NEW YORK – Today, NBCUniversal News Group, debuted Changing The Narrative, a 14-part digital series sponsored by the W.K. Kellogg Foundation (WKKF), on the subject of advancing racial equity through the experience of racial healing. The series, available now on NBCNews.com, explores the central themes of racial healing, including the progress individuals and communities can make by sharing stories and recognizing past and present-day racism, acknowledging everyday biases, and repairing our society by building inclusive relationships and transforming systems and structures.
The series, produced by NBCUniversal News Group’s Race, Equality and Justice Unit, will follow NBC News reporter Zinhle Essamuah, NBC News digital reporter Maya Eaglin and Claretta Bellamy, who is a NBC News Fellow and NBCU Academy embed working full-time for NBC News Digital’s award-winning diversity vertical NBC BLK, as they travel across the country to learn what racial healing means to different communities and how residents are working in their own backyards to change the narrative. Each week, three new episodes will drop focusing on one community starting with Buffalo, N.Y., available now, where Bellamy explores how residents continue to focus on healing from the ongoing trauma brought about by the past and present, including the recent mass shooting, and viewers will meet the change makers who are working to make things better. Eaglin reports from Battle Creek, Mich. and New Orleans, La., in the succeeding episodes. In Battle Creek, Eaglin meets with Black, Latinx and Burmese communities as they create a new multi-racial narrative of the town’s history and present-day reality through the publishing of oral histories. While in Louisiana, Eaglin explores how communities in and around New Orleans are fighting back against dual threats; climate change – which is driving the displacement of Indigenous communities, and environmental racism which poses serious and disproportionate threats to largely African American residents. In the final installment of the series Bellamy heads to Selma, Ala. where local residents share their own challenges and triumphs and discuss how they are harnessing the power of racial healing to support the next generation of entrepreneurs.
The introductory episode hosted by Essamuah features an exclusive interview with W.K. Kellogg Foundation President and CEO La June Montgomery Tabron on the origins of racial healing and the ongoing work required to achieve racial equity. Essamuah will also host the concluding episode featuring a virtual roundtable discussion with young residents and leaders from each community.
“Racial healing in itself is a part of changing the narrative, it is addressing the legacy of racism and structural racism in this country but allowing people to tell their own truth about that journey,” said La June Montgomery Tabron, President and CEO of the W.K. Kellogg Foundation.
The series will culminate on Jan. 17, 2023 with the seventh annual National Day of Racial Healing, featuring a live MSNBC town hall from New Orleans, La at 10 p.m. ET. Telemundo will also stream a Spanish language town hall from New Orleans at 7 p.m. ET on Noticias Telemundo.com and Noticias Telemundo’s YouTube, Facebook and Twitter channels.
The National Day of Racial Healing is held each year on the Tuesday following Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day. The annual observance was created with and builds on the work and learnings of the W.K. Kellogg Foundation’s Truth, Racial Healing & Transformation (TRHT) community partners. TRHT was established in 2017 to promote racial healing as a critical path for ending racial bias and creating a society in which all children can thrive. It is a national and community-based process designed to bring transformational and sustainable change to communities, while addressing the historic and contemporary effects of racism. In addition to the town halls produced by NBCUniversal News Group, communities across the country will host racial healing events with the goal of creating a more just and equitable future for children.
The partnership on racial healing kicked off in June 2022 at the Aspen Ideas Festival, where the News Group and WKKF hosted special sessions that examined America’s history and ongoing realities of individual and systemic racism–as evidenced by the murder of George Floyd and the rise in antisemitic, anti-AAPI and anti-Latino hate crimes–and explored a path toward bridging communities through racial healing.
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