A Call to Colleges and Universities: National Day of Racial Healing on January 18

January 13, 2022—Washington, DC—To mark the sixth annual National Day of Racial Healing on January 18, the American Association of Colleges and Universities (AAC&U) calls on higher education institutions across the country to engage in activities, events, or strategies that promote healing and foster engagement around the issues of racism, bias, inequity, and injustice in our society. The National Day of Racial Healing (NDORH) is an opportunity for people and organizations to come together in their common humanity and take collective action to create a more just and equitable world. NDORH is part of the W.K. Kellogg Foundation’s Truth, Racial Healing & Transformation (TRHT) effort—a national and community-based process to plan for and bring about transformational and sustainable change, and to address the historical and contemporary effects of racism.

“Fostering racial and social justice is central to AAC&U’s mission of advancing liberal education, quality, and equity in service to democracy. All institutions of higher education must embrace the public purpose of higher education by addressing issues of moral and civic responsibility,” said AAC&U President Lynn Pasquerella. “Identifying the ways in which structural racism is perpetuated and eliminating the belief in a hierarchy of human value are integral to the civic dimensions of liberal education as a force for public good.”

AAC&U calls on members of the higher education community to recognize NDORH on January 18 by engaging in efforts to heal the wounds created by racial, ethnic, and religious bias and build an equitable and just society where all individuals can thrive.

We encourage colleges and universities to plan and promote NDORH activities unique to each institution’s mission and context, such as

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

Resources to help you plan and promote your NDORH efforts, including a set of action kits for students, educators, and others, are available at https://healourcommunities.org/day-of-racial-healing.

“To prepare the next generation of strategic leaders and thinkers to address racism in our society and to examine how the legacies of racism are represented at individual institutions, AAC&U is currently working with TRHT Campus Centers at fifty-five colleges and universities across the country,” said Tia Brown McNair, AAC&U Vice President for Diversity, Equity, and Student Success and Executive Director for the TRHT Campus Centers. “In June 2022, AAC&U will hold the next Institute for TRHT Campus Centers with the existing centers and other institutions interested in hosting a center. The institute will include workshops, discussion and reflection sessions, racial healing circles, and a preparation process for new facilitators.”

AAC&U encourages colleges and universities to plan and promote NDORH activities unique to their unique missions and contexts. Click here to discover what some TRHT Campus Centers are doing to promote NDORH on January 18.

About AAC&U

The American Association of Colleges and Universities (AAC&U) is a global membership organization dedicated to advancing the vitality and democratic purposes of undergraduate liberal education. Through our programs and events, publications and research, public advocacy and campus-based projects, AAC&U serves as a catalyst and facilitator for innovations that improve educational quality and equity and that support the success of all students. In addition to accredited public and private, two-year and four-year colleges and universities and state higher education systems and agencies throughout the United States, our membership includes degree-granting higher education institutions in more than twenty-five countries as well as other organizations and individuals. To learn more, visit www.aacu.org.

###