A Call to Colleges and Universities: National Day of Racial Healing – Jan 16

Posted by American Association of Colleges and Universities on January 16, 2024

The American Association of Colleges and Universities (AAC&U) today called on higher education institutions across the country to mark the eighth annual on Tuesday, January 16, by promoting racial healing and fostering engagement around issues of racism, bias, inequity, and injustice in our society.

The National Day of Racial Healing was launched in 2017 by the W.K. Kellogg Foundation as part of its Truth, Racial Healing and Transformation (TRHT) effort, a national and community-based process to plan for, and bring about, transformational and sustainable change. Held on the Tuesday following the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday, the annual observance is an opportunity to engage in collective action to create a more just and equitable world.

“The commitment to redress the historical and contemporary effects of racism is central to AAC&U’s mission of advancing the democratic purposes of higher education and integral to the aims of a contemporary liberal education,” said AAC&U President Lynn Pasquerella. “The National Day of Racial Healing is an opportunity for campuses and communities to come together and reflect on shared values, recognize our common humanity, and focus on healing the effects of racism.”

As part of the broader TRHT effort, AAC&U partners with higher education institutions to establish TRHT Campus Centers that focus on preparing the next generation of leaders to build more just and equitable communities by dismantling the false belief in a hierarchy of human value. To learn how will mark the National Day of Racial Healing, visit .

“Building and sustaining a positive narrative about race and difference at higher education institutions and within communities involves truth-telling, deep listening, and most importantly, a commitment to creating environments where healing and growth can occur,” said Tia McNair, AAC&U’s Vice President for Diversity, Equity and Student Success and Executive Director for the TRHT Campus Centers. “The National Day of Racial Healing acknowledges the harm and trauma caused by a false belief in a hierarchy of human value, while encouraging us to focus on a process of healing that will lead to transformation.”

All colleges and universities are encouraged to plan and promote activities appropriate to their unique institutional missions and contexts, such as:

  • organizing racial healing activities in connection with already-scheduled Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day events;
  • inviting and encouraging faculty members to connect course content to racial healing on January 16 or during that week;
  • coordinating stand-alone or integrated events on campus that address racial healing;
  • sharing stories, event details, photos, and videos via social media using the hashtag #HowWeHeal.

Resources for promoting the National Day of Racial Healing (NDORH), including action kits for students, educators, and others, are available online from the .

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