BATTLE CREEK, Mich. Communities across the country are planning a wide-range of events to highlight the National Day of Racial Healing on Tuesday, Jan. 17. The day’s activities, initiated by the W.K. Kellogg Foundation (WKKF) through its Truth, Racial Healing & Transformation (TRHT) enterprise, are uniting civic, religious, community and philanthropic organizations in collaborations to facilitate racial healing.
“We are energized by the number of communities that are engaging people of all ages and backgrounds in genuine efforts to increase understanding, communication, caring and respect for one another,” says La June Montgomery Tabron, WKKF’s president and CEO. “The Kellogg Foundation’s TRHT enterprise and the National Day of Racial Healing is one call to action to address our country’s deep divides and to creatively build bridges toward unity.”
In Biloxi, Mississippi, Christian, Muslim, Bahá'í, Jewish, Buddhist and Hare Krishna faith leaders are holding a joint press conference, while the Mayors of Cities on the Gulf Coast will herald the first annual National Day of Racial Healing with proclamations. Diverse storytellers in Phoenix, including undocumented youths, LGBTQs, Muslims, ex-convicts, Native Americans and African Americans and Asian and Pacific Islanders, are planning a day of storytelling on the light rail trains that builds to an evening event of storytelling and music.
In New Orleans, a four-hour Healing and Wellness event will be held at the Ashé Cultural Arts Center, and include a video focused on youth and their need for racial healing. The Little Black Pearl organization in Chicago is partnering with the Israeli Consulate to bring a cast member from the Broadway hit Hamilton to work with students on a dance collaboration that will be part of their tribute to the National Day of Racial Healing.
Moreover, Tabron says a growing number of cities, including New Orleans and Lansing and Kalamazoo, Michigan, will host screenings of the acclaimed documentary series, America Divided, as part of their racial healing day activities. Supported by WKKF, America Divided is an EPIX Original eight-part docu-series from executive producers Norman Lear, Shonda Rhimes and Common that features stunning narratives detailing inequality in education, housing, healthcare, labor, criminal justice and the political system.
“This compelling production brings to life why the TRHT enterprise and a National Racial Day of Healing are needed so badly,” says Tabron. “Truth telling matters today more than ever, especially if we want unity. Only when we have a shared understanding of our collective past and present, can we start to dismantle the mindsets, experiences, structures, policies and systems that divide us.”
Other selected National Day of Racial Healing activities include:
- Civil rights organizations, including the Advancement Project, Asian & Pacific Islander American Health Forum, DEMOS, Haas Institute for a Fair and Inclusive Society, NAACP, National Congress of American Indians, National Council of Asian Pacific Americans, National Council of La Raza, National Urban League, PICO, Poverty & Race Research Action Council and Race Forward, will host a Twitter Town Hall for the day.
- Broward County Public Schools in Florida are incorporating the National Day of Racial Healing into the conversation during a Law Enforcement Town Hall meeting with students.
- Native Hawaiians will be gathering at Ocean Beach in San Francisco for a healing ritual (Ho'owaiwai) gathering to chant, dance hula and have lunch. The greater San Francisco community will also be invited to the festivities.
- The Lakeshore Ethnic Diversity Alliance in Holland, Michigan, is having a meeting of the Allies Working for Social Justice and Environmental Progress in conjunction with the National Day of Racial Healing. They’ll be working to finalize strategies they have developed to address the most pressing issues in the community.
- TRHT partners in Los Angeles will engage in an aggressive social media campaign that promotes the National Day of Racial Healing by posting reflections, questions, and words of encouragement to their social media pages. They are also working with various mayors, city councils, and the county governments to issue proclamations promoting strategies to for racial healing, advance equity, and encourage dialogue between/within communities.
The more than 130 organizational and individual TRHT partners called for the National Day of Racial Healing during a national summit last month in Carlsbad, California, that included more than 500 people. In addition to facilitating healing in communities, the racial healing day is also a call to action to help mobilize communities, organizations and individuals across the United States in support of the TRHT.
The WKKF-led TRHT enterprise is a multi-year, national and community-based effort to engage communities, organizations and individuals from multiple sectors across the United States in racial healing. It seeks to unearth and throw out the deeply held, and often unconscious, beliefs created by racism – a primary belief being a hierarchy of human value. This absurd belief, which has fueled racism throughout American culture, is the perception of inferiority or superiority based on race, physical characteristics or place of origin.
“If America aspires to be a place where all children can thrive and where all people are valued, then we must foster genuine conversations about race, racism, ethnicity and xenophobia so we can begin to heal,” says Tabron. “We must stand together as we pursue this work. The TRHT is a community-driven vehicle for the country’s transformation in the future and the National Day of Racial Healing can be the beginning.”
For more information on the National Day of Racial Healing and other activities being held around the country, visit www.dayofracialhealing.com. If you would like to share what your community is doing, please email it to firstname.lastname@example.org.
About the 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 conditions for vulnerable children so they 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. WKKF priority places in the U.S. are in Michigan, Mississippi, New Mexico and New Orleans; and internationally, are in Mexico and Haiti.