On the seventh annual National Day of Racial Healing, many may wonder how to expect one day to make a difference. The U.S. has long been mired in destructive and devastating systemic trauma; undoing its effects will surely take time. In the nationwide remembrances of the life and death of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., we see both the strides we have taken and the pain we still have yet to repair. In her recent op-ed for MSNBC, the president and CEO of the W.K. Kellogg Foundation (WKKF), La June Montgomery Tabron, calls readers to understanding and action toward racial equity. A clear relationship between racial healing and racial equity, she writes, is essential for repair and transformation in our nation and world:
“As we discuss the most effective ways to bring about racial equity, we need to make space for something else: racial healing. … Racial equity, imposed from above, mandated by a court or lawmakers, will never stick unless there is also racial healing, grown from within and nurtured carefully.
“Racial healing is what’s needed for a country that has been poisoned by racism for centuries. It is an authentic acknowledgment of and open grappling with the generations of trauma that have been visited on all of us ….
“It is a process for connecting, telling the truth, building relationships and bridging divides so that communities can develop the trust to work together toward a more equitable future, and a world in which all our children can thrive.”
Why racial equity requires racial healing
The truth-telling inherent in racial healing is crucial to achieving racial equity – and both take more than one day. The Kellogg Foundation has been committed to societal and policy-based change since well before its Truth, Racial Healing and Transformation efforts and the first the National Day of Racial Healing launched in 2017. That continued work, sustained by the honest conversation and authentic relationship at the core of racial healing, laid the groundwork for the foundation’s Racial Equity 2030 challenge, awarding $80 million over the next eight years to five awardees around the world. It also undergirds the foundation’s pursuit of Expanding Equity in business, helping workplaces attract, retain and promote diverse talent.
The foundation’s commitment to racial healing and racial equity doesn’t just happen on the National Day of Racial Healing, but every day toward reaching WKKF’s vision of a day when all children have an equitable and promising future, living in a nation in which all children thrive.