National Day of Racial Healing observances set in Battle Creek and Kalamazoo

Battle Creek and Kalamazoo will be among communities across the United States that will be part of the second annual National Day of Racial Healing on Jan. 16. The day offers an opportunity for people, organizations and communities nationwide to call for racial healing, bring people together in their common humanity and take collective action to create a more just and equitable world.

In Battle Creek, community members will gather at key intersections throughout the, holding heart-shaped signs (to be provided to participants) to remind people that love is the foundation for changing hearts and minds. The demonstration from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. will highlight the importance of love by engaging the heart of all people as a first step in working toward racial healing. (You can call (269) 979-2945 or send an email to BattleCreekTRHT@gmail.com to become involved.)

High school students from throughout the Battle Creek area will fill the W.K. Kellogg Auditorium for an interactive art and music experience from 12:30 to 2 p.m. intended to reinforce common humanity and celebrate the differences that make the community vibrant. 

"Bringing students from area high schools together is a beginning for a youth community healing effort – youth have always had leadership roles in the nation’s transformative efforts,” says La June Montgomery Tabron, president and CEO of the W.K. Kellogg Foundation. "As we celebrate the second annual National Day of Racial Healing, there is no other place I’d rather be than with our young people in Battle Creek."

The event's organizers say, "Youth are an important part of a community's efforts to bridge the divides and it is essential to elevate their voice in a community's collective efforts to transform its future."
This event will include a blessing by the Nottawaseppi Huron Band of the Potawatomi, a welcome from WKKF President and CEO La June Montgomery Tabron, and performances by national and local artists. This experience will equip and engage students in the process to heal and transform our community.

And the City of Battle Creek will issue a proclamation to recognize the National Day of Racial Healing and to support ongoing work in an effort to heal the wounds created by racial, ethnic and religious bias and build an equitable and just Battle Creek. 

Meanwhile, in Kalamazoo, the Kalamazoo TRHT partnership is getting input from people across the community who aren’t usually "at the table" to lift those voices and perspectives up to help inform our local TRHT vision – in partnership with Rootead, KYDnet, Douglass Community Association, Welcoming Michigan, and others. There will be more of these types of activates in the future.

The Kalamazoo Community Foundation also has a number of ideas for people who want to be part of the work being done Jan. 16 and beyond. One idea is to have a conversation. Anyone can have a conversation about racism with their family, friends, or in their workplace. Businesses, organizations, and individuals can hang a poster in a visible place to show support for the day. Posters can be picked up from the Kalamazoo Community Foundation on Thursday, Jan. 11 and Friday, Jan. 12 between 9 a.m.-5 p.m. at Kalamazoo Community Foundation, 402 E. Michigan Ave.

Those in Kalamazoo also can attend an event. There will be free public events hosted by the Arcus Center for Social Justice Leadership at Kalamazoo College (205 Monroe St., Kalamazoo) on Jan. 16. Details and updates can be found here.

• Reclaiming Native History and Culture film and discussion 11:30 a.m. - 1:30 p.m.

• Workshop led by nationally-renowned organizer, educator, and curator Mariame Kaba 5– 8 p.m.

RSVP for either by emailing RSVP to acsjl@kzoo.edu.

Sources: Kalamazoo Community Foundation; and Truth, Racial Healing and Transformation Battle Creek
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