2021 National Day of Racial Healing in Review

The purpose of the National Day of Racial Healing, which takes place annually on the Tuesday after Martin Luther King Jr. Day, is to bridge racial divides to transform our communities for our children and future generations. The Winter Institute’s Mississippi-based day of virtual events was one of more than 40 happening around the country on Jan. 19, 2021, hosted by nonprofit organizations, libraries and community groups in locations including Los Angeles, New Orleans, Detroit and Washington, D.C.

The National Day of Racial Healing was inaugurated in 2017 by the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, which defines racial healing as “a process that restores individuals and communities to wholeness, repairs the damage caused by racism and transforms societal structures into ones that affirm the inherent value of all people.”

Along with three in-depth conversations that explored different facets of racial healing, the program included a first-time awards ceremony for Mississippi trailblazers in community building, as well as performances by New Stage Theatre. The Winter Institute hosted the virtual events in partnership with the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, sponsored by the Maddox Foundation and HOPE Enterprise Corporation, and with support from New Stage Theatre.

Awardees of the 2021 Community Commitment Awards


“The events of the past year have shone a spotlight on the systemic racism and deep divisions within communities,” said Portia Ballard Espy, executive director of The Winter Institute. “Racial healing starts with trust, relationship building and education, which leads to collective action in order to achieve more healthy and equitable communities. Through our work in the areas of community and capacity building, youth engagement, and policy and civic engagement, we encourage this important process of healing.”

Watch the recording of the day’s virtual events below or on Facebook.

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