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Day 6: Criminal Injustice

Thank you for taking this challenge! If this is your first day of joining us for the 14-Day Equity Challenge, welcome. If you are returning after previous engagement with the challenge, nice work! We are glad you are here

This challenge is designed to push you out of your comfort zone, think critically about difficult topics, and grow in your understanding of the ways people and systems perpetuate (and have the power to eliminate) racism. We’re excited to invite you to this opportunity to dive deeper into racial equity and social justice.

View other challenges: Day 1Day 2Day 3Day 4Day 5Day 6Day 7Day 8Day 9Day 10Day 11Day 12Day 13Day 14

Day 6: Criminal Injustice

The criminal justice system is a network of institutions meant to prevent crime, rehabilitate perpetrators, and protect communities. However, it’s clear that the system doesn’t serve all communities and demographics equally. Black Americans are significantly overrepresented in our prisons and overpoliced on the streets, and many fear the same justice system that is meant to protect them. For many, criminal justice is anything but just.

Criminal injustice can begin as early as primary school. The school-to-prison pipeline is a common term to describe how school practices and policies funnel students, especially Black students, into the criminal justice system. Black students are seen as more aggressive and grown-up than other students and are subjected to punishment more often and more severe than their White peers. This ultimately leads to greater chances of being incarcerated later in life.

Fixing an institutional problem like this takes change on multiple fronts. Today’s challenge will give you insight into how the school-to-prison pipeline impacts black students and what we can do to make criminal justice just for all.

If you have…

Watch this short video
on the school-to-prison pipeline

Watch this TED Talk
on what leads young black girls to be disproportionately disciplined in school

Watch this TED Talk
about the crime of “living while Black”

Bonus: Watch the documentary ’13th’, available on Netflix, to learn about the 13th amendment and how mass incarceration of communities of color can appropriately be referred to as a form of modern-day slavery.


Once you have completed today’s challenge, we encourage you to take a moment to reflect.

  • How did the challenge make you feel?
  • What is something you learned?
  • Did you notice anything about yourself after taking the challenge?
  • Consider sharing this new awareness with a friend or group to help deepen your understanding of the information.

Share your thoughts on the challenge online using #YWCAEquityChallenge