With racial divisiveness rising across America, the W.K. Kellogg Foundation (WKKF), together with more than 130 organizations is committed to an emerging Truth, Racial Healing & Transformation (TRHT) enterprise. Communities across the country came together to celebrate a National Day of Healing on January 17, 2017. The goal was to spur efforts to heal the wounds created by racial, ethnic and religious bias and to build an equitable and just society in which all children thrive.
Richmond, VA, is fortunate in having many groups committed to justice and reconciliation. Hope in the Cities, Richmond Hill, the Virginia Center for Inclusive Communities, and the Richmond Peace Education Center convened an interfaith gathering on January 17 to bring a different tone to the public discourse. People from all over the metropolitan region came together as part of the National Day of Healing. Events and proclamations were taking place in cities across America: Montgomery and Selma; in San Francisco and Los Angles; Phoenix and Denver; Atlanta, Chicago and New Orleans; Boston, Detroit and Minneapolis; Buffalo and Portland; Charlotte and Greensboro; Salt Lake City and Washington, DC.
Together they committed to these 10 things to help heal the community:
- Talk with your neighbor; or someone of a different racial, religious, or political background.
- Refrain from re-posting partisan social media posts.
- Recognize your own biases - we all have them! Try taking the Harvard Implicit Bias Test.
- Focus on what is right rather than who is right.
- Resist stereotyping and look for the good in each person.
- Learn about our racial history: walk the historic Slave Trail and visit the many museums that tell Richmond's story.
- Read a book about the legacy of racism in this country, e.g. Just Mercy by Bryan Stevenson; When the Fences Come Down by Genevieve Siegel-Hawley; Something Must Be Done About Prince Edward County by Kristen Green; Trustbuilding by Rob Corcoran; Richmond's Unhealed History by Benjamin Campbell, and other books.
- Start a small dialogue group in your neighborhood, organization or workplace, and honor the life story that each person brings.
- Analyze the racial diversity within your neighborhood, workplace, local school, house of worship, etc., and initiate conversations about where and why there might be lack of inclusion.
- Imagine what a healed Richmond metropolitan community would look like and commit personally to work for racial healing and equity; volunteer with organizations that focus on healing and equity such as Hope in the Cities, Richmond Hill, Virginia Center for Inclusive Communities, Richmond Peace Education Center and others.