2023 National Day of Racial Healing

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Official National Day of Racial Healing graphic, with date and #howweheal hashtag

The National Day of Racial Healing (NDORH) is an opportunity for people, organizations, and communities to call for racial healing, bring people together in their shared humanity and take action together to create a more just and equitable world.

NDORH is a part of the W.K. Kellogg Foundation's Truth, Racial Healing & Transformation effort, 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.

Established in 2017 by more than 550 U.S. leaders who wanted to set aside a day of action, the National Day of Racial Healing is observed every year on the Tuesday following Martin Luther King, Jr. Day. Read on for resources and strategies that libraries can use to encourage community participation in this year's National Day of Racial Healing, on January 17, 2023.

How to Participate

The 2023 website features new ideas and resources to help plan your event or find ways to participate. Some ways you can get involved include:

  • Watch one of the featured primetime townhalls, available on MSNBC and Noticias Telemundo, broadcast in partnership with NBCUniversal.
  • Organize a conversation in a community space. Use the provided conversation guide (PDF) to help facilitate a meaningful conversation.
  • Watch the Changing the Narrative digital series on the origins of racial healing and the ongoing work required to achieve racial equity.
  • New action kits offer ideas and resources in three specific areas: engaging children, engaging in professional settings, and engaging policy makers.

13 Ways Your Library and Community Can Recognize NDORH

  1. Promote relevant and inspiring books through displays and recommendations lists. Here are some lists to explore:
  2. Invite your library book club to select a book to read in honor of NDORH, or use the day to invite the whole community to begin to read the same book. Here’s how a book club in Battle Creek, Michigan got involved last year.

  3. Host a discussion at the library in collaboration with other local community organizations. Use the NDORH Conversation Guide (PDF).
  4. Connect, build relationships, bridge divides. This is #howweheal.
  5. Host a film screening or other cultural event like storytelling or musical performances.

  6. Dedicate a space in the library for people to share their declarations, “I will promote racial healing by _____” or "My racial healing looks like _____.” Use a white board or wall, or see this example from a previous year of an invitation to post selfies on social media.

  7. Explore WebJunction's Access & Equity topic area to see how libraries and their communities are increasing inclusion and advancing racial equity. Begin with Racial Equity in the Library, Part One and Part Two.

  8. Submit your event or find another near you, via the NDORH website.

  9. Engage in social media with the NDORH Facebook page, and on Twitter @WK_Kellogg_Fdn and Instagram @kelloggfoundation using this year’s hashtag: #HowWeHeal.

  10. Explore the multitude of other resources on the NDORH website, including action kits, event and activity ideas, conversation guides, sample messages, social media graphics, and PowerPoint templates and proclamation texts that can be used by organizations or government officials (e.g., mayors and governors).

  11. Include young people. The NDORH website features event and activity ideas for children and youth. Read Racial healing is for kids, too for more inspiration and resources.

  12. Review resources compiled last year by librarians and archivists to spark your thinking:

Share with your colleagues and users in your displays or website, or on social media using the hashtags #LibrariesAndArchivesForRacialHealing and #HowWeHeal.

  1. Attend a webinar on 17 January hosted by County Health Rankings & Roadmaps exploring how healing from the injustices of racism and other forms of oppression is essential for health equity. Learn strategies to promote racial healing in any community.
  1. Host a screening of Getting Better Foundation’s award-winning documentary Trust Me to highlight your community's need for media literacy, to build trust, resilience, lessen polarization, and preserve democracy. Use these accompanying resources to help guide your community's engagement with the film.

Inspiration from Libraries Across the U.S.

Chicago Public Library is hosting a discussion with Heather C. McGhee on her book The Sum of Us: What Racism Costs Everyone and How We Can Prosper Together. 

Austin Public Library (Texas) is celebrating with a Racial Healing Circle, designed to focus on the sharing of stories that affirm our common humanity.

Plainsboro Public Library (New Jersey) is inviting community members to participate in Flowering from Resilience, an art and collage workshop to create art from the lived experience of resilience, healing, and methods of support.

Racine Public Library (Wisconsin) invited community members to break bread together at their National Day of Racial Healing Potluck in 2020.

Forest Park Public Library (Illinois) presented Stories to Share for Tough Times, a virtual storytelling gathering in 2021. Visit their website for additional resources, including an anti-racism guide, self-care recommendations, and book lists.

Read to Dream with Reading Lists that Honor
Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. 

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s story inspires people to dream big about what they believe in. Gain new perspective from Martin Luther King III and his family’s reading list, available on WorldCat.org. See how libraries can help you learn more about this Nobel Peace Prize-winning civil rights leader who advocated for nonviolence and racial equity.

Martin Luther King III, his wife, Arndrea King, and their daughter, Yolanda Renee King, offer this list of books about their father, father-in-law, and grandfather. You can also explore lists curated by others, as well as a collection of more than 6,900 open-access electronic resources. 

View the list

Community engagement

Where do you go for inspiration? Invigorate your community engagement efforts with advice from library leaders.