10 Things You Can Do to Help Heal Southern California

By L.A. Works Guest Contributor: Christine Essel
President and CEOsouthern-california-grantmakers
Southern California Grantmakers

With racial, ethnic, religious, and political divisiveness rising across America, organizations across the country, prompted by an effort by the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, are calling for a National Day of Healing on Tuesday, January 17. The goal is to spur efforts to heal the wounds created by racial and other biases and to build an equitable and just society in which all people thrive.

10 Things You Can Do to Help Heal Southern California

  1. On January 17, join Community Coalition for an open forum with colleagues from a diverse group of organizations focused on racial healing. This conversation will take place 10:00 am to 11:30 am at 8101 S. Vermont Avenue.
  2. Get to know someone of a different racial, ethnic, or religious background. Ask them to share something about their history and culture and share something about yours.
  3. Start a thought provoking conversation or share inspiring resources through your social media posts with questions like “What does racial healing look like to you?” or “How can racial healing help our country become more vibrant?”. Post a short video addressing why racial healing is important to you. Use the hashtags #TRHT (Truth, Racial Healing & Transformation), #TheDayToHeal, and #DayOfRacialHealing.
  4. Recognize your own biases – we all have them! Try taking the Harvard Implicit Bias Test. Once you know your biases, you’ll be better equipped to resist stereotyping and look for the good in each person.
  5. Visit a local museum to explore the diversity around us. Check out the Annenberg Space for Photography’s IDENTITY exhibit (through 2/26) and lectures and exhibits at the Museum of Tolerance, Chinese American Museum, Japanese American National Museum, California African American Museum, La Plaza de Cultura y Artes; and the Dream Resource Center, among others.
  6. Watch a film about the impacts of racism and discrimination in our country and our modern world. Consider Hidden Figures, Defamation, Loving, 13th, Dreamer, A Better Life, He Named Me Malala, Breathin: The Eddy Zheng Story, Grab, Moonlight, The Case Against 8, and even Zootopia (to spark discussion with children). We also recommend reading Just Mercy by Bryan Stevenson, Enrique’s Journey by Sonia Nazario, Trustbuilding by Rob Corcoran.
  7. Explore how race and racism have shaped Southern California specifically. Consider reading Fire This Time: The Watts Uprising and the 1960s by Gerald Horne, The Changs Next Door to the Díazes: Remapping Race in Suburban California by Wendy Cheng, Mendez v. Westminster: School Desegregation and Mexican-American Rights by Philippa Strum, Southland by Nina Revoyr, and Twilight: Los Angeles, 1992 by Anna Deavere Smith. You can also attend a performance of the upcoming production of Zoot Suit at the Mark Taper Forum to experience the cultural and political context of Chicano life in 1940s.
  8. Be a tourist in your own community: visit some lesser known sites of local civil rights history with the alternative guidebook, A People’s Guide to Los Angeles by Laura Barraclough. You can also visit the Harada House in Riverside County.
  9. Think about the diversity within your neighborhood, workplace, local school, house of worship, etc., and initiate conversations about where and why there might be a lack of inclusion.
  10. Imagine what a healed Southern California community would look like and commit personally to work for racial healing and equity; volunteer with or support organizations that focus on healing and equity.
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