“Our goal is to create a beloved community, and this will require a qualitative change
in our souls and a quantitative change in our lives.”
~ Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Dr.
RHR Conference 2021
The Racial Healing & Reconciliation Conference evolved from the collaboration of four organizations, committed to elevating and helping our city to become a beloved community:
The Jacksonville Urban League
The Jacksonville Urban League advocates for and promotes the development and equitable treatment of all North Florida residents, fostering regular and open communication between citizens and government. The Jacksonville Urban League supports legislation promoting human potential over incarceration and a just application of the law, and advocacy initiatives include implementing strategies to advocate for the poor and disenfranchised; voter registration, education and form, and providing leadership addressing community disparities. The league’s Center for Advocacy and Social Justice (CASJ) promotes the development of good citizens and the proper and equal treatment regardless of race, ethnicity, religion, economic status or sexual orientation, in partnership with other social justice allies, religious institutions and individuals.
All Things Diverse
All Things Diverse provides guidance and support for companies and organizations who take action in promoting diversity, equity, and inclusion. Having worked with a plethora of entities, including law firms, government agencies, corporations, non-profits, foundations, and educational institutions. From training and workshops to strategic diversity planning and establishing Employee Resource Groups (ERGs), All Things Diverse strives to help create work environments where everyone feels respected, valued, and can reach their full potential. This includes engagement of many categories of people while addressing age, race, gender, ethnicity, national origin, socioeconomic background, sexual orientation, gender identity and expression, disability, veteran status, generations, education, political affiliation, experience, work style, communication style, cross-cultural competency, and differing perspectives.
904WARD began in 2015 when a small group of friends came together to talk openly, challenge each other, support each other, and take action together to build a more inclusive Jacksonville. With the vision for an end to racism in Jacksonville so all people thrive, 904WARD’s mission is to create racial healing and equity through deep conversations and learning, trusting relationships, and collective action.
OneJax is an interfaith organization dedicated to achieving civility, understanding and respect for all peoples --- with the vision for an inclusive community where difference is welcomed and celebrated. The reputation of OneJax and its work has grown significantly over the past several years, with a range of topics addressed in its many forums of discussion expanded to include ethnicity, race, culture, ability/disability and sexual orientation. Affiliated as an institute of the University of North Florida to become an Institute of the University, the University has positioned itself to strengthen its community partnerships to play an even more significant role in Northeast Florida's conversations about diversity and inclusion. While OneJax works closely within the UNF community to support its initiatives, it also continues its work in the broader Northeast Florida region in areas such as education, advocacy and community engagement. OneJax is a member of the National Federation for Just Communities (NFJC), an alliance of organizations across the nation dedicated to addressing issues of diversity and inclusion.
Together, the Jacksonville Urban League, All Things Diverse, 904WARD and OneJax --- believe that in order to thrive, we must first seek to understand, which can only be done in spaces that are safe, welcoming and nonjudgmental.
Becoming a beloved community is a reachable goal, if pursued with intention.
We’re not there yet. But we can be, if we are willing to have empathy, listen and move forward, intentionally…together.
That’s what make a community strong. That’s what makes a community most beloved.
Conversations that lead to progress happen when we can be authentic and engage in meaningful ways. We have the power to create a safe space for racial dialogue when we commit to:
Be vulnerable and transparent: You may not have all the right words or fully formulated thoughts, but talk is through it. Lead with your heart and your intentions will be clear.
Be gracious and open minded: “The more room you level for redemption, the more room you leave for honesty" -Dave Chappelle. People may want to reveal moments that do not make them proud. It's up to those of us listening to the experience to extend the kind of grace that leaves room for forgiveness and healing.
Listen to hear the experience, not to respond: This space is not about challenging someone's lived experience, rather it is to learn from a perspective that may be different and find the common humanity within it.
Challenge each other: We advance each other's thinking by calling out the blind spots or offering different perspectives in a respectful way.
Lean into discomfort: Pay attention to your physical and emotional responses to what is said in the conversation. Check in with those feelings and call them out loud as a way to help process experiences and identify what might be a potential roadblock to your own racial reconciliation and healing.
Respect people's experiences as their own: Although we all have a cross section of identities, we are speaking of our own experiences that may or may not represent the experiences of other with similar identities.
Yes. There is a National Day of Healing which is celebrated annually the day after the national holiday for Martin Luther King Jr. The National Day of Racial Healing originated in 2017 under W.K. Kellogg Foundation’s Truth, Racial Healing and Transformation efforts, which serves as a community and national-based-process to determine and bring about transformational and sustainable change in addition to talking about the historical and contemporary effects of racism in U.S. society.
Are there any national observances for racial healing?
By staying connected, progress from the action items identified will be monitored and shared. This will drive our next steps and it is our hope the RHR Conference happens annually, as we become a model for other communities across the nation, working towards the same goals.
When the conference ends, how will the work continue?
Research shows that trauma, mental health and access, have deeply impacted societal racism. With that, this conference is for citizens from every corner of our city, who want to be part of solutions.
Who should take part? Who should be healed and how does healing actually happen?
The process encompasses being honest about the history of wrongdoing, understanding the consequences it caused, and being willing to offer forgiveness so the healing can happen.
How does the racial healing and reconciliation process work?
Racial healing is the act of recognizing the damage caused by racism in our society and reconciliation is working to repair it.
What is racial healing and reconciliation?
Both of these topics are important because they go hand-in-hand. When a doctor gives a diagnosis, he/she provides a treatment plan for the issue that if followed, will lead to improvement. Think of racial healing and reconciliation in the same way.