2021 Equity Challenge Day 7: The Veterans Experience

As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them.

John F. Kennedy

35th President of the United States

For the first six days of the Equity Challenge, we’ve laid building blocks to better understand concepts like privilege, power and marginalization from an individual level. Memorial Day is a time to reflect, honor, and remember those who have died in service to our country. Rather than take a break on Memorial Day, we felt it imperative to continue on this learning journey together, recognizing that the inequities that hamper our region don’t take a day off. Collectively, Wayne, Macomb and Oakland counties are home to nearly 200,000 veterans. As a result of a confluence of factors, veterans in our region face high rates of homelessness, unemployment, disability, post-traumatic stress disorder and mental health disparities. Today’s challenge will look at the complex experiences and inequities that veterans and military families face.



Though a 2017 study named Detroit the worst place for veterans, read this article to learn about the work that Michigan Veterans Foundation is doing to make our region a better place for our servicemen and servicewomen. (6 minutes)

Explore these charts from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs on the racial and ethnic composition of our veteran population. (3 minutes)


Check out this video to learn about the military-civilian divide. (2 minutes)

Watch Sebastian Junger’s TED talk on how our lonely society makes reentry harder for veterans. (13 minutes)


Explore our volunteer portal for opportunities to serve veterans with our partner agency, Southwest Solutions.

Reflect And Share:

  1. How did today’s challenge make you feel? What is something you learned today?
  2. Think back to the days where we examined privilege and bias. How are inequities multiplied for veterans of color or veterans of a lower socioeconomic status?
  3. What material from today do you still have questions about or want to learn more about? What are ways you can further explore those questions?


Start the conversation. Send the tweet. Share your story. Make the Facebook post. Sharing what you learn and experience with your family, friends, and co-workers is the first step toward allyship.

Join thousands in conversation by using hastag #EquityChallenge or #TakeTheEC21