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National Day of Racial Healing Means Weeklong Events for AR


Monday, January 16, 2023   

Today is Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.'s holiday, and tomorrow is the seventh annual National Day of Racial Healing.

It's a call to action for racial healing for all people, and originated as part of national efforts by the W.K. Kellogg Foundation.

In Arkansas, the week includes 19 free community events, says Kwami Abdul-Bey - co-convener of the Arkansas Peace & Justice Memorial Movement - all focused on aspects of social justice.

Kwami Abdul-Bey said for one event, they're partnering with two universities in Arkansas to examine a historic event that took place in the state.

"Where we actually will have a dialogue about an actual lynching event, a series of lynching events that occurred here in Arkansas," said Kwami Abdul-Bey, "and talk about that past, what's going on now, and what we can do moving forward."

He adds the events will be hybrid - meaning people can attend either virtually or in-person - and they'll kick off Tuesday morning.

The website 'apjmm.org' includes information on each of the events and how Arkansans can be part of authentic conversations about racial healing.

Clarice Abdul-Bey - who's married to Kwami and is a co-convener of the group - said the Natural State is seeing growing diversity, with residents of BIPOC, Latino, Asian and Marshallese communities.

She added that it's important for all people in the state - not only African Americans - to be part of the healing events. She noted the spirit of Monday's Day of Service carries on into the National Day of Racial Healing as well.

She said the connection is critical, to address the systemic issues that affect children, families and communities.

"I feel like because Arkansas has such a difficult and challenging history, there are more things that need to happen after that day," said Clarice Abdul-Bey. "I think we need to continue on. If we can make it a monthlong event, I really would like it to be something to where we are exercising our ability for truth, healing and transformation."

The Arkansas Peace & Justice Memorial Movement has also partnered with the U.S. State Department to host 12 dignitaries from African nations and Haiti.

They'll be part of a "lunch and learn" event on Wednesday, January 18 - called "Human and Civil Rights for Marginalized Communities."

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