RU-N Launches Truth, Racial Healing and Transformation Campus Center in Partnership with Community Organizations

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(l-r: NJISJ Pres. & CEO Ryan P. Haygood, NPL Dir. Jeffrey Trzeciak, Mayor Ras J. Baraka, RU-N Chancellor Nancy Cantor, RU-N Executive Vice Chancellor Sherri-Ann Butterfield)

At a press conference held on Wed., Feb., 28, Rutgers University–Newark (RU-N) officially opened its Truth, Racial Healing and Transformation (TRHT) Campus Center with community partners and announced the center’s upcoming citywide activities. 

TRHT Campus Centers is a comprehensive, national, and community-based initiative developed by the Association of American Colleges and Universities and funded by Newman’s Own Foundation and the W.K. Kellogg Foundation to help bring about transformational and sustainable change that addresses the historic and contemporary effects of racism. Established at 10 colleges and universities in the United States, the TRHT Campus Centers will engage and empower campus and community stakeholders to confront and dismantle the conscious and unconscious biases and misperceptions that exacerbate racial tension in America.

“Over the past 15 months, our nation has experienced a proliferation of racial incidents. Whether it was the violence that ensued in Charlottesville, Virginia, following the removal of Confederate statues, or the run-of-the-mill confrontations caught on cell phones by everyday citizens and passersby; the rise of racism, misogyny, Islamophobia, and anti-immigrant sentiments threatens to undo the very tenets upon which our nation was founded,” said Mayor Ras J. Baraka. “Our colleges and universities are uniquely poised to explore, examine, and deliberate on the matter of race in America and to facilitate ideas, as well as nurture leaders, that offer solutions to this crisis. I commend Rutgers-Newark for being at the forefront of this effort and look forward to collaborating with the TRHT Campus Center toward this end.”

RU-N’s TRHT Campus Center will seek to:

  • increase positive engagement and perceptions of Newark among RU-N faculty, staff, and students;
  • foster positive engagement and perceptions of Newark and its surrounding communities;
  • facilitate ongoing on- and off-campus conversations concerning issues of truth and racial healing;
  • leverage RU-N resources to facilitate a reduction in poverty and unemployment in Newark and strengthen Newark’s economy by 2020; and
  • change legislative policies regarding voting rights of individuals in the criminal justice system, specifically those on parole or probation, and/or who have a criminal conviction.

“If we ever needed truth, racial healing, and transformation, we need it in abundance now,” said Ryan P. Haygood, president and chief executive officer of the New Jersey Institute for Social Justice. “That’s what the TRHT Campus Center will help bring to our city and state more broadly. This is a difficult national moment, to be sure. And change, resistance, and social justice will occur from the ground up, starting on our campuses in our communities. We at the New Jersey Institute for Social Justice are excited to join in this work.”
The TRHT Campus Center will present a series of activities throughout the city of Newark titled, My Racial Healing Looks Like, which includes the following events:

  • A free launch reception, Thur., March 1, 5:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m., at Express Newark, 54 Washington Street, 3rd floor, Paul Robeson Galleries, Newark, NJ 07102
    --A wine and cheese event that includes a tour and discussion of Mirror Mirror, an exhibition of contemporary visual art that utilizes the concept of portraiture to challenge dominant paradigms about gender, race, age, societal norms, technology, and beauty. The featured artists approach the subject of portraiture in a multitude of ways, looking to the past, present, and future for inspiration.
  • A free Women's History Month Celebration performance, Storms Weathered, Sat., March 10, 2:00 p.m. – 4:30 p.m., at the Newark Public Library, Main Branch, 5 Washington Street, Centennial Hall, Newark, NJ 07102
    --A musical performance and fictional discussion with four of the most renowned women in blues and jazz history – Billie Holiday, Josephine Baker, Bessie Smith, and Ethel Waters. Four women, four conversations, revealing and exploring the legacy successes, struggles and survival they all experienced, starring Patricia Walton as Billie Holiday, Phyllis Blanford as Josephine Baker, Omisanya Karade as Ethel Waters, and Ife Basim as Bessie Smith.
  • A free Women's History Month Celebration recognition, No More Hidden Figures, Mon., March 26, 11:30 a.m. – 1:00 p.m., at the Paul Robeson Campus Center, 350 Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd., Suite 231, Essex Room, Newark, NJ 07102
    --Hidden Figures are women who study, work, educate, serve, and lead within our schools and neighborhoods, businesses and organizations, who are deeply committed to promoting diversity, inclusion, social justice, and community wellbeing, and whose accomplishments and achievements have impacted the lives of others, yet remain unsung. Dr. Aprille Joy Ericsson, NASA aerospace engineer; Jet Express Airlines First Officer Carole Hopson; and women of the RU-N Community and Greater Newark are this year’s unsung SHEROES. A donation item for the Goodwill Rescue Women's Mission is requested. Register at

“The Newark Public Library is proud to partner with Rutgers University – Newark, the New Jersey Institute for Social Justice, and the City of Newark in the exciting and important work of building the TRHT Campus Center,” Newark Public Library Director Jeffrey Trzeciak stated. “We hope our extensive collections, public programming, services, and unique historical archives – available at the main library and seven branches throughout the city – will be valuable resources for the Campus Center and community in its collective effort to dismantle racism and foster meaningful change.”
RU-N’s TRHT Campus Center will be co-directed by the appointed leadership of three Rutgers-Newark entities: Sharon Stroye, director of community engagement at the School of Public Affairs and Administration; Yoleidy Rosario, director of the LGBTQ and Intercultural Resource Center; and Kaleena Berryman, acting director of the Abbott Leadership Institute. The center’s core leadership will be supported by senior Rutgers-Newark faculty and administrators:  Sherri-Ann P. Butterfield, executive vice chancellor and associate professor of sociology; Timothy K. Eatman, dean of the Honors Living-Learning Community and associate professor of urban education; Diane Hill, assistant chancellor of the Office of University-Community Partnerships; Bonita Veysey, vice chancellor for planning and implementation, inaugural director of the P3 Collaboratory for Pedagogy, Professional Development and Publicly- Engaged Scholarship, and a professor criminal justice.
“It is an honor to be named one of 10 colleges and universities nationwide to establish a Truth, Racial Healing and Transformation Campus Center. Leveraging the rich diversity of the city of Newark and Rutgers-Newark, and collaborating with the City of Newark and community partners such as the Newark Public Library and the New Jersey Institute for Social Justice, we will endeavor to create a Truth, Racial Healing and Transformation Campus Center that challenges us to have the difficult conversations that are necessary to bring about true and lasting social and economic change,” remarked RU-N Executive Vice Chancellor Sherri-Ann Butterfield.
Individuals or organizations interested in learning more about or getting involved with RU-N’s TRHT Campus Center should contact Sharon Stroye at, 973-353-3819; Yoleidy Rosario at, 973-353-2796; or Kaleena Berryman at, 973-353-3520.

Stay connected to RU-N's TRHT Campus Center by visiting its website at and following it on Facebook (@NewarkTRHT) and Twitter (@TRHTNewark) using hashtags #myracialhealing and #TRHTRUN.