Long Beach leaders to observe National Day of Racial Healing to ‘heal the wounds’ of bias

For the first time ever, Long Beach city officials will observe National Day of Racial Healing next week at City Hall.

Started in 2017 by the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, the day follows Martin Luther King, Jr. Day and is meant to bring people together in honor of our common humanity.

“The day is a response to the broad call for racial healing following the contentious rhetoric, hate crimes and vivid expressions of racism,” the foundation stated in a release.

On Tuesday, Jan. 22, before the council meeting, Councilman Rex Richardson will host an event at 4 p.m. at the lobby at city hall to commemorate the day with art, music, literature and several local organizations providing informational resources.

He will then introduce an item before the City Council requesting to enact a resolution recognizing the third Tuesday of every January as the Day of Racial Healing.

“A City of Long Beach recognition of National Day of Racial healing acknowledges the work that needs to still be done to bring about sustainable change,” Richardson stated in the agenda item. “Long Beach is a leader in undertakings to ensure the economic and socio-cultural prosperity of every resident in every community. As such, our observance of National Day of Racial Healing iterates our commitment to healing the wounds created by racial, ethnic and religious prejudice, to build an equitable and just society, so that everyone can thrive.”

The council meeting will take place at 5 p.m. in Council Chambers, 333 W. Ocean Blvd.

On Thursday, the Los Angeles chapter of Truth, Racial Healing and Transformation, a partnership started by the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, will commemorate the day and co-host an “Intergenerational Dialogue on Race & Racism in Our Communities” with California Conference for Equality and Justice in Long Beach.

The event will be facilitated by Sharon Diggs-Jackson, a retired city employee, and Eydie Pasicel, the director of youth services and education at WomenShelter of Long Beach. It’s free to attend and open to all ages. It will be held from 5:30 to 9 p.m. at St. Mark Baptist Church, 1703 Lemon Ave. To register click here.

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Stephanie Rivera is the community engagement editor for the Long Beach Post. After graduating from CSULB with a degree in journalism, Stephanie worked for Patch Latino and City News Service before coming to the Long Beach Post in 2015.