What happens when young white Catholics, Black Israelites and Native Americans all show up at the same place at the same? Washington is still trying to figure that out. But the impromptu face-off casts a shadow here in Austin on an event marking National Day of Racial Healing.
Organizers at Austin Community College wanted the Tuesday event to showcase our common humanity and celebrate progress toward racial healing. But the viral videos from Washington showed them just how easily those gains can be lost when people focus on their differences. Molly Beth Malcolm, an executive vice president with the host school commented, “As we all know we live in a rather divided time and there are a lot of inequities that have gone on throughout and hard to sometimes get people to sit down and talk to each other and listen to each other."
ACC actually scheduled their National Day of Racial Healing event long before the issue bubbled back to the surface over the weekend. It's only a small part of a much larger a nationwide call for a more just and equitable world. Malcolm adds, “And that's what truth, racial healing and transformation is all about: giving people the opportunity to share their truth to allow for healing and then for there to be a transformation."
Guests were invited to use their artistic side to urge action toward an equitable world. There was painting, music and dance. But participants acknowledge reaching their goal won't be easy. Nelson Linder, president of the Austin NAACP says, “You can't get equity without eliminating racism. Are you going to address racism? Not yet. Until we address racism and have a fair society, we can't have a harmonious and healed society. It's that serious."
The consensus here is the system is broken, and it’s time to look beyond the system. Fatima Mann, another presenter said, “We can't keep talking about the system as if there's not human beings in it. And if we're going to talk about changing something then we also have to talk about how do we help change the people and not just the system that the people are working in."
We'll be hearing more about racial healing in the years to come. ACC just announced they will be building a Truth, Racial healing and Transformation Center at their Rio Grande Campus.