In an era rife with political polarization and communities longing for justice, trustworthy and in-depth news coverage is essential for an informed and involved population. In the United States, Black-owned news organizations play a crucial role in telling stories overlooked or dismissed by other media. Since their origins nearly 200 years ago to the present, Black-led journalism has provided deeper, more accurate and nuanced stories about Black people and communities, going beyond the stereotypes often perpetuated through mass media. Coverage by Black-owned news organizations was essential in the aftermath of the murder of George Floyd, when US and worldwide media focused on experiences of injustice facing Black Americans – often without the knowledge or insight to effectively bear their weight.
At that time, ten of the nation’s leading Black publishers launched a brand-new and innovative news collaborative designed to amplify and elevate the voice of Black America both locally and nationally. These ten publishers are AFRO News, The Atlanta Voice, Dallas Weekly, Houston Defender, Michigan Chronicle, New York Amsterdam News, Sacramento Observer, Seattle Medium, St. Louis American, and Washington Informer. Together these historic publications represent hundreds of years of combined experience in the publishing industry, with some of the individual papers dating back more than a century. Working with the Local Media Association, an organization designed to help local media companies develop new and sustainable business models, these ten publishers launched Word In Black on June 7, 2021, with a bold vision: to be the most trusted news and information source for, about, and by Black people.
Since its launch two years ago, Word In Black has tenaciously pursued its goals of using the collective power of Black-owned news organizations to cover stories that impact the lives of Black people, confront the inequities they face, and elevate solutions, while also lifting up stories of Black success and joy. Word In Black publishes content from its ten partner publications along with content produced by its own editorial team and op-eds from thought leaders and community practitioners. The 10 founding publishers work with the Word In Black team to share the stories in their individual markets as well.
In 2023, the W.K. Kellogg Foundation invested in the work of Word In Black to focus on local and national stories of racial healing. This support for media outlets owned and operated by Black journalists heightens the capacity for concrete examples of the experience of racial healing in people, communities and organizations, knowing that racial healing is the pathway to racial equity.
Read on for a summary of each Word In Black piece on Racial Healing.
Tune in to Word In Black’s Event With Dr. Joy DeGruy and Dr. Bahia Cross: Join Word In Black on Wednesday, Oct 25, for a conversation about what racial healing looks like in real time for the Black community.
To Improve Our Health, Change Our Story: Truth, Racial Healing and Transformation framework author Gail Christopher says Black health starts with changing America’s racial narrative.
The Healing Power of Black Men Being Vulnerable Together: “Brothers Talking,” a new public TV show, brings Black men together to unpack the effects of racial trauma and “remember who we are.”
The Ripple Effect of Ensuring Black Authors Get Published: By helping Black writers navigate publishing, We Need Diverse Books ensures readers nationwide see themselves reflected in the stories told.
Formula for Freedom: Joy Plus Imagination: The Colored Girls Liberation Lab is creating healing spaces for Black women to “play” and dream with their lives.
Can Breathing Help Heal Black Racial Trauma?: Waiting to exhale? Wellness expert Zee Clarke believes intentional breath work can help relieve the stress of being Black in America.
Black Healing Through Time Travel? Exhibit Aims to Prove it: The Experience Sankofa Project heals participants using pivotal moments in Black history, from Africa to enslavement to the Black Panthers.
Are You Experiencing Racelighting? Here’s What it Means: Think gaslighting but with racism added — and Dr. J. Luke Wood says if the condition isn’t identified, the healing can’t begin.
Want Kids to Achieve? Heal Racism’s Wounds: Ever Forward Club founder Ashanti Branch says Black youth need “more care, more love, and being heard and being seen.”
Youth Activist Tiana Day Picks Up the Torch of Racial Justice and Healing: The activist and founder of Youth Advocates for Change says awakening your “consciousness is stepping into healing work in itself.”
Bringing Racial Healing to the Heart of Black Chicago: Through her nonprofit Organic Oneness, Syda Segovia Taylor combines education, community, and faith so “we can show up as our full selves.”
The Long History of Black-Asian Solidarity: Malcolm X, Jesse Jackson, and Frederick Douglass knew the same “playbook is being used against both Black and Asian communities.”
Harnessing the Power of Stories That Heal: Fanshen Cox has long been a racial equity leader in Hollywood. Now she’s raising the call for “truth and racial healing” in Tinseltown.
A Prescription for Healing America’s Pre-Existing Condition: Black folks need facilitated spaces specifically designed for coming together to foster “racial healing on a broad scale.”
The Healing Power of Black Joy Marches on in Chicago: Every August, the Bud Billiken Parade enables the community to thrive in “an unabashed celebration of the city’s Black culture.”
Reckoning With Racism, Even at a Haven Like Spelman: Sociology professor Cynthia Spence says we need dialogue to help HBCU students heal from beliefs rooted in white supremacy.
When it Comes to Tech, We Are Who We’ve Been Waiting For: Dr. Fallon Wilson sees a future where “Black girls code, artificial intelligence doesn’t discriminate, and Black people are driving change in America.”
Rewriting Narratives About Black Youths, One Story at a Time: The Choice Center, a Baltimore-area program, diverts at-risk youths away from trouble and towards more positive outcomes.
Effort to Foster Racial Healing Flourishes on College Campuses: Seventy Truth, Racial Healing and Transformation Campus Centers nationwide teach students to “dismantle toxic racial hierarchies.”