Toward racial healing

Published January 14, 2022

"We have come a long, long way, but we have a long way to go." - Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.

On Monday, January 17, we will again celebrate Dr. King’s birthday and his legacy of working for social justice. To be sure, his vision for a more perfect union has come a long way since he made that remark at an NAACP event in 1957, but much remains to be done.

As we strive to create new ways forward – to grow and move past systemic racism and institutionalized violence – we must work toward reconciliation. As part of that effort, our campus will join numerous organizations and individuals observing the National Day of Racial Healing (NDORH) on Tuesday, January 18.

Established in 2017 by leaders from around the United States who wanted to set aside a day to act together, the NDORH is an annual opportunity for each one of us to call for racial healing; to unite and share in our common humanity; and to create a just and equitable society.

I hope you will join me on this day to reflect on challenging questions; to have difficult conversations about race; and to look for the opportunities to bring about transformational and sustainable change. If we are going to heal as a nation, it’s vital that we address the reality of systemic racism, that is, racism endemic in our laws, history, and norms.

Like Dr. King’s birthday, the NDORH is about more than just the day it’s observed – it’s a starting place. If we are to fix what has been broken for so long, then we must dedicate ourselves to seeking truth and working together to create a more just and equitable nation. Shrinking from our history is the wrong choice.  The truth will make us all free.

Jane Close Conoley, Ph.D.