DETROIT—In the spirit of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., a group of Wayne State University racial justice leaders collaborate every January to host the National Day of Healing from Racism. This day-long event — free to attend and open to all — is focused on learning how to talk about racism’s impact and how to use practices to guide people on their journey of healing from racism.
This year’s event is on Tuesday, Jan. 17, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. at Wayne State University’s Student Center Ballroom, with doors opening at 9:50 a.m. The Detroit Equity Action Lab (DEAL), an initiative of the Damon J. Keith Center for Civil Rights at the Law School, will host this year’s event in collaboration with the WSU Office of Multicultural Student Engagement and the WSU Office of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion. Their shared goal is to heal from and end racism, by telling the truth about past and current wrongs and addressing the consequences created by individual and systemic racism.
“We are thrilled to be back in person for this year’s event after successfully pivoting to a virtual format in 2021 and 2022," said Asandi Conner, DEAL's director. "We have a dynamic roster of practitioners, facilitators, faculty, and staff contributing to our collective effort to acknowledge and heal from racism’s wounds.”
This year’s event features a guided meditation led by Alejandra Villegas of Healing by Choice! and welcome remarks from Marquita T. Chamblee, associate provost for diversity and inclusion and chief diversity officer of Wayne State University.
During a fishbowl discussion, participants are invited to experience dialogue among a group of Wayne State staff and faculty as they explore the impact of racism in their lives facilitated by Senior Director for the Office of Multicultural Student Engagement Stephanie Hawkes and Intercultural Training Director Alex Boesch.
Breakout sessions will take place over lunch and include movement healing with somatic and ancestral healing practitionerE Simon Woff or art therapy with Avalon Healing Center Youth Advocate Specialist Veronique Eason and art thearpy graduate student Brittany Kihl, where participants will create unity flags. In the third room, Schantell Taylor of Healing By Choice! will conduct in-depth breathwork for the nervous system and bringing ourselves back into the window of tolerance through polyvagal massage.
In a powerful afternoon program, Obsidian Blues Executive Director Sherina Sharpe will host a ritual event, Talking to the Water, which will work with the element of water to explore our power in disrupting old patterns. Together, in ritual, we will break through shame and process grief to begin the work of reimagining our future.
In the afternoon, participants will enjoy a performance by the Freedom Players, an ensemble within the Black Theatre and Dance Collective at Wayne State University. Participants are invited to enjoy and participate in an improvisational performance.
Following a buffet dinner, the day’s events will close with remarks from Damon J. Keith Center for Civil Rights Director and A. Alfred Tauman Professor of Law Peter Hammer.
The National Day of Healing from Racism is a part of the National Day of Racial Healing led by the W.K. Kellogg Foundation’s Truth, Racial Healing & Transformation (TRHT) initiative – a national and community-based process to plan for and bring about transformational and sustainable change, and to address the historic and contemporary effects of racism.
The event is open to the public and more information about the event is available at: events.wayne.edu
The Detroit Equity Action Lab (DEAL) is an initiative of the Damon J. Keith Center for Civil Rights at Wayne State University Law School.