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National Day of Racial Healing celebrates common humanity in song, stories and shared experiences

Rebecca Noricks  

BATTLE CREEK, Mich. – Concerts, museum events, storytelling and public proclamations are all planned as hundreds of W.K. Kellogg Foundation (WKKF) grantees, partners and communities across the United States mark the second annual National Day of Racial Healing (#NDORH) on Jan. 16, 2018.  


“Racial healing is a process we can undertake as individuals, in communities and across society,” says Kellogg Foundation President and CEO La June Montgomery Tabron. “At the Kellogg Foundation, we are committed to racial healing in order to create vibrant futures for children. The National Day of Racial Healing is a powerful platform for highlighting the healing work already underway and widening the circle of leaders committed to transforming their communities through this essential work.”

WKKF established the National Day of Racial Healing in January 2017 as an extension of its ongoing Truth, Racial Healing & Transformation (TRHT) efforts. Through a wide range of events, discussions and activities, groups brought together by civic, community, government and private organizations will focus on healing the wounds created by conscious and unconscious bias (racial, ethnic and religious).

“In healing, we acknowledge the truth of past wrongs and the authentic narratives of people across communities,” Tabron says. “The National Day of Racial Healing is a call to action for people to come together and begin the dialogue. Honest responses to questions that ask ‘Do you remember the moment when you first felt affirmed as a human being?’ and ‘When were you first made aware of differences in people?’ are the first steps in helping us craft a new narrative and national discourse – one dedicated to building equitable communities for our children.” (Download a conversation guide here.)

NDORH is an opportunity for initiating collective action that builds upon Truth, Racial Healing & Transformation (TRHT) groundwork in 2017 – in particular in 14 TRHT places. A few highlights of planned events for Jan. 16, 2018 include:  

  • In New Orleans: A special NDORH concert with jazz and gospel singer Lizz Wright as part of her TRHT tour, at the Mahalia Jackson Theater for the Performing Arts. This concert will also stream live on the National Day of Racial Healing’s Facebook page. The event is being coordinated by several organizations, including: Ashé Cultural Arts Center, the Welcome Table, Little Black Pearl, TRHT New Orleans, Foundation for Louisiana and the Mayor’s office. Additional details will be shared in the coming weeks.
  • TRHT Greater Chicago will host an event at the Illinois Holocaust Museum & Education Center called “What is Our Story,” featuring personal narratives of community and civic leaders, providing opportunities to identify and connect through the common threads that bind us.  This will be followed by a guided tour of the Take a Stand Center and the World Premiere of the holographic Survivor Stories Experience.
  • The Greater Richmond Virginia TRHT will launch TRHT365 – a year round process of collecting and curating short stories of narrative change, relationship building and transformation in Richmond. While TRHT365 will mark NDORH, it also underscores that to change hearts, minds and communities, racial healing must be ongoing work.

  • In partnership with organizations like the National League of Cities, National Civic League, International City/County Management Association and the National Conference of State Legislatures, cities, counties and states across the country are planning to issue proclamations honoring the National Day of Racial Healing. As of Dec. 18, more than 150 places are committed to issuing proclamations and more are expected to follow in the coming weeks.

  • Other national organizations like the American Libraries Association and the Association of American Colleges & Universities, among others, are activating their member libraries and campuses to plan events on the day.  

To find resources and learn more about other events planned throughout the U.S. for the National Day of Racial Healing, visit http://healourcommunities.org/ndorh-2018.

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