Truth, Racial Healing, and Transformation Center
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 – https://tinyurl.com/trhtrunlaunch.
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. 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 of Newark 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.
Goals of the TRHT Center @ RU-N
- Increase Positive Narratives about Newark: Highlight positive narratives of Newark through a collaboration with TRHT community partner, the Newark Public Library (“telling and retelling Newark’s story”)
- Increase positive engagement and perceptions of Newark amongst RU-N faculty, staff, students, and alumni: Conduct multi-faceted campus-wide initiatives about how RU-N may unknowingly contribute to deficit-based narratives in and around the city of Newark and the greater Newark area
- Initiate/Foster ongoing on and off-campus activities utilizing dialogue and dialogic techniques around issues of truth, racial healing, and relationship building; to center dialogic technique as a conversation catalyst and healing tool for narrative change
- Decrease segregation and increase access and equity for Newark Residents by leveraging RU-N resources to foster increased economic mobility for Newark residents and greater Newark area
- To embed TRHT framework into the ethos, culture, and environment of anchor institutions and other community-based organizations: Involve RU-N stakeholders, city of Newark residents, and greater Newark institutions, organizations, and community partners in creating and implementing evidence-based TRHT programming around racial healing and access
- Sharon Stroye, Director, TRHT Center, RU-N
- Gary Santos Mendoza, Director, Intercultural Resource Center, RU-N
- Janique Sanders, Program Coordinator, Office of Student Life and Leadership, RU-N
- Dale Colston, Senior Librarian, Newark Public Library
- Sharon Owens, Branch Manager, Newark Public Library
- Kareem Willis, PhD Student, School of Public Affairs & Administration and Administrative (SPAA) Director, Yendor Productions
- Tyreek Rolon, MPA Student, SPAA and NJ-STEP Alumni
- Josie Gonsalves, TRHT Volunteer, Community Partner
- EXECUTIVE LEADERSHIP
- Marcia Brown, Vice Chancellor Government Relations
- Sherri Ann Butterfield, Executive Vice Chancellor
Sharon Stroye, MBA, MPA, Director Sharon.email@example.com
The 5 pillars of the TRHT framework (narrative change, racial healing and relationship building, economy, law, and separation align with the strategic mission of Rutgers University – Newark. The center focuses its effort on two pillars – narrative change and racial healing and relationship building. The pillars of economy, law, and separation are established strategic policies within the university
Racial Healing Circles
One of the most impactful aspects of the TRHT Centers is Racial Healing Circles (RHC). A Racial Healing Circle is an opportunity for individuals from diverse backgrounds to share their stories in a safe, brave, and responsible space. The Racial Healing Circles are facilitated by trained RHC Practitioners. Each circle is designed for specialized audiences and particular goals based on the group, organization, and/or institution.
Upcoming Spring 2021 Racial Healing Circles
January 6, 2021 – 2:30 pm – 4:00 pm
January 13, 2021 – 2:30 pm – 4:00 pm
February 19, 2021 – 12:00 pm – 1:30 pm
March 19, 2021 – 12:00 pm – 1:30 pm
April 16, 2021 – 12:00 pm – 1:30 pm
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
The Scotch Plains-Fanwood Joint Committee for Truth, Racial Healing, and Transformation
The SPF Joint Committee for TRHT was created in 2019 by resolution passed by both the municipalities of Scotch Plains and Fanwood partnership with the Board of Education and Social Justice Matters, a local organization founded 11 years ago to advance discussions on race. The committee is comprised of both Mayors from Scotch Plains and Fanwood, the Superintendent for the shared school district, council and community members, nonprofit leaders, and representatives from the TRHT Center at RU-N to address an increase of racist incidents in both communities.
The TRHT Center @ RU-N has an integrated partnership with the Newark Public Library. The 7 branches of the Newark Public Library serve as the physical locations for the TRHT Center to represent the “not just in Newark, but of Newark” to engage Newark residents in collaborative programming. Newark residents have engaged in racial healing circles, Black Lives Matter symposiums, and integrative cultural programming for the ethnically diverse wards in the city of Newark. The TRHT Center had its library launch in November 2018 - https://www.libraries.rutgers.edu/news/truth-racial-healing-and-transformation-center-opens-dana-library
TRHT @ RU-N committee members have engaged and facilitated programming in other public libraries throughout the state of New Jersey and Connecticut. Staff members and patrons have participated in racial healing circles at the Elizabeth, New Brunswick, and Montclair, NJ and Danbury, CT public libraries.
Somerset County Municipal Employees - the Somerset County Diversity Steering Committee contacted the TRHT Center @ RU-N to develop a series of virtual town hall meetings in a safe and responsible space for county employees to discuss their feelings related to the death of George Floyd. The goal of the sessions is to build empathy for those who have experienced first-hand accounts of racism and learn how to reach individuals who don’t understand the pain of racism.
ReThink Theatrical – is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that provides free and accessible storytelling through theatrical performances to local communities located in New Brunswick, NJ. The organizational leadership are all volunteers with 95% of their exective board and staff members identify as Caucasian/White. In April 2020, the organization was planning to convert all shows to a virtual format. In June 2020, they released a statement in support of Black Lives Matter. In July, the Executive Board and Trustees decided to cancel the 2020 virtual season and spend the remainder of 2020 “to undergo a strategic look at values, policies, and practices for equity and inclusion” to become an antiracist organization.
As the beginning process of their strategic review, the TRHT Center engage the Board of Trustees and staff members in a 3-part series which included a Racial Healing Circle, Deconstructing the Myth of Whiteness interactive workshop, and a next step planning session. The interactive workshop included Black artists from Newark and Elizabeth
Douglas Residential College, Rutgers University – New Brunswick - the chair of the Douglas Residential College DEI Program contacted the center to host brave space/healing circles for the undergraduate women. After discussion with the chair and staff members, it was decided to host a racial healing circle for the staff advisors (Ethnicity – 60%-Caucasian, 20%-Hispanic, 13%-Biracial, 7%-other) of the diverse undergraduate student population. The students did not feel the staff advisors provided a safe space to discuss academic and personal issues. The TRHT Center facilitated a virtual racial healing circle for 25 staff advisors. A Racial Healing Circle for the DEI Student Ambassadors is scheduled for 11/20/2020 @ 2:30 pm
Avanzer (formerly The Women Center) https://avanzarnow.org/– nonprofit organization founded in the 1970’s provides support and resources to women, children and men suffering from sexual assault, domestic violence, and human trafficking. The Executive Board and President approved a social justice focus for policies, procedures, and staff training. There are approximately 75 employees (Gender - 83%-female, 12%-male, 4%-LGBTQIA; Ethnicity – 40%-Black/AA, 32%-Caucasian, 15%-Hispanic, 13%-Other) The employees participate in two Caucuses (White Caucus and People of Color Caucus) to discuss and implement strategies of change within the organization. However, the Director of Social Justice, felt the efforts were being hampered by implicit and explicit biases.
Virtual National Day of Racial Healing 2021
Tuesday, January 19, 2021
10:00am to 8:00pm
The event will be live streamed on the following social media platforms:
- Facebook - @NewarkTRHT – https://www.facebook/NewarkTRHT
- Twitter - @TRHTNewark – https://twitter.com/TRHTNewark
- YouTube – TRHT Newark – https://go.rutgers.edu/trhtyoutube
- Instagram - @trhtcampuscenternewark – https://www.instagram.com/trhtcampuscenternewark