Press Release

A Call to Colleges and Universities: National Day of Racial Healing on January 22

Washington, DC—To mark the third annual National Day of Racial Healing on January 22, the Association of American Colleges and Universities (AAC&U) calls on colleges and universities 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 upon members of the higher education community to recognize NDORH on January 22 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 are available to help you plan and promote your NDORH efforts, including an engagement guide, templates, graphics, conversation guides, and more at

AAC&U’s TRHT Efforts

“At AAC&U, our efforts to advance Truth, Racial Healing & Transformation represents a long-term commitment to preparing the next generation of strategic leaders and thinkers to address racism in our society,” said Tia Brown McNair, AAC&U’s Vice President for Diversity, Equity, and Student Success. “With initial support from Newman’s Own Foundation and the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, AAC&U has been working with the first ten TRHT Campus Centers to develop and implement comprehensive action plans to achieve this goal, but also to examine how the legacies of racism are represented at their institutions. In June 2019, 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.”

To learn more about AAC&U’s TRHT efforts, visit

About AAC&U

AAC&U is the leading national association dedicated to advancing the vitality and public standing of liberal education by making quality and equity the foundations for excellence in undergraduate education in service to democracy. Its members are committed to extending the advantages of a liberal education to all students, regardless of academic specialization or intended career. Founded in 1915, AAC&U now comprises 1,400 member institutions—including accredited public and private colleges, community colleges, research universities, and comprehensive universities of every type and size.

AAC&U functions as a catalyst and facilitator, forging links among presidents, administrators, faculty, and staff engaged in institutional and curricular planning. Through a broad range of activities, AAC&U reinforces the collective commitment to liberal education at the national, local, and global levels. Its high-quality programs, publications, research, meetings, institutes, public outreach efforts, and campus-based projects help individual institutions ensure that the quality of student learning is central to their work as they evolve to meet new economic and social challenges.

Information about AAC&U can be found at