#NDORH: An Important Day You've Probably Never Heard Of

The second annual National Day of Racial Healing gives communities a platform for transforming their organizations.

ARTICLE | Jan 11, 2018

Did you know that on January 16, 2018, cities, towns, and counties throughout the United States will celebrate the second annual National Day of Racial Healing (#NDORH)?  Established in January 2017 by the W. K. Kellogg Foundation and 550 leaders from around the United States, #NDORH highlights the racial healing work already underway in many communities along with the increasing circle of leaders committed to transforming their organizations.

It all started with the Kellogg Foundation’s ambitious goal of “eradicating structural racism.” To achieve that goal, in 2016 Kellogg launched a multiyear, national and community-based Truth, Racial Healing and Transformation (TRHT) effort to engage communities, organizations, and individuals from multiple disciplines across the United States in bringing about transformational and sustainable change, while addressing the “historic and contemporary effects of racism.” #NDORH became an extension of the Kellogg Foundation’s TRHT effort and a platform for highlighting the healing and change efforts taking place within our communities.

ICMA—along with the National League of Cities, the National Civic League, and the National Conference of State Legislatures—is one of 144 national organizations (with a reach of more than 289 million people), that have partnered with Kellogg to help design and promote the TRHT effort.

In June 2017, the Kellogg Foundation committed $24 million in 14 multisector collaborations in communities across the United States to implement the TRHT process. Each community received a grant ranging from $1.5 to $4 million through a coordinating organization for implementing their TRHT. Read descriptions of the 14 collaborations on this page.

As of mid-December, 150 communities and organizations, including State College, Pennsylvania (pop. 42,000; Tom Fountaine, borough manager), had committed to issuing proclamations honoring the 2018 #NDORH. Terre Haute, the only Indiana city to take part in the #NDORH, will use the day to unite the community and highlight its potential as a melting pot for diversity and inclusion. TRHT Greater Chicago will bring community residents together at the Illinois Holocaust Museum & Education Center to participate in a “What is OUR Story” event and begin identifying the common threads that bind the community. And community members in Battle Creek and Kalamazoo, Michigan (one of the 14 community collaborations that received a grant from the Kellogg Foundation), will gather at key intersections throughout the city holding heart-shaped signs reminding people that “love is the foundation for changing hearts and minds.”

WebJunction, a knowledge center for local libraries, compiled a checklist of 10 ways your local library can recognize #NDORH that includes everything from holding discussion groups and special book clubs to displaying books and materials that focus on equity and inclusion.

What Can You Do to Get Involved?

  • Download the #NDORH engagement guide and the other event resources and begin planning, coordinating, and promoting an effort to take place within your community, either during the next few months or in conjunction with #NDORH 2019.
  • Check out ICMA’s new Equity and Inclusion topic page, which is packed with articles, videos, and resources you and your community can use to develop your own plan for moving forward.
  • If your community is already doing work in this area, consider nominating your project or program for ICMA's new Community Diversity Award, the newest category of ICMA Excellence Awards. Nominations will be accepted through March 18, 2018.
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