Posted on January 19, 2023

What Is the National Day of Racial Healing?

Kristen DelGuzzi, USA Today, January 17, 2023

“I want to express how essential we believe racial healing is to truly achieving racial equity.”

This is a message La June Montgomery Tabron delivers with passion, conviction and years of results to bolster her beliefs.

Tabron is the first woman and first Black president and CEO of the William K. Kellogg Foundation. Under her leadership, the foundation launched the National Day of Racial Healing in 2017 to build relationships and connect in meaningful ways, whether at school, at work, in neighborhoods, faith communities or homes.

Each year since, the movement has grown, supported by Tabron and the W. K. Kellogg Foundation, which creates toolkits for conversations.

This year, events are scheduled in communities around the country. {snip}

When we envisioned (in 2016) how we could support the actions of people inspired by Dr. King,” Tabron said, “we envisioned thousands of people coming together. People who we know are in communities doing this work, and we envisioned supporting them to build communities where children thrive. And seven years later, now we are seeing millions of people come together all across our nation, and we are very excited that each year this movement has produced great outcomes for children and families.”


What is the National Day of Racial Healing?

It’s an observance that follows Martin Luther King Jr. Day. So it’s the Tuesday after Martin Luther King Jr. Day. And it was intentionally created so that we are all inspired by Dr. King’s words, that we support a day where people can come together and act in accordance with his vision.

So we envision this day as a day of connecting people, bringing people together to build relationships and to bridge divides that prevent us from actually creating communities for all children and people to thrive.

Did you imagine, seven years ago, that this would be this big?

So, of course we have that vision, right? We wanted it to reach every person in the world, but in seven years’ time the movement that is continuing to just fuel the conversations that matter for people – the conversations that are truly acknowledging how we have all been harmed by racism. But yet how we can all come together and connect and build relationships that allow us to heal. And that’s what this work is about.

Are there stories that have particularly resonated with you?

You know we’ve done this work all over the nation. So there are many stories. But (New Orleans) is one of our Truth, Racial Healing & Transformation locations. And so we’ll talk about what’s happening in New Orleans around work in the Claiborne corridor, where a community was pretty much disrupted by a new freeway that was built right in the middle of their neighborhood. And because of our Truth, Racial Healing & Transformation work, this community has been working together to create opportunities for families who are disrupted by this freeway, to have opportunities and to rebuild their community in a way that truly respects and values every member of the community.