Wayne State University hosts its annual National Day of Healing from Racism

DETROIT—In the spirit of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., a collective of Wayne State University (WSU) 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 all about 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 theme is “Rest & Play: A Joyful Path to Healing from Racism.” The event will be held on Tuesday, January 16 from 10 am to 6 pm at Wayne State University’s Student Center Ballroom (doors open at 9:45 am). The WSU Office of Multicultural Student Engagement and the WSU Office of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion are hosting this year’s event in collaboration with the Detroit Equity Action Lab (DEAL), an initiative of the Damon J. Keith Center for Civil Rights at WSU’s Law School. 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. We have a dynamic roster of practitioners, facilitators, faculty, and staff contributing to this year's program. This event is an opportunity to explore various cultural practices related to racial healing and solidify our shared values and commitment to community,” said Dr. Donyale Padgett, Associate Provost, Diversity and Inclusion/Chief Diversity Officer. This year’s event will commence with an early healing yoga session led by George Rahme from Iyengar Yoga Detroit Collective and a welcome from WSU President Espy. 

During the fishbowl discussion, participants are invited to experience dialogue among a group of Wayne State staff and faculty as they explore the roles that play and rest have in their racial healing facilitated by Dr. Stephanie Hawkes (Senior Director for the Office of Multicultural Student Engagement, Wayne State University) and Alex Boesch (Intercultural Training Director, Wayne State University). 

Breakout sessions will take place over lunch and include Movement Healing with Kandice Moss (Chief Psychotherapist, Moss Therapy and Wellness) or Art Therapy with Veronique Eason and Cynthia Bourgeau-Kherkher (WSU Art Therapy Graduate Students) where participants will create a tissue paper collage. In the third room, Chace “Mic Write” Morris (Poet, Emcee, and Co-Founder of The TETRA) will lead an exercise of play and intuition and introduce Sonic Quilt Coding. 

In a powerful afternoon event, Sherina Sharpe (Writer, Ritualist, Visual and Performance Artist, Editor, and Director) will facilitate a ritual and workshop titled Guided Ancestor Work for Rest & Renewal that will connect participants with their ancestral line to release oppression and claim deeper power. Through this ritual, attendees will explore rest as a spiritual technology. 

The final session will feature a performance by Yarënda’ Nde Yahchrondiak, a multidisciplinary artist from the Nation Huronne Wendat of Wendake, Quebec, Canada. She will weave together the beauty of storytelling, music, song, and healing circles to explore the context of healing from racism. 

After a buffet dinner, the day’s events will close with remarks from Asandi Conner (Director, Detroit Equity Action Lab, Damon J. Keith Center for Civil Rights, Wayne State University Law School).  

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. Fundamental to the annual observance of this day (the Tuesday following Martin Luther King, Jr. Day) is a clear understanding that racial healing is at the core of racial equity. The community, students, staff, and faculty are encouraged to RSVP here.  


Contact: Jennifer Kennedy

Phone: 313-577-4629

Email: Jennifer.kennedy2@wayne.edu

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