My Turn, Susan Lee: Moving toward wholeness with National Day of Racial Healing

Published 12:00 am Thursday, January 12, 2023

By Susan Lee

On Tuesday evening, Jan. 17, The Reach Church will host Rowan County’s first National Day of Racial Healing.

As part of W.K. Kellogg Foundation’s Truth, Healing and Transformation initiative, Salisbury joins a growing number of communities throughout the country to acknowledge our need to heal from racial violence and injustice. The root meaning of “to heal” is to become whole. This day is set aside to reflect on and to take action toward our personal and national needs for transformation, for healing, for moving toward wholeness.

The founding of our nation relied upon slavery and it was largely built by enslaved people. Today it is nearly as divided as it has ever been. Questions surrounding racial healing abound. What can racial healing possibly mean? What would it look like? Can people of color and white people ever share the same world, or even the same worldview? Probably not. Our perspectives may never line up. But, maybe that’s not the point. Maybe the point is that we try—again and again— to see the world through one another’s histories and experiences until despite all of our differences we begin to see our connection. And we begin to make things right by challenging injustice and establishing equity.

Racial healing isn’t be a one-size-fits-all, single destination endeavor. The physical and emotional pain and the socio-economic burdens that people of color in our nation bore and continue to bear cannot be compared to the white experience. Yes, white people have suffered—but not similarly—and not because of our skin color. Some of us are just waking up to the social construction of race and are wrestling with our conscience and the false narratives of White Supremacy. We are beginning to see the world in new ways and coming to terms with the unearned advantages the color of our skin. As yet, many of us refuse to.

And so differences concerning racial healing also abound. Can we begin with our questions and differences, and walk with them together? How better to address them, in their widely varying forms, than as a widely varying community? When better to explore them than on a national day dedicated to this purpose and followed by a year of committed action? What better time to have faith in racial healing than immediately following our nation’s celebration of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and his vision? For as Dr. King said, “Faith is taking the first step even when you can’t see the whole staircase.”

Rowan County’s first National Day of Racial Healing event will feature various organizations and diverse community leaders presenting reflections and explorations of racial healing. You’re invited to join with them and others on, Jan. 17 from 6-7:30 p.m. The Reach Church is located at 722 W. Horah Street.


Susan Lee, Salisbury is co-chair of Actions in Faith & Justice.