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Healing History Academy participants graduate

by Amber Duke, Anne Braden Institute for Social Justice Research last modified Sep 05, 2012 11:05 AM

Don’t be surprised if you run into someone around town wearing a lapel pin that says, “Racial Healing Ambassador.” The pin bearer is one of 25 graduates of the Healing History Academy, a project of the University of Louisville’s Anne Braden Institute for Social Justice Research (ABI) in partnership with the Louisville Metro Department of Health & Wellness Center for Health Equity.

Healing History Academy participants graduate

Healing History Academy graduates.

HHA brought together Louisvillians of diverse ages, backgrounds and neighborhoods to learn about local and U.S. racial histories of the 20th century and their impact on current social inequalities.

Many of them already were professionally well-placed to make a difference in local nonprofit organizations, the school system and religious communities, said Cate Fosl, ABI director.

Participants took the knowledge they gained into their respective neighborhoods through community-based projects — including a performance on slavery and racial injustice, a teen movie and discussion club, book discussion groups and guided civil rights tours of Louisville.

Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer hosted a graduation ceremony for participants on Aug. 27 and each one now serves as a Racial Healing Ambassador for Louisville Metro.

“In our group meetings and in their follow-up projects, each of the people in HHA has shown themselves to be very proactive in identifying and speaking or acting against structural racism,” Fosl said.

“We can see how meaningful the relationships are that they have built among one another. They have acted on the program’s philosophy — the same one that propelled the civil rights movement of the 1960s — that said ‘each one, teach one.’ We feel confident they will continue to spread what they have learned and to act to end racism once and for all in our institutions, in our language and in our personal relationships,” she said.

The Healing History Academy was made possible by a two-year racial healing grant from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation.

ABI, however, has curriculum materials and videos that it can loan to faculty or community groups that want to stage their own discussions. To inquire, call 852-6142.

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