Libraries Respond: National Day of Racial Healing

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National Day of Racial Healing, Libraries

On January 16, 2024, the eighth annual US National Day of Racial Healing, the American Library Association (ALA), the Association of College and Research Libraries (ACRL), the Association of Research Libraries (ARL), and the Society of American Archivists (SAA) call upon our collective memberships—comprised of several hundred thousand archivists, librarians, and other information professionals, and thousands of libraries and archives of all kinds—to observe the day with reflection and action. Launched in 2017 by the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, the National Day of Racial Healing is part of the US Movement for Truth, Racial Healing, and Transformation (TRHT) and is observed immediately following Martin Luther King Jr. Day.

The US TRHT Movement, embraced by more than 300 organizations in the academic, artistic, civic, and faith communities, is informed by research on more than 40 truth and reconciliation movements around the globe. Libraries, archives, and other memory institutions have a special role to play in convening conversations, celebrating community diversity, hosting programs and exhibits, partnering with communities on archiving and storytelling, and other ways our organizations leverage collections, spaces, and expertise to contribute to racial healing and racial equity.

On January 16, 2024, ALA hosted National Day of Racial Healing 2024: Creating Space for Shared Reflections, a virtual panel discussion made up of ALA committee members, partners, and round table representatives. Our panelists took the hour to answer questions about their perspectives and experiences involving racial healing and equity. The panel was moderated by ODLOS Director Kevin Strowder and include Alanna Aiko Moore, Gwen Weaver, Olivia Blake, and Ray Pun as panelists. Headshots and bios from our panelists can be found here. Viewers can watch a recording of the event on the ODLOS Youtube

Through joint programming, education, and advocacy, our associations are committed to working together and developing leaders and organizations that promote racial equity. The National Day of Racial Healing is an opportunity for our members to take action locally. On Tuesday, January 16, ALA, ARL, and SAA call on our members to:

  1. Devote time for a Healing Hour in your organizations and departments for discussion, education, and reflection using the resources below and those available at the National Day of Racial Healing website.
  2. Share your organization’s learning in pursuit of racial justice and healing with your colleagues and users, on your websites, and in your communications.
    • Download and use the “Libraries & Archives Observe National Day of Racial Healing” image. 
    • On social media, use the hashtag #LibrariesAndArchivesForRacialHealing along with #HowWeHeal.
  3. Review SAA’s resources and ARL’s resources 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. 

Healing Hour to honor The National Day of Racial Healing

Devotion to Healing: 

The National Day of Racial Healing is part of a larger movement for Truth, Racial Healing, and Transformation (TRHT)—a political and cultural framework developed by Dr. Gail Christopher and the W. K. Kellogg Foundation. TRHT is embraced by more than 300 organizations in the academic, artistic, civic, and faith communities calling for the establishment of a US Commission on Truth, Racial Healing, and Transformation.


To honor and observe The National Day of Racial Healing, we encourage you to take part in your own individual reflection and/or provide space within your organization to build community. We ask that you identify and commit to holding one hour for this moment on January 16th, 2024 and beyond. Please feel free to implement the resources below and those from the Kellogg Foundation as a guide to build healing and growth around racial oppression.

Community Discussion via Recording

View and respond to the links, questions, and starter prompts below to engage in meaningful conversations within your community. 

Community Discussion via Music

Engage in the power of music to uncover meaning and connection from songs that shape a movement. Play any of these tunes (and those your group recommends) as a catalyst to sharing a universal language. Open the floor for interpretation, discourse, and emotion through song. 

Community Discussion via Text 

By engaging in practices that enhance our own Racial Literacy, we better empathize with those impacted by inequitable systems. Taking a closer look at the narrative and text created in response to racial injustice allows us to focus on intentions while also celebrating the work of writers. 

Review the list of links that house book recommendations, short articles, snippets of speeches, and academic publications that speak to the impact of race in the world. Identify one or two sources that you connect with, then engage in dialogue or reflect.

Some questions to consider: 

  • What do you believe to be the mission of the author in this text? 
  • Do you see any bias reflected in this work? 
  • How does this text apply to the work you do alone and in community around racial healing? 

    Community Discussion via Healing Circles

    Welcome to The Healing Schools Project

    “Deriving from practices of Native Americans, First Nations, and indigenous peoples, the Circle Process allows for the formation of relationships, the honoring of voices, and the creation of unity. The process is, at its essence, a story sharing process, which brings together people as equals to have open exchanges about difficult issues or painful experiences in an atmosphere of respect and concern for everyone.”

    *source: Healing Justice Project

    Below is a list of resources to educate staff, implement programming, and connect with organizations around the country that might be able to visit your space to host a circle, or offer you space to join their affinity groups for educators, people of color, and other communities. We encourage you to lead with intention and map out a plan for sustainable learning. 

    Healing Circles Global


    National Compadres Network 

    National Storytelling Network 

    The Healing Schools Project 


    Community Discussion via Visual Art 

    “The arts have a long and deep history of being a platform for both dialogue and healing, discord, and unity. It maintains a unique and human place in shining a spotlight on inequities and injustice. Art unapologetically holds up the mirror to our society, our actions, our ideals and our fears. Art is the soul of a community.”

    *source: National League of Cities

    Dive deep into the creative works of inspirational artists who curate emotion through visual art. Select key pieces from several mediums that highlight racial harm and the zeitgeist. Invite conversation and even encourage attendees to share work of their own.

    My Modern Met 

    Washington Post 

    Black Artists of The Movement 

    Civil Rights Through American Art 

    Expanding Your Healing Hour

    We hope that you find your healing hour during the National Day of Racial Healing to be restorative, insightful, and reflective. If you are looking for outlets to continue your learning offline, we recommend these educational and artistic exhibits at the following museums across the country.

    "Lest We Forget... Images of the Black Civil Rights Movement," Civil Rights Museum (Memphis, TN)

    "Cultural Expressions," National Museum of African American History & Culture (Washington, DC)

    "Honoring Our Journey," Wing Luke Museum (Seattle, WA)

    "Open Your Mind: Understanding Implicit Bias," National Underground Railroad Freedom Center (Cincinnati, OH)

    "Carlos Cortez 100 ANOS," Mexican Art Museum (Chicago, IL)

    "The Bias Inside Us," Japanese American National Museum (Los Angeles, CA)

    "Presente! A Latino HIstory of the United States," The National Museum of the American Latino (Washington, DC)




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    • #TRHT
    • #NDORH
    • #HowWeHeal
    • #racialhealing
    • #librariesrespond
    • #librariestransform

    Because Libraries Inspire Understanding and Community Healing:  Libraries Transform image


    The American Library Association (ALA) is a proud partner with the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, through the Truth, Racial Healing, and Transformation (TRHT) Enterprise. 

    For more information, please contact the ALA Office for Diversity, Literacy and Outreach Services at or call 800-545-2433, ext. 4294.