities and promote social justice?  

How can individuals engage in advocacy efforts to support policy changes that promote equality and justice for all?  

Why is it important to support organizations working towards policy changes that promote equality and justice for all?  


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