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Rutgers University-Newark set to Commemorate 6th Annual National Day of Racial Healing

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Newark, New Jersey - The Truth, Racial Healing, and Transformation (TRHT) Center at Rutgers University-Newark will commemorate the 6th Annual National Day of Racial Healing starting on January 18.

The week will kick off with an Opening Virtual Program on the 18th, with additional events, programs, workshops, arts exhibitions, and racial healing circles. The state-wide programming is a collaborative effort between non-profit organizations, municipalities, corporations, Newark residents, the Rutgers University system, and the state of New Jersey.

One of our goals is to embed the framework of the Truth, Racial Healing and Transformation Center into the ethos, culture, and environment of anchor institutions and other community-based organizations,” said Sharon Stroye, director of the center. “The 2022 National Day of Racial Healing reflects how institutions, organizations, municipalities, and individuals are reshaping their viewpoints and fostering a culture of healing within their respective worlds of influence.”

National Day of Racial Healing started in 2017 as an effort by the W.K. Kellogg Foundation to raise awareness of the need for healing to help achieve racial equity. It is observed annually the Tuesday after Martin Luther King Jr. Day.

This year, the focus will be Healing in Action: Impact and Integration. An overarching question will be explored throughout the week: How does society take action to make communities, institutions, and the residents of New Jersey whole in relation to equity and equality for all?

"Healing does not mean we are dismissing or forgetting the damage and trauma that exists,” said Tyreek Rolon, a student of the School of Public Affairs and Administration, who was trained as a TRHT Lead Facilitator. “It means we are no longer willing to allow that damage and trauma to control our lives."

Tuesday’s virtual opening program will run from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. It will be streamed live on the Rutgers University-Newark website, TRHT Newark YouTube channel, and TRHT Newark Facebook page. The stream is open to the public and free of charge.

Opening remarks will be made by several Rutgers-Newark community members, including representatives from the National Day of Racial Healing Committee and the New Jersey Theater Alliance. There will also be a video from Lt. Governor Sheila Oliver.

Governor Murphy and I commend the Rutgers Truth, Racial Healing and Transformation Center for broadening the path for racial healing and equity in New Jersey through this incredible program,” said Lt. Governor Sheila Oliver, who serves as Commissioner of the Department of Community Affairs. “By helping people examine their humanity and look beyond their own racial groups and identities, we can begin to chip away bias and break down the issues of equity and access that divide us.”

The program will continue with video tributes, including a two-part video of Newark Mayor Ras Baraka’s spoken word piece What We Want. The afternoon will feature multiple panel discussions focused on public engagement and healing, and stories from a student panel on how to heal from the pandemic. The day will end at 6:00 pm with the annual Healing Sounds of Newark: a collection of spoken word/artistic performances by students and invited guests.

This year, the TRHT Center at Rutgers-Newark partnered with the Creating Change Network (CCN), a program hosted by NJ Theater Alliance and ArtPride Jersey, which aims to build more equitable, just, and anti-racist communities. CCN has organized 16 arts organizations and individuals to participate in the week-long events.

NPJAC is honored to participate in this critically important acknowledgement of our National Day of Healing,” said Donna Walker-Kuhne, Senior Advisor, Diversity, Equity and Inclusion at New Jersey Performing Arts Center. “This diverse array of arts-related activities offered through the Creating Change Network will positively help shape that vision of a ‘changed world,’ and contribute to the still-necessary and ongoing conversations about racial and social justice; the efforts to transform our cultural workspaces; and need to expand access to the arts for all communities, as well as the importance of respecting and valuing all people.”

The Scotch Plains-Fanwood Joint Committee for Truth, Racial Healing, and Transformation, along with Social Justice Matters Inc. (SJM), will offer a virtual racial healing circle on January 17 from 3:30 pm to 5:00 pm in conjunction with MLK Day of Service and on the 18th from 6:30 pm to 8:30 pm as a part of the National Day of Racial Healing.

Racial Healing Circles demonstrate that people from different backgrounds are more alike than we think,” said Scotch Plains Mayor Joshua Losardo. “A greater understanding of our common humanity strengthens our local community and the more people participating in these discussions, the better we will all be.”

A full calendar of the week’s events, including those preceding the opening program, can be found online here: https://www.newark.rutgers.edu/truth-racial-healing-and-transformation-center.

For more information, contact Sharon Stroye, Director, TRHT Center at RU-N, at sharon.stroye@rutgers.edu.

About the Truth, Racial Healing, and Transformation Center at Rutgers-University Newark

The TRHT Center at Rutgers University-Newark (RU-N) was one of 10 inaugural campus centers selected by the Association of American Colleges and Universities with funding from W.K. Kellogg and Newman’s Own Foundations in 2017. There are now 55 TRHT Campus Centers across the country with transformative action plans to jettison and dispel the belief of racial hierarchy in human value.

The TRHT Center at Rutgers University-Newark (RU-N) pursues public engagement and democratic collaboration focused on changing the dominant narrative/perception of Newark by connecting our citywide partner network through initiatives that leverage existing and emerging resources to promote equity and access, and to present transformative positive narratives about the City of Newark, the state of New Jersey, and its people.