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MDCR Asks: What is Your Community Doing to Promote Racial Healing?
MDCR would love for your city, neighborhood or school to pursue activities or actions for the National Day of Racial Healing.
The observance of the National Day of Racial Healing offers opportunities for local governments, educators, businesses and individuals to get involved and demonstrate their commitment to racial healing.
The National Day of Racial Healing is a grassroots initiative started three years ago aimed at overcoming racial biases and unifying people in the United States to create an environment where all children can thrive. The day was named as part of the W.K. Kellogg Foundation’s Truth, Racial Healing and Transformation enterprise, which is a comprehensive effort to address historic and contemporary effects of racism and bring about transformational and sustainable change.
The Michigan Department of Civil Rights has offered a list of actions or activities that local governments can take to recognize the day. One additional way local government can become is by adopting a proclamation. Click here for a sample proclamation, which can be updated and refined to fit your local government's story. Listed below are some recommendations for you to consider:
OPTIONS FOR LOCAL GOVERNMENT
- Issue a proclamation for the National Day of Racial Healing.
- Organize a meeting with city department heads to discuss how the city could improve race relations and services to neighborhoods with a large percentage of communities of color.
- Honor an individual or an organization that has worked to improve race relations.
- Create or update the contact list of organizations that represent different racial and ethnic groups and contact them with employment opportunities and other important information.
- Create signage that city or county departments can put on city or county vehicles in recognition of the National Day of Racial Healing.
- Hang a large sign from city or county hall that says, “The City (or County) of _____ supports the National Day of Racial Healing.”
- Hire a facilitator to have discussions about how to have effective conversations about race or develop a racial equity impact assessment.
- Ask the city or county librarian to develop a reading list of books related to racial healing.
- Encourage city or county departments to host potlucks featuring ethnic foods, with the city providing paper plates, napkins, utensils.
- Make the National Day of Racial Healing a day of development for city or county supervisors on EEO laws and bias in hiring and promotions.
- Plan a day of service that would allow city or county employees to work for part of a day in a community organization that serves communities of color.
- Examine local board appointments by race and then discuss and determine how one can broaden or further diversify such boards.
- Work with the human relations or civil rights commissions to create a program that promotes racial equality and racial healing.
- Make the National Day of Racial Healing a part of Martin Luther King, Jr. holiday observances by announcing the day and giving people signs they can hang on their personal residences, vehicles or businesses.
- Host a movie night at local libraries with documentaries related to race or the effects of racial bias and discrimination.
- Organize a meeting with police department officials and community members to discuss how to build trust and improve safety.
- Examine law enforcement data related to hate crimes and issue a report to city staff and local media and proclaim a commitment as a safe city for all.
OPTIONS FOR EDUCATORS
- Connect with other teachers and suggest an activity that everyone can do from their classrooms. Include the parents of students who home-school in your outreach.
- Organize an age-appropriate conversation with the children to first find out what they know about race. For example, the question might be as simple as asking what they know about Asian, African-American, White, and Native American people. Lead them into a conversation about making the world a better place. Emphasize caring about and respecting people of different races.
Elementary and High School Educators
- Facilitate conversations in school cafeterias (e.g. Lunch & Learn – 10 Questions to Trigger Dialogue).
- Devote classroom time to teach and/or discuss an issue related to racial healing.
- Connect with the local Parent Teacher Association (PTA).
- Find or develop sample lessons for fellow teachers by Teaching Tolerance/ADL/ Facing History and Ourselves.
- Conduct healing circles in every classroom.
- Organize a contest. Have youth come up with their own slogans and quotes that inspire racial healing.