January 13, 2021

A time to reflect and heal: Wayne State University to celebrate with Martin Luther King Jr. Tribute and National Day of Healing from Racism

The Wayne State campus and surrounding communities are invited to virtually celebrate our common humanity and engage in an ongoing discussion about creating a more just and equitable world as part of the National Day of Healing from Racism on Tuesday, Jan. 19.

Wayne State’s Office of Diversity and Inclusion, the Office of Multicultural Student Engagement, and the Law School’s Detroit Equity Action Lab will host a series of events from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Zoom. The event follows the annual Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Tribute, which will be hosted virtually by the Division of Government and Community Affairs on Monday, Jan. 18, and precedes the historic inauguration of President-elect Joe Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris on Jan. 21.

All National Day of Healing from Racism events are free and open to the public. Be sure to follow the dialogue on social media with #HowWeHeal.

Various virtual sessions will be held throughout the day, so registrants are encouraged to participate as their schedule allows. Sessions include:

  • 10 to 10:30 a.m.: Morning guided meditation and affirmation
  • 10:30 to  10:40 a.m.: Welcome
  • 10:40 a.m. to noon: Fishbowl discussion:
    • Participants are invited to experience a discussion among a group of Wayne State staff and faculty as they explore the impact of racism on their lives.
  • 12:30 to 1:30 p.m.: Lunch – Self-selected breakout rooms:
    • Dialogue Session: Join a facilitated conversation about experiences of systemic racism and ways you and your community heal from racism.
    • Art Therapy Session: Join a session on practicing mindfulness and self-reflection with some art therapy. What’s art therapy? It’s a “mental health profession that uses the creative process of art making to improve and enhance physical, mental and emotional well-being of individuals of all age.” We will discuss and process emotions surrounding race and cultural microaggressions. 
    • Healing by Choice: Dr. Aziza Knight will lead a workshop centered on the effects of racism and trauma on the human nervous system, leading to changes in the genes, brain and body. A self-alignment exercise and a guided self-compassion meditation and healing practice will also be offered.
  • 2 to 3:30 p.m.: Resting Deeper Into the Self and Our Connections During the Pandemic
    • This exploratory workshop offers a space where participants can learn from one another what coping and radical self-care look like within a unique but continued moment of collective grief. We will explore questions that ask “Can our relationship with our ancestors beyond the veil teach us about caring for ourselves and each other behind the screens? What are distinctions between alone-ness and loneliness with ourselves and each other during this time? How are we already internally resourced within ourselves and also by our existing relationships?” It is the facilitator's hope that we shift out of the workshop with more tools for building our spiritual and emotional capacities.
  • 4 to 4:30 p.m. Letter to Our People
    • Write a message to your “people” (i.e., your mentors, mentees, and others) expressing how they have made a significant, positive impact on your life personally or professionally.
  • 5:30 to 6:30: Poetry Showcase
    • Enjoy an evening of talent at the National Day of Healing from Racism Poetry Showcase, featuring students, staff and the community.
  • 6:45 to 7:30 p.m.: Theatre Performance and Community Dialogue
    • Enjoy a virtual performance by the Freedom Players, an ensemble within the Black Theatre and Dance Collective at Wayne State University.
  • 7:30 to 7:40 p.m.: Closing remarks

“Diversity and inclusion are among Wayne State’s core guiding values,” said Associate Provost for Diversity and Inclusion and Chief Diversity Officer Marquita Chamblee. “It’s important to be able to proactively engage in thoughtful, honest conversation about the wounds created by racism and what healing might look like on our campus and in the community.”

Held annually in the spirit of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., the National Day of Healing from Racism focuses on encouraging a community-based process of transformative, sustainable change while addressing historic and contemporary effects of racism. The event — now in its fifth year — is part of the W.K. Kellogg Foundation’s Truth, Racial Healing & Transformation effort, which unites thousands of people across the country through local events and discussions.

“In the past year especially, our country has seen renewed need for discourse and understanding about race. Now more than ever, people need a space to engage in open, thoughtful conversations and to share their thoughts and feelings,” Chamblee said. “Having opportunities such as this to speak —  and to listen — brings us closer together and moves us closer to creating the beloved community Dr. King envisioned.”

RSVP for the National Day of Healing from Racism at Wayne State here. 

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