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Rutgers University-Newark is celebrating the 6th annual National Day of Racial Healing



originally published: 01/12/2022

(NEWARK, NJ) – The Truth, Racial Healing, and Transformation (TRHT) Center at Rutgers University-Newark will commemorate the 6th Annual Racial Healing Day, January 18-25. The week begins with a virtual opening program on the 18th with additional events, programs, workshops, art exhibitions and racial healing circles. Nationwide programming is a collaborative effort between nonprofits, communities, corporations, Newark residents, the Rutgers University system, and the state of New Jersey.

“One of our goals is to embed the framework of the Center for Truth, Racial Healing, and Transformation into the ethos, culture, and environments of anchor institutions and other community-based organizations,” said Sharon Stroye, director of the center. “National Racial Healing Day 2022 reflects how institutions, organizations, communities and individuals are changing their views and promoting a culture of healing within their respective worlds of influence.”

The National Day of Racial Healing began in 2017 as an effort by the WK Kellogg Foundation to raise awareness of the need for healing to achieve racial justice. It is celebrated annually on the Tuesday after Martin Luther King Jr. Day.

This year the focus is on Healing in Action: Impact and Integration. An overarching question will be explored during the week: How is society taking action to unite communities, institutions, and residents of New Jersey about justice and equality for all?

“Healing does not mean shrugging off or forgetting about the damage and trauma that exists,” said Tyreek Rolon, a School of Public Affairs and Administration student trained as a TRHT Lead Facilitator. “It means that we are no longer willing to let this damage and trauma control our lives.”

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The virtual opening program on Tuesday runs from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. It will be streamed live on the Rutgers University-Newark website, TRHT Newark’s YouTube channel and TRHT Newark’s Facebook page. The stream is public and free.

The opening speech will be given by several members of the Rutgers Newark community, including representatives from the National Day of Racial Healing Committee and the New Jersey Theater Alliance. There will also be a video of Lt. Governor Sheila Oliver give.

“Governor Murphy and I commend the Rutgers Truth, Racial Healing and Transformation Center for expanding the path for racial healing and justice in New Jersey through this incredible program,” said Lt. Governor Sheila Oliver, serving as commissioner for the Department of Community Affairs. “By helping people examine their humanity and look beyond their own ethnic groups and identities, we can begin to break down prejudice and solve the problems of justice and access that divide us.”

The program continues with video tributes, including a two-part video by Newark’s Mayor Ras Baraka’s spoken word play What We Want. There will be several panel discussions in the afternoon focusing on public engagement and healing, as well as stories from a student forum on healing from the pandemic. The day ends at 6:00 p.m. with the annual Healing Sounds of Newark: a collection of spoken word / artistic performances by students and invited guests.

This year, the TRHT Center in Rutgers-Newark partnered with Creating Change Network (CCN), a program run by the NJ Theater Alliance and ArtPride Jersey that aims to build fairer, more equitable and anti-racist communities. CCN has organized 16 arts organizations and individuals to participate in the weeklong events.

“NPJAC is honored to be part of this very important recognition of our National Day of Healing,” said Donna Walker-Kuhne, Senior Advisor, Diversity, Equity and Inclusion at the New Jersey Performing Arts Center. “This diverse range of art-related activities offered through the Creating Change Network will contribute positively to shaping this vision of a ‘changed world’ and to the still necessary and ongoing discussions about racial and social justice; efforts to transform our cultural workspaces; and must expand access to the arts for all communities and the importance of respect and appreciation for all people. “

The Scotch Plains-Fanwood Joint Committee for Truth, Racial Healing, and Transformation, together with Social Justice Matters Inc. (SJM), is offering on January 17th from 3:30 pm to 5:00 pm in conjunction with MLK Tuesday and on the 18th of 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. as part of the National Racial Healing Day.

“Racial healing circles show that people from different backgrounds are more similar than we think,” said Scotch Plains Mayor Joshua Losardo. “A better understanding of our common humanity strengthens our local community and the more people participate in these discussions, the better we will all be.”

A full calendar of the week’s events, including those leading up to the opening program, is available online here.

The TRHT Center at Rutgers University-Newark (RU-N) was one of 10 incubator campuses selected by the Association of American Colleges and Universities in 2017 with funding from WK Kellogg and Newman’s Own Foundations. There are now 55 TRHT campus centers across the country with transformative action plans to overcome belief in racist behavior and dispel hierarchy of human worth.

The TRHT Center at Rutgers University-Newark (RU-N) pursues public engagement and democratic collaboration to transform the prevailing narrative / perception of Newark by connecting our citywide network of partners through initiatives that leverage existing and emerging resources to promote equity and access, and to deliver transformative positive narratives about the city of Newark, the state of New Jersey and its people.

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