For Immediate Release

David Tritelli
Vice President for Communications and Public Affairs
202-888-0811 (office)

A Call to Colleges and Universities: National Day of Racial Healing on January 16

AAC&U calls on colleges and universities to help heal the wounds created by racial, ethnic, and religious bias and build an equitable and just society where all individuals can thrive

Jan 9, 2018

Washington, DC­­—To mark the second annual National Day of Racial Healing on January 16, 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 16 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 hashtags #NDORH (National Day of Racial Healing) or #TRHT (Truth, Racial Healing & Transformation).

Resources are available to help you plan and promote your NDORH efforts, including an engagement guide, templates, graphics, conversation guides, and more, at

At Millsaps College in Jackson, Mississippi, the campus community will acknowledge National Day of Racial Healing through a series of campus conversations featuring faculty and staff speakers, small group discussions, and interactive activities coordinated by the Truth, Racial Healing & Transformation (TRHT) Campus Center. A community art project will ask members of the campus community to answer, “Where do you see that racial healing is needed most in the world today?” on a large Millsaps College flag.

The TRHT Campus Center at Rutgers University—Newark is coordinating National Day of Racial Healing activities with departments across the campus with the intention of engaging members of the campus and surrounding community that represent diverse ages and ethnic groups. Through a social media campaign entitled "My Racial Healing Looks Like. . . ," students can share how they will take a stand for racial healing, and a poster board activity will turn racial slurs and microaggressions into words of love, positivity, and empowerment. In an evening event, individuals of all ages and ethnicities from the local community and across campus are invited to use spoken word, poetry, and music to express what racial healing looks like to them.

AAC&U’s TRHT Efforts

As a sector partner in the W.K. Kellogg Foundation’s Truth, Racial Healing & Transformation (TRHT) effort, AAC&U is guiding the development of TRHT Campus Centers on college and university campuses around the country, with the goal of establishing 150 centers. The first ten TRHT Campus Centers will serve as models for addressing the goals and objectives of the W.K. Kellogg Foundation’s TRHT process and will prepare the next generation of leaders to advance justice and build equitable communities. 

Later this month, AAC&U will hold its inaugural TRHT Institute in Washington, DC, where TRHT Campus Center teams will come together to discuss and refine their visionary plans to engage and empower campus and community stakeholders to uproot the conscious and unconscious biases and misbeliefs that have exacerbated racial violence and tension in American society. AAC&U’s TRHT Campus Centers work is supported through funding from Newman’s Own Foundation and the W.K. Kellogg Foundation. 

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