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Author Heather McGhee keynotes Cincinnati's 2nd annual National Day of Racial Healing

Day of Racial Healing 2022 - Keynote Photo 24 (002).jpg
Author Heather McGhee is this year's keynote speaker for Cincinnati's 2nd Annual National Day of Racial Healing program. She wrote 'The Sum of Us: What Racism Costs Everyone and How We Can Prosper Together.'

About 1,500 people across the country joined in events during Cincinnati's inaugural Day of Racial Healing last year. Organizers are now focused on bringing an interactive racial healing circle to the community Tuesday for the second local celebration of the nationally recognized day.

"Racial healing circles are really a core element of the truth, racial healing and transformation framework," said Denisha Porter, All-In Cincinnati director.

She said they're designed to offer space that gives people the opportunity to share their personal truth and compassion in a cared for way, by co-facilitators who were trained on the practice last summer.

"They can embark upon or continue the journey that they've been on around changing hearts and minds, as it relates to issues of racial inequity, racial injustice, and also the role that we all play in racial healing," Porter said.

In addition to the circles, author Heather McGhee is this year's keynote speaker. She wrote The Sum of Us: What Racism Costs Everyone and How We Can Prosper Together. (Listen to McGhee on a recent episode of Fresh Air.)

Tia Sherèe Gaynor, founding director for the Center for Truth, Racial Healing and Transformation at the University of Cincinnati said, "Oftentimes we think about racism as something that just affects those who receive the burdens of it. But really, thinking about how racism has been critical in a lot of the economic and financial crises that we have experienced, and what the cost of racism is for everyone, including white people."

McGee will be speaking at noon, before a yoga and mindfulness break at 1 p.m.

Porter and Sherèe Gaynor said this year's event is also unique because it features the premier of a documentary focused on inequities and racism in four Cincinnati neighborhoods: West End/Over-the-Rhine, Avondale, Lincoln Heights and Kennedy Heights.

"I think what's so powerful about the stories that are highlighted in the documentary is that they are emblematic of the challenges that are happening across the country," Sherèe Gaynor said. "And so, while it focuses on these four communities here in Cincinnati, the issues that it talks about are are very relevant and very present in communities across the country."

The daylong event also features music by local artists and, at 7:30 p.m., a virtual program called "Healing Through Dance w/ DJ Vader."

Registration for the free events are available at the Cincinnati's National Day of Racial Healing website.

Jolene Almendarez is the granddaughter of Mexican immigrants who came to San Antonio in the 1960s. She was raised in a military family and has always called the city home. She studied journalism at San Antonio College and earned a bachelor's degree in Journalism and Public Communications from the University of Alaska Anchorage. She's been a reporter in San Antonio and Castroville, Texas, and in Syracuse and Ithaca, New York.