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Unexplored History, Economic Realities And Demographic Trends Underscore Need For Racial Healing

The W.K. Kellogg Foundation's America Healing conference concludes with powerful panel focused on inter‐generational change

NEW ORLEANS, May 4, 2012 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- As the United States continues to wrestle with racial inequities, research on the past, present and future is providing insight into how a dialogue on racial healing can ensure an equitable economic recovery for vulnerable children and their families across diverse communities.

On last week's closing day of the America Healing conference—the W.K. Kellogg Foundation's (WKKF) second annual racial healing conference—historical, political and demographic scholars took the stage to make the case that Americans need to understand past injustices around race and ethnicity in order to work collaboratively on solutions to inequities for communities of color that have persisted across generations.

WKKF is one of the nation's largest private foundations and has made racial healing a core component of its mission of improving the lives of vulnerable children in diverse communities across the US and internationally. This long-term strategy, called America Healing, supports community dialogue, thoughtful research and systemic change to policies in health, education and financial security that create inequities and limit opportunities for children and their families.

Historian Douglas Blackmon, author of Slavery by Another Name, a book and subsequent PBS special that explores how forced servitude of African Americans continued long after the Civil War and right up till World War II, stated, "Most Americans ‐ black, white and otherwise ‐ don't fully understand what really happened in that period… just how terrible things were in so many places, how catastrophically people's lives were wrecked or limited…millions of people whose ambitions were circumscribed against all of their valiant efforts to achieve and…be a part of American life."

Adding to the idea that racist ideology continued to negatively impact African American families was Dr. Gail Christopher, vice president of program strategy for the WKKF and the lead of America Healing.

"If the actual application of [racist] beliefs existed through 1940 in its most overt form, imagine the residual beliefs that are still with us today in terms of how we view one another, and more deeply and probably more significantly, how we view ourselves as human beings in America."

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