The 6th Annual Event Seeks to Inspire More Equity in Communities
WASHINGTON – Dr. Gail C. Christopher, executive director of the National Collaborative for Health Equity (NCHE), urges individuals, organizations and the private sector to participate in the 6th Annual National Day of Racial Healing (NDORH) on January 18. She calls on America to “stand up” for the belief that racism can be defeated and cites the Truth, Racial Healing and Transformation (TRHT) framework as an inspirational approach to achieve that objective.
Dr. Christopher, one of the nation’s leading advocates for racial healing, believes the National Day of Racial Healing is an important component in dismantling the belief in a hierarchy of human value that fuels racism. She was instrumental in launching NDORH as a Senior Advisor and Vice President of the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, which vigorously supports the National Day of Racial Healing. It has attracted hundreds of thousands of participants over the years.
Last year, despite the COVID pandemic, nearly 90 virtual events were hosted across the country. The Kellogg Foundation reported that “a wide array of programs (were held) to foster truth-telling, affirm our common humanity and inspire collective action toward a more just and equitable world.” The Foundation said their virtual event “featured essential and timely conversations” on righting historical wrongs, employment equity and law and justice, featuring Ta-Nehisi Coates, Yara Shahidi, Camila Cabello, María Hinojosa, John Legend and others.
This year, organizations and municipalities are holding events across the country, including in Battle Creek, Michigan; Lansing, Michigan; Madison, Wisconsin; Haddonfield, New Jersey; Lansdowne, Pennsylvania; Detroit, Michigan; White Plains, New York; Austin, Texas; South Fulton, Georgia; Phoenix, Arizona and Harrisonburg, Virginia.
“It’s hard to believe it’s been six years that we’ve been commemorating and acknowledging this very important day,” Dr. Christopher says in a new video urging participation. “…It’s a day that we set aside to stand up for the belief that our country can actually eliminate and overcome the harms of racism. Yes, we believe that we can. And in fact, we must eliminate racism and that’s what the National Day of Racial Healing is all about. It’s a time for communities to come together and embrace and honor the humanity of all people.”
Her complete video message is available HERE.
In the video, Dr. Christopher asserts that America must “be truthful” about its legacy of racism which dates back to our inception as a nation. Nonetheless, she says we must move forward, adding, “It’s time to envision a future, a future in which we have actually addressed racism.”
Moreover, Dr. Christopher offers support for a national TRHT Commission. California Rep. Barbara Lee and New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker have introduced measures in the House and Senate. More than 300 organizations support Rep. Lee’s TRHT resolution and it has more than 150 co-sponsors in Congress. Dr. Christopher says the TRHT framework is a comprehensive, national, and community-based process to bring transformational and sustainable change, while addressing historic and contemporary effects of racism. TRHT’s five guiding pillars are: Narrative Change, Racial Healing and Relationship Building, Separation, Law and the Economy. Dr. Christopher notes that the pillars are the foundation for several initiatives, including Healing Through Policy, a partnership between NCHE, the de Beaumont Foundation, and the American Public Health Association. More information can be found at https://www.nationalcollaborative.org/healing-through-policy/
Dr. Christopher says the National Day of Racial Healing energizes our commitment and engages millions of people. She asks viewers to visit the Kellogg Foundation website to learn more about the NDORH at https://healourcommunities.org/day-of-racial-healing/ and to download a toolkit at https://healourcommunities.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/12/Individuals-Action-Kit_2022.pdf to learn what students, individuals, organizations, companies and others can do to support it. “On 18th, we encourage you to set aside some time and to orchestrate some very specific relational work that allows you to become more skilled and more capable of seeing yourself in the face of the perceived other,” she tells viewers.
As Dr. Christopher speaks to groups around the country, in person and virtually, she encounters many people tired of the injustices and the inequities. Frequently, they ask, “Dr. Christopher, what gives you hope? What keeps you inspired?”
“And my response is that I’ve seen how much progress we have made, and it is significant. And I know I’ve seen individuals overcome the barriers,” she says. “I’ve seen communities come together and create new ways forward. So, I believe in my heart that we, as a democracy can overcome our legacy of division and racism. And perhaps more importantly, that we must. I believe democracy is a very good idea. And I know that it’s under threat right now with all the authoritarian momentum around the world and even in this country. But I also know that if we are to actualize the promise of democracy, we must overcome and eliminate racism.”
Founded in 2014, NCHE promotes health equity through action, leadership, inclusion and collaboration. We work to create environments that foster the best possible health outcomes for all populations, regardless of race, ethnicity, socioeconomic status or nativity. NCHE also works to improve conditions for health and well-being, including those related to housing, education, income and wealth and the physical and social environment. Further, it is imperative that we address historic and contemporary structural, institutional and interpersonal racism, which fuels inequities in our society.