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W.K. Kellogg Foundation hosts New Orleans convening to promote racial healing in communities

Jamaal Young

NEW ORLEANS – The W.K. Kellogg Foundation (WKKF) is hosting a four-day convening with the nation’s leading civil rights, social justice and community leaders to engage participants in a collaborative process toward moving America from a “racialized democracy” to a more inclusive one. The extraordinary gathering will explore ways for diverse communities to engage in authentic efforts to address racial bias and to heal the racial wounds of the past that continue to create fear, antagonism and barriers to opportunities for vulnerable children.

The convening, held April 24 to April 27 in New Orleans, features leaders such as Harry Belafonte, entertainer and civil rights pioneer; Marc Morial, former New Orleans Mayor and president and CEO of the National Urban League; Janet Murguia, president and CEO of the National Council of La Raza; Jacqueline Johnson Pata, executive director of National Congress of American Indians; Maria Hinojosa, anchor and managing editor of NPR’s Latino USA; Rinku Sen, executive director of the Applied Research Center; Ben Jealous, president and CEO of the NAACP; Kathleen Ko, president and CEO of the Asian & Pacific Islander American Health Forum; Donna Brazile, political strategist and TV commentator; Charles Ogletree, Harvard University law professor and executive director of the Charles Hamilton Houston Institute for Race and Justice; and many others.

“Our Healing for Democracy conference is designed to further the W.K. Kellogg Foundation’s goal to improve life outcomes for vulnerable children and their families in urban and rural communities across America,” said Sterling Speirn, the foundation’s president and CEO. “We are gathering nearly 500 people representing a broad range of ethnic communities to forge new relationships and to strategize on how we can work together to create equitable opportunities for our children’s future.” 

Dr. Gail Christopher, WKKF’s vice president of program strategy, said the convening comes at a critical time for the nation. “Trayvon Martin’s tragic killing, the shootings in Tulsa, the beating death of an Iraqi-American woman in California and organized efforts to suppress voter participation for people of color all exemplify the need for racial healing that can break down the historic barriers that have divided our nation. Our convening will help the participants bring racial healing to their communities.”

The conference will be held at the New Orleans Marriott, 555 Canal Street.  A list of dial-in numbers for media to hear key panel discussions is provided below. Transcripts will also be available for download from www.wkkf.org or www.AmericaHealing.org.

Among the key events will be:

8:30 AM CST. Wednesday, 4/25 – “Unconscious Bias and Race” moderated by Hinojosa; Panelists:  Rachel Godsil, director of research, American Values Institute; Phillip Goff, assistant professor, Department of Psychology, University of California, Los Angeles; john powell, director, Haas Center for Diversity and Inclusion and Robert D. Haas Chancellor’s Chair in Equity and Inclusion, University of California, Berkeley; David Williams, professor of African and African American studies, Harvard University. Media Dial-in: 1-866-680-0168; Participant Code: 341168

10 AM CST. Wednesday, 4/25 – Media Briefing with WKKF Grantees moderated by Joanne Krell, vice president of communications, WKKF; Grantees: Roxana Tynan, executive director, Los Angeles Alliance for a New Economy (LAANE); Valerie Davidson, senior director of legal and intergovernmental affairs for the Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium and board member of the First Alaskans Institute; Kysha Brown Robinson, executive director, Central City Renaissance Alliance (New Orleans); and Inez Gonzales, executive vice president, National Hispanic Media Coalition.  Media Dial-in: 1-866-277-4013; Participant Code: 194120
4:45 PM CST. Wednesday, 4/25 – “In Conversation with Harry Belafonte” moderated by Ogletree;  A screening of “Sing Your Song,” filmmaker Susanne Rostock’s documentary on the rich life story of this remarkable artist and humanitarian. It is followed by a conversation between Belafonte and Ogletree about his life and race in America. Media Dial-in: 1-866-680-0168; Participant Code: 341168

8:30 AM CST Thursday, 4/26 – “Power, Privilege and Democracy” moderated by Ogletree;  Panelists: Brazile; Barbara Arnwine, executive director, Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law; Ian Haney Lopez, John H. Boalt Professor of Law, University of California, Berkeley; Peggy McIntosh, associate director, Wellesley Centers for Women, Wellesley College. Media Dial-in: 1-866-680-0168; Participant Code: 341168

10:15 AM CST Thursday, 4/26 – “Removing Racial Barriers in Education” moderated by Rehema Ellis, Education Correspondent for NBC News; Panelists: Lisa Delpit, executive director, Center for Urban Education and Innovation, Florida International University and Distinguished Professor, Southern University; Edward Fergus Arcia, deputy director, Metropolitan Center for Urban Education, New York University; Amy Wilkins, vice president for government affairs and communication, Education Trust.  Media Dial-in: 1-866-680-0168; Participant Code: 341168

10:15 AM CST Thursday, 4/26 – “Addressing Voter Suppression” moderated by Maya Wiley, president and executive director, Center for Social Inclusion; Panelists: Judy Browne-Dianis, co-director, Advancement Project; Genaro Lopez-Rendon, director, Southwest Worker’s Union; Alvin Warren, principal and executive vice president, Blue Stone Strategy Group.  Media Dial-in: 1-866-680-0168; Participant Code: 136273

10:15 AM CST Thursday, 4/26 – “Unpacking Racial Bias in the Media” moderated by Gregory L. Moore, editor of the Denver Post; Panelists: Evelyn Hsu, senior director of programs and operations, Robert C. Maynard Institute for Journalism Education; Roberto Lovato, co-founder, Presente.org; Shirley Sneve, executive director, Native American Public Telecommunications; Adam Stoltman, photographer, editor, entrepreneur, E2 Productions.  Media Dial-in: 1- 866-277-4013; Participant Code: 194120

12:30 PM CST Thursday, 4/26 – “Discussion on Current Racial Climate” moderated by Melissa Harris-Perry, Host of “Melissa Harris-Perry,” MSNBC; Panelists: Morial, Murguia, Ko, Jealous, Sen, Pata and Judith Browne-Dianis, co-director, Advancement Project; Ralph Everett, president and CEO, Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies, Inc.; Philip Tegeler, president and executive director, Poverty and Race Research Action Council. Media Dial-in: 1-866-680-0168; Participant Code: 341168

The convening is part of the WKKF’s America Healing work that provides grants for organizations to address structural bias and facilitate racial healing in communities. Throughout its more than 80-year history, the foundation has supported communities seeking to create conditions that improve the life outcomes of vulnerable children. Dr. Christopher said that promoting racial healing and equity is essential to ensuring that all children have equal opportunities to succeed.

“There’s an urgency to address this issue now,” says Dr. Christopher. “In our near future, the majority of children in America will be kids of color and many will live in poverty. To ensure that future generations can grow up in a thriving and inclusive democracy, we must put these issues of inequity squarely in front of us so that, together, we can move beyond them.”

For more information about America Healing, visit www.AmericaHealing.org.

W.K. Kellogg Foundation
The W.K. Kellogg Foundation founded in 1930 as an independent, private foundation by breakfast cereal pioneer, Will Keith Kellogg, is among the largest philanthropic foundations in the United States. Guided by the belief that all children should have an equal opportunity to thrive, WKKF works with communities to create the conditions where vulnerable children can realize their full potential in school, work and life.

The Kellogg Foundation is based in Battle Creek, Mich., and works throughout the United States and internationally, as well as with sovereign tribes. Special emphasis is paid to priority places where there are high concentrations of poverty and where children face significant barriers to success. WKKF priority places in the U.S. are in Michigan, Mississippi, New Mexico and New Orleans; and internationally, are in Mexico and Haiti.

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