Press Release

AAC&U Calls on Higher Education Institutions to Participate in National Day of Racial Healing on January 16

Washington, DC—The American Association of Colleges and Universities (AAC&U) today called on higher education institutions across the country to mark the eighth annual National Day of Racial Healing 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 TRHT Campus Centers will mark the National Day of Racial Healing, visit AAC&U’s NDORH webpage.

“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 NDORH website.

About AAC&U

The American Association of Colleges and Universities (AAC&U) is a global membership organization dedicated to advancing the democratic purposes of higher education by promoting equity, innovation, and excellence in 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