United Way of Illinois Equity Challenge

United Way of Illinois is launching a Community Conversations Zoom event and a podcast to coincide with the “21 Week Equity Challenge.”

The United Way of Kankakee & Iroquois Counties will end its 21-week Equity Challenge with the unveiling of a community-led mural. The Equity Challenge — which began on Martin Luther King Jr. Day and will run through Juneteenth — has consisted of weekly learning assignments about equity, racism, bias and more.

As a result of the current 270-participant challenge, 120 reside in Bourbonnais where the community equity mural will be located — bringing Bourbonnais its first outdoor mural. United Way is partnering with the Village of Bourbonnais on the community engagement project and encourages public participation.

Beginning with the launch of the Community Equity Mural Design Contest, artists are invited to submit original artwork for the equity mural through June 11.

“This mural will not only symbolize taking steps to a more equitable community, but also leave a lasting mark as a reminder to keep the conversation going,” Fiana Comer, United Way community impact manager, said in a news release.

The Equity Challenge-inspired mural will represent the community, have an equity focus and looks to create a positive and interactive piece to engage not only Bourbonnais, but all of Kankakee County. The Community Equity Mural Committee will review all submissions following the deadline, and the top three designs will be presented online for community voting June 16 through June 18 via the Facebook event page.

The design with the most votes will be the winning design for the outdoor mural. The mural location, along with the winning artist and design, will be announced at a Juneteenth event on June 19. Event details will be released at a later date.

“The Village of Bourbonnais is excited to work with United Way and incorporate art into our growing community,” said Lindy Casey, the village’s marketing and public engagement manager.

“We welcome all artists, residents, businesses, visitors and volunteers to be a part of this project. Submit, vote, paint, donate ... you don’t have to be an artist to get involved. We hope this is the first of many mural opportunities here in Bourbonnais.”

Design contest guidelines, project donations, mural volunteers and businesses interested in hosting a mural at their location may visit myunitedway.org/equity.