Truth, Racial Healing, and Transformation Center

Eighth Annual National Racial Healing Day

January 16, 2024, marks the eighth annual National Racial Healing Day. On this day, individuals, organizations, and communities across the U.S. come together to explore their common humanity and build the relationships necessary to create a more just and equitable world. The National Racial Healing Day is part of the W.K. Kellogg Foundation’s Truth, Racial, Healing & Transformation efforts.

In honor of the 8th Annual National Racial Healing Day, the Truth, Racial Healing, and Transformation Center at Rutgers University – Newark will host and promote in-person and virtual community events, lectures, racial healing circles, film and panel discussions, and spoken-word and musical performances to foster discourse and facilitate greater understandings of what it truly means to be a “community.” Events are scheduled from January 16 – 26, 2024, highlighting the intergenerational voices of the Newark community and beyond as we engage with the theme of “Humanity and Healing.”

Events are scheduled from January 15 – 26, 2024 highlighting diverse community collaborations of healing:



The Truth, Racial Healing, and Transformation (TRHT) Center at Rutgers University – Newark (RU-N) is one of 28 national, comprehensive, and community-based initiatives developed by the Association of American Colleges and Universities (AACU) with initial funding from the W. K.  Kellogg, Newman’s Own, and Papa John’s Foundations. The overarching goal of the TRHT Centers are to “jettison the myth of a belief in a hierarchy of human value”.  The TRHT Center @ RU-N was one of ten inaugural centers selected to jettison and dispel the belief of racial hierarchy within post-secondary institutions.   The Center launched its inaugural event during Black History Month 2018.


The TRHT Campus Center at Rutgers University – Newark (RU-N) will foster and strengthen the collective knowledge and wisdom of the diverse communities in and of the City of Newark, throughout the state of New Jersey and the Northeast Corridor. Drawing on the methodologies and strategies of the humanities and the arts within a social justice framework, RU-N and our community partners will engage in an arc of interactive programming designed to change the narrative about race and race relations in Newark and beyond. The Center will also leverage and support new and existing RU-N and city-wide initiatives to effectively respond to economic and social disparities in our communities and promote equitable growth.


The Truth, Racial Healing, and Transformation Campus Center at Rutgers University-Newark pursues community engagement and democratic collaboration focused on changing the dominant narrative/perception all marginalized communities in and of the city of Newark and beyond by:

  • Connecting our citywide partner network through initiatives that leverage existing and emerging resources to promote equity, access, and transformative positive narratives about the City of Newark and its peoples.
  • Exhibiting positive change reflected in measurable outcomes.


  • Increase Understanding about the Importance of Positive Narratives about Newark.
  • Increase positive engagement and perceptions of Newark amongst RU-N administration, faculty, staff, students, and alumni.
  • Increase the number of specialized on and off-campus activities utilizing dialogue and dialogic techniques around issues of truth, racial healing, and relationship building.
  • Decrease segregation and increase access and equity for Newark Residents by leveraging RU-N resources to reduce poverty and unemployment and strengthen the city’s economy by the beginning of the next decade.
  • To embed TRHT framework into the ethos, culture, and environment of anchor institutions and other community-based organizations.


Racial Healing Circles

Healing Sounds of Newark

National Day of Racial Healing

Mountainview Community - NJSTEP

Racial Healing Circle New Practitioner Training


Newark Public Library

New Jersey Institute for Social Justice

Rutgers Biomedical Health Sciences Anti-Racism Taskforce


  • Christopher Agans, Executive Director, NJSTEP, RU-N
  • Tim Eatman, Dean, Honors Living-Learning Community, RU-N
  • Jennifer Bucalo, Executive Director for Strategic Initiatives, RU-N
  • Gary Santos Mendoza, Director, Intercultural Resource Center, RU-N
  • Lucille Foster, Assistant Dean, Rutgers Business School, RU-N
  • Jamie Hendrix, Lieutenant, Rutgers Police Department, RU-N
  • Arturo Osario, Professor of Professional Practice, Rutgers Business School, RU-N
  • Dale Colston, Senior Librarian, Newark Public Library
  • Sharon Owens, Branch Manager, Newark Public Library
  • Tyreek Rolon, Director, Newark Works and SYEP, City of Newark, and Lead Racial Healing Circle Facilitator
  • Christopher Lynch, TRHT Fellow, Racial Healing Circle Facilitator, RBS Undergraduate Student and NJ STEP Scholar
  • Ray Jackson, TRHT Fellow, Racial Healing Facilitator, NJSTEP Alumni
  • Josie Gonsalves, TRHT Community Partner, Executive Director, Public Square


  • Nancy Cantor, Chancellor
  • Sherri-Ann Butterfield, Executive Vice Chancellor
  • Shante Palmer, Vice Chancellor for External and Government Relations



Tuesday, January 16, 2024:

Postponed due to inclement weather

Lecture by L'Merchie Frazier: “Reparations: Is There a Black Aesthetic?”  

L’Merchie Frazier visual activist, public historian, educator, artist, innovator, and poet, is the Executive Director of Creative / Strategic Planning for SPOKE Arts and was formerly Director of Education and Interpretation for the Museum of African American History, Boston/Nantucket. Her innovative focus supports social and reparative justice and the quest for civil and human rights through the lens of five hundred years of Black and Indigenous history. She was awarded the Boston Foundation Brother Thomas Fellowship. Her work highlights the reparative aesthetic approach to expand the historical narrative, diminishing erasure, responding to trauma, violence, and crisis through artistic activities and public art that mirrors community. Frazier’s work is based on authentic evidence, providing place-based education and interdisciplinary history pedagogy, programs and workshops, projects, and lectures. She delivers diversity, equity, and belonging workshops for corporations and municipalities. 

Frazier has served the artistic community for over twenty years as an award-winning national and international visual and performance artist and poet, with residencies in Brazil, Taiwan, Costa Rica, Africa, France, and Cuba. Her artworks have been collected by the Smithsonian Institution, the White House, the Museum of Arts and Design, the Minneapolis Institute of Art, and the Dallas Museum of Art. She is a State of Massachusetts Arts Commissioner and is also a past City of Boston Artist in Residence. 

Learn more here.

Wednesday, January 17, 2024:

Relentless Pursuit of Justice: Igniting Civil Rights Conversations in the Classroom through the film Till

Community Partner: New Jersey Performing Arts Center (NJPAC)

Join us for an engaging panel discussion that explores how the powerful film Till sparks impactful classroom conversations about civil rights. Our panel of experts will delve into the historical context, educational significance and relevance of the story of Emmett Till in today’s battles for racial equality. Discover how this cinematic journey can inspire and empower students to engage in activism as a relentless pursuit of justice.

Learn more here.

Community Story Circles (for Rutgers University – Newark students)

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Learn more here.

Thursday, January 18, 2024

Healing Sounds of Newark

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Learn more here.

Jazz Jams

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Learn more here.

Max Roach: The Drum Also Waltzes

Community Partners: NJPAC and the Newark Museum of Art

Celebrate Max Roach’s centennial with a screening of the new documentary Max Roach: The Drum Also Waltzes at the Newark Museum of Art. Afterwards, a panel discussion will include Max’s son Raoul Roach, daughter Dara Roach and the film’s director-producers Sam Pollard and Ben Shapiro.

Max Roach: The Drum Also Waltzes explores the life and music of the legendary drummer, composer, bandleader and social activist through a remarkable series of creative peaks, struggles and personal reinventions — from the Jim Crow era to the Civil Rights years, surveying the heady days of post-war modern jazz to hip hop and beyond.

Learn more here.

Monday, January 22, 2024

Race is a Social Construct PSEG True Diversity Film Series

Community Partner: NJPAC

For generations, skin color has been exploited to divide humanity into “races,” used to sow division and justify systems of power and oppression.

But race is a human-invented classification system, not a biological category.

Could a change in our understanding of what race is (and more important, what it isn’t) bring an end to the racial wealth gap? If race were recognized as a social construct, could we better protect voting rights and build equitable access to healthcare and education?

Join our Standing in Solidarity conversation on race, what it is and how it impacts our social order and public policies. Our PSEG True Diversity Film Series selection is “The House We Live In,” the third episode of the documentary series RACE: The Power of an Illusion.    

Learn more here.

Friday, January 26, 2024

Freedom Now Suite: Celebrating Max Roach’s Centennial

Community Partner: NJPAC

Featuring Cassandra Wilson, Ravi Coltrane, Sonia Sanchez, Saul Williams, Nasheet Waits & more. Video by Alyson Shotz.

The revolutionary 1960 album We Insist!: Max Roach’s Freedom Now Suite explored issues of social justice and racial inequality through the lens of jazz and poetry. In celebration of the centennial of Max Roach — drummer, bebop pioneer and civil rights activist — this landmark work is reimagined for today’s world.

Musical director Nasheet Waits (of Max’s percussion ensemble M’Boom) is joined by vocalist Cassandra Wilson, poets Sonia Sanchez and Saul Williams, saxophonist Ravi Coltrane, pianist Nduduzo Makhathini and bassist Eric Revis. The Honorable Mayor Ras Baraka will help open the program, with a special appearance by The Last Poets. Experience the modern evolution of the Freedom Now Suite, a piece that continues to live, expand and inspire across generations.

Learn more here.


Statewide Impact of Truth, Racial Healing, and Transformation Campus Center at Rutgers-Newark Informs Resolution Introduced by Sen. Booker


July 2020 - 10 Campus-based Centers Focused on Racial Healing and Transformation.

September 2019 - "Zahra and the Oil Man" To Be Screened In Newark Followed By Q&A Session

December 2018 - Rutgers University Launches Truth, Racial Healing, and Transformation Campus Center

November 2018 - Truth, Racial Healing and Transformation Center Opens Its Doors throughout Newark

April 2018 - Rutgers Partners with Newark PL for Truth, Racial Healing, and Transformation

February 2018 - Rutgers-Newark establishes new center to confront racism

Rutgers University-Newark launches Truth, Racial Healing and Transformation Campus Center

RU-N Launches Truth, Racial Healing and Transformation Center; Press Conference, 2/28

August 2017 - Truth, Racial Healing and Transformation Center to Open at Rutgers University - Newark, A First in the Nation



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