W.K. Kellogg Foundation Hosts 2013 America Healing Conference

"Reclaiming the Narrative" is the Theme of this Year's Gathering with Community and Civil Rights Leaders, Academics and Advocates for Social Justice

ASHEVILLE, N.C., April 19, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The W.K. Kellogg Foundation (WKKF) is hosting a four-day convening with national and community-level leaders, community-based organizations and civil rights groups to engage in a collaborative process to heal the wounds of racism and address conscious and unconscious bias. Entitled "Reclaiming the Narrative," the convening returns to Asheville, N.C. from April 22 to April 25, 2013 to engage participants in conversations on eliminating barriers to opportunities, especially for vulnerable children.

"This year marks our third America Healing gathering, and offers a national pathway to overcoming racism and divisiveness, through healing, and showcases how it is happening today in communities across the country," says Sterling Speirn, WKKF president and CEO.  

"We are gathering in Asheville to examine how we as Americans can heal from past racial wounds," says Gail Christopher, WKKF vice president-program strategy. "This year's theme, Reclaiming the Narrative comes on the heels of the re-election of our first African American president, movement towards comprehensive immigration reform and the Supreme Court's decision to evaluate affirmative action policies at public colleges and universities. These recent events have created a fierce urgency to address the impact of our collective historic and contemporary narratives surrounding discussions about race. The embedded belief in a hierarchy of racial groups has to be revealed as a myth and replaced with by an awareness of our common and collective humanity."

WKKF hosts the convening as part of its multi-year America Healing initiative, which provides grants and resources to support racial healing and to remove systemic barriers that deny opportunities to people of color. The foundation invests in community and national organizations whose innovative and effective programs foster racial healing.  The extraordinary gathering will explore ways for diverse communities to engage in authentic efforts to address racial bias and to heal the racial wounds of the past that continue to create fear, antagonism and barriers to opportunities for vulnerable children. 

"As we continue to hear stories about inequity, especially among people of color and the myth that we are a post-racial society, there's an urgency to address the overarching narratives that misinform our collective understanding," says Christopher. "This convening brings together hundreds of individuals dedicated to making life better for vulnerable children. Together, we hope to ensure that future generations of Americans can grow up in a thriving and inclusive democracy we must put these issues of inequity in front of us now so that we can move beyond them together."

The America Healing convening will feature an exciting range of special events for grantees and guests, including:

8:30 a.m. EST Wednesday, 4/24– "How the Legal System has Defined the Current Narrative" Moderated by Douglas Blackmon, Pulitzer-Prize willing author of "Slavery by Another Name: The Re-Enslavement of Black Americans From the Civil War to World War II." This panel of scholars and activists will examine how the legal system has been used to frame the opportunities, systems and structures that define the lives and narratives of diverse communities. The panel will bring historic and contemporary perspectives to statutes, legislation, Supreme Court decisions, treaties and executive orders that have and continue to influence the life course of millions.

1:00 p.m. EST Wednesday, 4/24– "Indicators of Impact – Anchor Institutions"
Moderated by Soledad O'Brien, CNN special correspondent and owner of Starfish Media Group. This panel joins WKKF's anchor institutions— organizations that have provided leadership for civil rights and social justice for generations— to discuss the postelection landscape – opportunities, challenges and agendas for change.

8:30 a.m. EST Thursday, 4/25– "The Science of Narrative and Racial Healing"
Moderated by Krista Tippett, creator and host of OnBeing. This panel of physicians and storytellers will reveal and demonstrate the hidden power of narrative as a force for change and for healing. The panel will explore the neuroscience and the evidence, as well as the cultural and community contexts for applying narrative as a valuable resource in our work.

The convening is part of the WKKF's America Healing work that provides grants for organizations to address structural bias and facilitate racial healing in communities. Throughout its more than 80-year history, the foundation has supported communities seeking to create conditions that improve the life outcomes of vulnerable children. Dr. Christopher said that promoting racial healing and equity is essential to ensuring that all children have equal opportunities to succeed.

The conference will be held at the Grove Park Inn, 290 Macon Avenue, Asheville, N.C. 28804. 

For more information about America Healing, visit www.AmericaHealing.org.

W.K. Kellogg Foundation
The W.K. Kellogg Foundation (WKKF), founded in 1930 as an independent, private foundation by breakfast cereal pioneer, Will Keith Kellogg, is among the largest philanthropic foundations in the United States. Guided by the belief that all children should have an equal opportunity to thrive, WKKF works with communities to create the conditions where vulnerable children can realize their full potential in school, work and life.

The Kellogg Foundation is based in Battle Creek, Mich., and works throughout the United States and internationally, as well as with sovereign tribes. Special emphasis is paid to priority places where there are high concentrations of poverty and where children face significant barriers to success. WKKF priority places in the U.S. are in Michigan, Mississippi, New Mexico and New Orleans; and internationally, are in Mexico and Haiti. For more information, visit www.wkkf.org.

SOURCE W.K. Kellogg Foundation




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