W.K. Kellogg Foundation's 2015 America Healing Conference: All Children Must Thrive

More than 500 community-based leaders, civil rights advocates, academics and journalists come together to discuss racial healing and equity in America

Jo-Carolyn Goode | 5/4/2015, 12:39 p.m.
As events in Baltimore raise the nation's consciousness about racism's impacts on human relationships, systems, structures and communities, the W.K. ...
La June Montgomery Tabron, president and CEO of the Kellogg Foundation

ASHEVILLE, N.C. - As events in Baltimore raise the nation's consciousness about racism's impacts on human relationships, systems, structures and communities, the W.K. Kellogg Foundation (WKKF) will hold its fourth America Healing Conference, bringing together more than 500 community-based leaders, civil rights advocates, academics and journalists from more than 350 organizations to discuss the ways our nation must come together to heal and work toward racial equity and justice for children and families. The conference will be held Monday, May 4, through Thursday, May 7, at the Omni Grove Park Inn in Asheville.

WKKF's America Healing initiative was launched in 2010, to foster racial healing and racial equity and to change hearts, minds and the deeply held and often unconscious biases that cause structural inequities for children and their families, especially children of color. Now in its fifth year, the effort has invested more than $135 million in a national network of hundreds of partner organizations deeply committed to creating conditions for the optimal development of children, rejecting racism and discrimination and beginning a process of healing across the country.

"This conference could not be timelier as communities, families and children all across America are rising up in fear, sadness and frustration and asking to be seen and heard. This is a cry for healing and we must all acknowledge the resulting effects of the legacy of racism on this nation and work together to create change," said La June Montgomery Tabron, president and CEO of the Kellogg Foundation. "America Healing has been creating space for healing and developing leaders to champion efforts to overcome racism and divisiveness."

According to the U.S. Census, by 2020, more than half of the nation's children will be children of color. The Kellogg Foundation's work as a leader and convener for racial equity and healing work proactively responds to this reality - recognizing that for all children to thrive in this nation, we must help change the conditions and systems around us so they can have opportunities to contribute meaningfully to society.

"This conference serves as an important inflection point for national and community-based leaders to recharge their spirits, identify best practices and develop strategies for making positive, social change for our nation's children and communities of color," said Dr. Gail Christopher, vice president for policy and senior advisor at WKKF. "All of us will benefit from being a more inclusive nation that recognizes the value in all people, especially the most vulnerable among us, children."

Key topics and sessions at the conference will include:

  • In light of recent events, an important Livestreamed panel will focus on "Healing Relationships between Law Enforcement and Communities of Color" on Tuesday, May 5, from 8:15 to 9:15 a.m. EST.

Moderated by Joy Reid, national correspondent, MSNBC and featuring panelists:

o Jeffrey Blackwell, chief of police, Cincinnati, Ohio

o Melanca Clark, chief of staff, Office of Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) , U.S. Department of Justice

o Rachel Godsil, director of research, Perception Institute

o Sherrilyn Ifill, president and direct-counsel, NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund