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W.K Kellogg Foundation’s 2015 America Healing Conference: All Children Must Thrive

Rebecca Noricks

ASHEVILLE, N.C. – As events in Baltimore raise the nation’s consciousness about racism’s impacts on human relationships, systems, structures and communities, the W.K. Kellogg Foundation (WKKF) will hold its fourth America Healing Conference, bringing together more than 500 community-based leaders, civil rights advocates, academics and journalists from more than 350 organizations to discuss the ways our nation must come together to heal and work toward racial equity and justice for children and families. The conference will be held Monday, May 4, through Thursday, May 7, at the Omni Grove Park Inn in Asheville.

WKKF’s America Healing initiative was launched in 2010 to foster racial healing and racial equity and to change hearts, minds and the deeply held and often unconscious biases that cause structural inequities for children and their families, especially children of color. Now in its fifth year, the effort has invested more than $135 million in a national network of hundreds of partner organizations deeply committed to creating conditions for the optimal development of children, rejecting racism and discrimination and beginning a process of healing across the country.

“This conference could not be timelier as communities, families and children all across America are rising up in fear, sadness and frustration and asking to be seen and heard. This is a cry for healing and we must all acknowledge the resulting effects of the legacy of racism on this nation and work together to create change,” said La June Montgomery Tabron, president and CEO of the Kellogg Foundation. “America Healing has been creating space for healing and developing leaders to champion efforts to overcome racism and divisiveness.”

According to the U.S. Census, by 2020 more than half of the nation’s children will be children of color. The Kellogg Foundation’s work as a leader and convener for racial equity and healing work proactively responds to this reality – recognizing that for all children to thrive in this nation, we must help change the conditions and systems around us so they can have opportunities to contribute meaningfully to society.  

“This conference serves as an important inflection point for national and community-based leaders to recharge their spirits, identify best practices and develop strategies for making positive, social change for our nation’s children and communities of color,” said Dr. Gail Christopher, vice president for policy and senior advisor at WKKF. “All of us will benefit from being a more inclusive nation that recognizes the value in all people, especially the most vulnerable among us, children.”

Key topics and sessions at the conference will include:

  • In light of recent events, an important Livestreamed panel will focus on “Healing Relationships between Law Enforcement and Communities of Color” from 8:15 to 9:15 a.m. EST on Tuesday, May 5.

    Moderated by Mary C. Curtis, national correspondent, MSNBC, and featuring panelists:

    • Jeffrey Blackwell, chief of police, Cincinnati, Ohio
    • Melanca Clark, chief of staff, Office of Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS), U.S. Department of Justice
    • Rachel Godsil, director of research, Perception Institute
    • Sherrilyn Ifill, president and director-counsel, NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund
    • Joseph Scantlebury, vice president for program strategy, W.K. Kellogg Foundation

The Livestreamed panel is open to media and available at: http://wkkfevents.org/americahealing/livestream/.

  • Established and next-generation leaders from WKKF’s racial equity anchor institutions will explore the fierce urgency of capturing this historic moment to eliminate inequities and ensure all children thrive. Moderated by Arantxa Loizaga, news anchor and reporter, Noticiero Univision Fin de Semana, featuring panelists:

Judith Browne Dianis, co-director, Advancement Project; Thena Robinson Mock, director of the Ending the Schoolhouse to Jailhouse Track Campaign, Advancement Project; Kathy Ko Chin, president and CEO, Asian & Pacific Islander American Health Forum; Minh Nguyen, founder and executive director, VAYLA New Orleans; Janet Murguía, president and CEO, National Council of La Raza; Luis Avila, board member, National Council of La Raza and vice president, 270 Strategies; Jacqueline Johnson Pata, executive director, National Congress of American Indians; Brian Howard, legislative associate, National Congress of American Indians; Cornell William Brooks, president and CEO, National Association for the Advancement of Colored People; Getachew Kassa, voting rights manager, National Association for the Advancement of Colored People; Marc Morial, president and CEO, National Urban League; Brandi Richard, president, National Urban League Young Professionals; Rev. Alvin Herring, deputy director of faith and formation, PICO National Network; Anthony White (T Dubb O), hip-hop artist; Heather McGhee, president, Demos; Brenda Wright, vice president of legal strategies, Demos; Phil Tegeler, president and executive director, Poverty & Race Research Action Council; Gina Chirichigno, co-creator and co-director, One Nation Indivisible; Brian Smedley, co-founder and executive director, National Collaborative for Health Equity; Candace Jackson, equity and partnerships workgroup co-chair, Public Health – Seattle & King County; Rinku Sen, president and executive director, Race Forward; Leslie Grant-Spann, senior program associate for convenings, Race Forward.

Additional information about the conference agenda, speakers and more can be found at: http://wkkfevents.org/americahealing.

W.K. Kellogg Foundation
The W.K. Kellogg Foundation (WKKF), 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, Michigan, 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. 

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