January 9, 2022— I am both honored and proud to the share news that the Creating Change Network has joined in partnership with the Truth, Racial Healing & Transformation (TRHT) Center at Rutger’s University-Newark to curate a line-up of arts events in support of this year’s National Day of Racial Healing.
The National Day of Racial Healing—January 18, 2022—was first launched in 2017 by the nationwide TRHT community, in conjunction with the W.K. Kellogg Foundation (WKKF). It is observed on the Tuesday following the national holiday honoring Martin Luther King, Jr.
The TRHT community describes the National Day of Racial Healing as a time for contemplation and dialogue about “our shared values” and an opportunity to “create a blueprint together for #HowWeHeal from the effects of racism.”
The New Jersey observance, which is being curated by the Creating Change Network, will begin two days early—January 16, 2022—and continue through February 11, 2022. The theme of the line-up of arts events is “Racial Healing in Action.” There will be both in-person and virtual art exhibitions; theater, dance, and music performances; community workshops; panel discussions, as well as film screenings.
As readers of Arts & Culture Connections may recall, the Creating Change Network was launched last year by the New Jersey Theatre Alliance and ArtPride New Jersey. It is comprised of more than 500 arts and social justice leaders, and I serve as chair of the steering committee. Our aim is to work to establish an equitable, just, and anti-racist arts community throughout the state.
The university’s TRHT Center is headed by Sharon Stroye, who also is the university’s Director of Public Engagement in the School of Public Affairs and Administration. Sharon also coordinates local Racial Healing Circles, which is a phenomenal experience I wrote about last year.
When I first learned about the National Day of Racial Healing from Sharon, I realized the potential and important opportunity for mobilizing arts organizations, cultural institutions, as well as individual artists, to share their aspirations of equity and justice. We know the arts have the power to move hearts and change minds. However, the complexity and pain generated by the current lack of racial and social justice requires that the arts also offer a vision, as expressed by the Center for Artistic Activism: “To change the world we need to imagine what a changed world might look like.”
I believe 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; the need to expand access to the arts for all communities, as well as the importance of respecting and valuing all people.
You can find the line-up of the Creating Change Network events, which are supported by the Grunin Foundation, at this link. And if you are not in New Jersey but still want to participate in the National Day of Racial Healing, you can download an action kit at this link.
As always, I want to know what you think. I invite you to share your thoughts or comments below about utilizing the arts to “imagine the changed world” through participation in events like the National Day of Racial Healing.