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Embrace Racial Healing to Change Hearts and Minds

La June Montgomery Tabron

La June Montgomery Tabron

By La June Montgomery Taborn, W.K. Kellogg Foundation

Prior to the displays of hatred and the tragic loss of Heather Heyer, a young woman who seemingly embraced the virtues of healing, a transformation was taking place in Charlottesville, Virginia. This college town, where roughly 80 percent of the residents are white, culminated a lawful process in February when its City Council voted to remove the statue of Robert E. Lee from a city park. 

Passionate acts came from opposing sides, as opponents filed suit to stop the removal and the city changed the name of Lee Park to Emancipation Park. But there was honest dialogue and truth-telling, the ingredients for healing. Neighbors learned more about one another, their culture and motivations. But the progress was derailed.

The protesters who converged in Charlottesville were largely white men often perceived as privileged in our society, and among their slogans was “We will not be replaced” by immigrants, blacks, Jews, or homosexuals.  Instead of feeling empowered, they were threatened and seemed in pain. Their hearts and minds needed healing.

But racial healing doesn’t begin until you intentionally, respectfully and patiently uncover shared truths, as Charlottesville residents had begun to do before the violence and turmoil. Shared truths are not simply the removal of physical symbols, like monuments. While it may begin to change narratives, it doesn’t reach the level of healing that jettisons racism from the land or creates equitable communities. Racism has persevered because remedies ranging from public accommodation laws to Supreme Court rulings are limited in scope and reach: They fail to change hearts and minds.  

A new approach is needed that penetrates the full consciousness of our society, draws in all communities and focuses on racial healing and truth-telling.

Racial healing can facilitate trust and authentic relationships that bridge vast divides created by race, religion, ethnicity and economic status. Once the truths are shared, racism is acknowledged and hearts begin to mend, only then will communities begin to heal the wounds of the past and together move forward to address the bias in employment, education, housing and health that causes widespread disparities, and denies opportunities to our children.

To be sure, racial healing is predicated not just on an emotional encounter, such as saying, ‘you’re sorry,’ rather it’s predicated on a truth-telling. But who’s truth? We all have our own truth and we need collective conversations to help us in reaching a common truth and a vision for the future, based on what we decide together. 

And while sharing each of our individual truths requires sharing stories, reaching a common truth is more than a blending of stories. It’s about co-creating a common set of morals, principles, wisdom and guidance that is written on our hearts, captured in our faith and in how we treat each other as human beings. It is developed by all of us in the courtyard, in town halls, in living rooms with family and neighbors, all in the crucible of human goodness. That’s where we develop “the” truth. 

At the W. K. Kellogg Foundation (WKKF), we promote racial healing because it moves people to act from their hearts. Real change happens when people work together and build relationships. Rarely does it occur when it is forced upon communities by laws and rulings. Last January, WKKF coordinated an annual National Day of Racial Healing, which inspired civic, religious, community and philanthropic organizations to collaborate on activities to facilitate racial healing. But we can’t wait until next January to embrace racial healing. 

Today, with the threat of unrest billowing through communities, our country needs to heal. All sides must air their pasts, fears, and anxieties, and articulate their visions for a future where all children can thrive.

After centuries of racial hierarchy, all sides have been wounded: Whenever a policy or decision gives privileges to some and not others or perpetuates injustices, the collective community suffers, and part of our common humanity is lost. It leaves some wounded and unable to work towards our collective interest.  

What is inspiring is the healing that is happening around the country. Earlier this year, 200 people gathered at the Chicago Theological Seminary for an extraordinary day of racial healing. People of all races, genders, religions and ethnicities, gathered in healing circles to share their “truths” on the racism they endured or consciously or unconsciously unleashed on others. The healing circles were sanctuaries for truth-telling, and helped people see one another, acknowledge differences and begin to build authentic relationships. 

WKKF, through our Truth, Racial Healing & Transformation (TRHT) framework, is supporting racial healing in the 14 places where the TRHT is being implemented.  Since 2010, when our America Healing initiative launched, WKKF has actively promoted racial healing and supported racial healing practitioners who are available to help communities, concluding that:  

  • Racial healing accelerates human capacity for resilience, truly embracing one another and reconnecting many people who previously had their identities denied back to their roots, culture, language and rituals.
  • The focus of racial healing is our “collective humanity,” and lifting up that which unites us rather than that which divides us, while discovering, respecting and indeed honoring our unique experiences.
  • Racial healing will facilitate narrative change, which will help everyone in communities articulate the truth about their collective histories and be exposed to full, complete and accurate representations of themselves and their communities.  

Communities must heal so they can grow. Let’s heal and build sustainable progress neighbor by neighbor, community by community to transform America so all children can have a brighter future.

What It Do With the LUE: Big CED, IE Swag, KD

By Lue Dowdy

GWAAPBIG CED from THE NORTH, IE SWAGG, and KD is WHAT IT DO!

Tune in to Inland Empire Live and watch them LIVE! LUE Productions is proud to present an intimate listening party for GWAAP FAM.

GWAAP FAM celebrates the release of their L.P., “F.R.O.M.: Flicking Roches On Melrose,” which drops Friday, September 1! This talented rap group hails from the streets of the Inland Empire and is ready for the world to hear what they have been cooking up in the studio at Chef Music.

On this project through their realistic lyrics, you’ll be able to experience their struggle, love, disappointments, accomplishments, fears, setbacks, and bounce-backs. If you’re a GWAAP FAM fan, I encourage you to take a listen. Sponsored by Chef Music, this album is defiantly one to have. Fans will be able to hear hits such as, “Nothing,” “Everyday” featuring Tinigi Star, “Suicide,” “That’s Baby Right There” featuring Yung Muusik and more. Make sure to visit their website at www.gwaapfam.com for updates, as well as ‘Like’ them on Facebook at www.facebook.com/gwaapfam.

“What Will a Man Give in Exchange for His Soul?”

louBy Lou Coleman

This is a question that you should carefully consider. You see, every day you’re trading your life, your soul for something. The question is, for what? Fame, popularity, financial gain, sex, pleasure, power, success. If that is the case, think of what the rich man in Hades would tell you – [Luke 16: 22-24]. Think of what the souls of the redeemed would say to you [Revelations 7:13-17].Think of what God has done to save your soul!  [John 3:16]. 

Can I tell you about Esau?  Esau’s life is the story of a man who traded his soul for fleeting pleasure. He sold his birthright, which included not only material benefits and family privileges, but spiritual blessings as well, for a bowl of soup. It says that “he ate and drank, and rose and went on his way” [Genesis 25:29-34]. He didn’t think twice about what he had done. He did it, it felt good, and only much later did he come to regret it. [Hebrews 12:17] however says that, “afterwards, when he desired to inherit the blessing, he was rejected, for he found no place for repentance, though he sought for it with tears.”  Listen, the Bible says, “You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires…. [Ephesians 4:22, 23]. Don’t let the devil corrupt your mind. “Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus” [Philippians 2:5]. For God says, “I know the plans I have for you, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future” [Jeremiah 29:11].

I want you to know that the Devil doesn’t give a damn about you.  That’s right! THE DEVIL DOESN’T GIVE A DAMN ABOUT YOU!  He could care less if you go to Hell. Matter of fact that is his job, to get you to compromise knowing if you do, that you would go to hell. See his only job is to kill, steal, and destroy…. And if he can get you to exchange your soul for the trinkets of this world, then he had done his job. Now, I speak in human terms because of the weakness of your flesh. For just as you presented your members as slaves of uncleanness, and of lawlessness leading to more lawlessness, so now present your members as slaves of righteousness for holiness. … [Romans 6: 19].

 You see, in the world of the ancient Hebrews, everyone served someone. It wasn’t a question of if you would serve, but who you would serve. Everything you had came from someone else and it came with strings attached.  Choose your master wisely. Jesus puts it like this: “No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to one and despise the other. All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting people’s sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation. We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. There I implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God. [2 Corinthians 5: 18-20].