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Image with hearts, National Day of Racial Healing

What is the National Day of Racial Healing?

The National Day of Racial Healing is an annual observance that takes place on the Tuesday following Martin Luther King, Jr. Day – when racial healing activities happen in homes, schools, businesses and  communities across the country with the goal of creating a more just and equitable future for our children.

The National Day of Racial Healing builds upon the W.K. Kellogg Foundation’s lon standing commitment to racial equity, and grew out of the Truth, Racial Healing and Transformation (TRHT) initiative – a comprehensive community-driven effort to bring about transformational and sustainable change while addressing the historic and contemporary effects of racism.

Why a day dedicated to racial healing?

National Day of Racial Healing is meant to raise awareness of the need for racial healing and share how this work is taking shape across the country. Racial healing is at the core of racial equity – it is the people work that creates the collective will to transform communities, organizations and systems.

The National Day of Racial Healing provides an opportunity for individuals, communities and organizations to join together in acknowledging the values we share as people, build trust in one other, develop authentic relationships and inspire collective action to heal from the effects of racism.

How did this day begin and how has it grown?

The inaugural National Day of Racial Healing emerged as an idea during a 2016 summit involving more than 500 of our community partners from across the nation. The first National Day of Racial Healing took place on January 17, 2017.

This first observance of the National Day of Racial Healing was marked largely by independent events at the local level, which were hosted by TRHT communities, grantee partners and other racial equity and healing leaders working with the foundation. This first National Day of Racial Healing was a broad call for healing following contentious rhetoric and high-profile hate crimes dividing the country. The observance also took place following an election cycle marked by discord.

From 2018 onward, WKKF has hosted an annual national signature event, featuring livestream events that helped create a shared national experience and amplify the message of racial healing. In 2020, the National Day Of Racial Healing was livestreamed from the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C., and demonstrated how arts, culture, education and life experiences can foster racial healing. 

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