The National Day of Racial Healing is a time to contemplate our shared values and create the blueprint together for #HowWeHeal from the effects of racism. Launched on Jan. 17, 2017, it is an opportunity to bring ALL people together in their common humanity and inspire collective action to create a more just and equitable world. Fundamental to this day is a clear understanding that racial healing is at the core of racial equity. This day is observed every year on the Tuesday following Martin Luther King, Jr. Day. This annual observance is hosted by the W.K. Kellogg Foundation (WKKF) and was created with and builds on the work and findings of the Truth, Racial Healing & Transformation (TRHT) community partners.
Racial healing is at the heart of racial equity.
To heal means to restore to wholeness. Racial healing is:
Racism affects all of us, whether we are aware of it or not. It affects our ability to know, relate to and value one another. Through racial healing and relationship-building, we can collectively develop new values that affect our everyday decisions.
This exhibit specifically focuses on self-care, mindfulness, and love as acts of nonviolent resistance to oppression, and their role in racial healing. To heal and move forward from racial trauma can be a heavy process that is psychologically, physically, and emotionally draining. Cultivating healthy habits that encourage personal growth, happiness, and care are key to promoting healing in all areas of life. Especially areas which can be challenging to heal from. The authors highlighted here encourage us to find the strength to heal in a variety of ways.
WSU will be holding a number of events related to racial healing on January 17, 2023. For more information, please view the schedule of events.
The above text is adapted from the following websites:
Interfaith dialogue, nonviolent resistance, and racial healing
Whether caused by misunderstanding, confusion, or a lack of similarity between backgrounds, reaching a common ground on religion has proved to be an ongoing societal challenge. How has society progressed in gathering together to find common ground between diverse religious beliefs and practices? How has this unification encouraged healing around issues of racism and injustice? In one example, Martin Luther King Jr.’s road to becoming a minister led him to discover the connection between his form of non-violence and that of Mahatma Gandhi. While the two never had the chance to meet, King found himself inspired by the overlap between the idea of “loving your enemies,” practiced in the Christian faith as a form of non-violence, and Gandhi’s form of non-violence which he called “satyagraha,” meaning “truth-force” or “love-force.” Learning about Gandhi’s satyagraha helped King to perceive methods of non-violence as effective tools in the struggle for freedom. The books in this section explore these themes using works like Marc Andrus’s Brothers in the Beloved Community: The Friendship of Thich Nhat Hanh and Martin Luther King Jr. to show the impact and radical change that people of different religions can create when their focus is on unity instead of division.
Love, mindfulness, and healing in interactions with others
The philosophy of love and nonviolence that developed from religious and spiritual unity has been translated into the everyday practice of racial healing. One of these practices is to focus on our interactions with others through communication, community, and friendship. Structural oppression serves to divide people based on their identity, threatening emotional and physical health. By reaching across these divides, we can begin to break down these barriers. This section showcases several authors who provide practices and theories on integrating love, mindfulness, and healing into everyday interactions with others. Buddhist monk, peace activist, and author Thich Nhat Hanh draws from his personal experience working with couples and in international conflicts in his book, The Art of Communicating, in order to teach the importance of effective listening and speaking skills in relation to mindfulness and authenticity. In her book, Radical Friendship, Kate Johnson uses her experiences as a multiracial meditation teacher to discuss seven strategies based in Buddhism that help cultivate deep and meaningful relationships.
Self-care and self-love as collective healing and resistance
“Caring for myself is not self-indulgence, it is self-preservation, and that is an act of political warfare.” ― Audre Lorde
We cannot demonstrate love to others, or help others heal, until we love and have healed ourselves. Thus, the act of self-care is not just self-serving or for the individual, but helps us to promote love and healing in our communities and help us to form meaningful connections with others. This love and self-care for ourselves can take many forms, as expressed in the books in this section. Historian Stephanie Evans’ Black Women's Yoga History: Memoirs of Inner Peace uses memoirs and autobiographies to tell the story of yoga practices of Black women since the mid-19th century. Evans demonstrates that bodily movement and memoir writing can facilitate healing through “reflection, exercise, movement, stretching, visualization, and chanting for self-care.” For example, we think of Rosa Parks as a woman that exercised her right to sit where she pleased on a bus, but did you also know that she was a lifelong practitioner, and later instructor, of yoga in her community? Meditation teacher and diversity consultant Ruth King’s Mindful of Race utilizes Buddhist teachings to encourage people to be mindful of the ways in which racism and other structural oppressions have dulled our ability to be aware of our emotional responses, and to recognize and work through our most sensitive pain points, some of which stem from generational trauma. These works bridge spiritual and religious belief systems to promote self-love in the practice of racial healing in our communities.