This Tuesday, January 19th, is the fifth annual National Day of Racial Healing.   Battle Creek City Commissioner Boonikka Herring was on the WBCK Morning Show with Tim Collins to talk about what’s planned for the local community.   Herring, born and raised in Battle Creek, was elected to the City Commission in November.  She owns a business called “Cakes by Boo” and teaches cake decorating and baking for KCC at Lifelong Learning, and she is also a Racial Healing Practitioner for Truth, Racial Healing, and Transformation (TRHT).   “What we do is we facilitate healing circles for people of different races,” said Herring. “We bring people together and try and help them experience some of the struggles that everyone else goes through to try and a commonality.  It’s really beautiful because you get people that normally aren’t in the same spaces, and you get them to open up and talk about the things they’ve experienced or the things that hurt them or the things that bother them and it makes a huge difference. We specialize in helping people build relationships and I think that’s the only way we’re going to get our community to come together.”

The Battle Creek Coalition for Truth, Racial Healing, and Transformation (TRHT) is spearheading several community activities, designed to allow citizens to take action together for racial healing and a more just and equitable world.  The idea is to help individuals and groups to transform the way we live, work, and interact as a community.

This Tuesday, volunteers will be carrying large red heart yard signs and leaving them at the locations they visit as part of the “Race to Heal, Join the Movement Hearts in the Street” campaign.    You’re invited to get a sign and place one outside your home or place of work.  Herring said, “It’s to symbolize the love you have for people, the love you have for your community.”   The signs are free and may be picked up on Tuesday at Willard Library or the Sojourner Truth Center.

Another way to participate is to change your Facebook frame and Zoom background to virtually display your commitment to racial healing.

Another way to get involved is by submitting Racial Healing Love Letters to a Battle Creek Book Project Launch.  You’re encouraged to write love letters about your own racial healing experiences to be published in a forthcoming book. “It can be anything,” said Herring.  “Expressions of love.  Expressions of commitment to this city and this community. It can be anything, as long as it’s heartfelt.  That’s what we want.  We want to be able to pass this book out to people and remind people of what Battle Creek means to us.”

One example is a song posted on Facebook by 12-year-old Keedron Bryant.  The song was written by his mother with Brandon Fitzpatrick accompanying on the piano.

 

Another opportunity is the Racial Healing Experience Series.  “We’re doing affinity groups.  The first session is community leaders.  We’re separating people by race.  We’ll have an African American circle. We’ll have a circle for White people, the Latinx community, and we’ll have one for cross-race.  We’re going to sit down and talk to them about their experiences as they pertain to Battle Creek.  After we do these four separate series with these individual race groups, we’re going to mix it up and bring everybody together and see if we can’t come to some kind of understanding so that we can better heal our community.”  Herring says she thinks the way we listen to others is the key to making progress.  “A lot of people just listen to respond instead of listening to understand and that’s a huge part of why our country can’t come together now.”

Another thing being done in Battle Creek is the “Cultivating our Multiracial Narrative History Timeline Exhibit.”  The timeline exhibit will be on display at 50 West Michigan through March 2021.  Citizens are encouraged to add to the history timeline.

This Tuesday, on the National Day of Healing, there will be a Mayoral Proclamation at the Battle Creek City Commission Meeting, which will be streamed on Facebook Live.

To pick up a free yard sign, visit the Sojourner Truth Center for Liberation and Justice:

One Riverwalk Center, 34 W. Jackson St., #2A

11:00AM-1:00PM & 4:00-6:00PM

January 19th, 2021

 

To submit something for the Battle Creek Book Project, go here.

The deadline for submissions is March 19, 2021.

Selected submissions will be published in an anthology and available for

purchase by Juneteenth (June 19, 2021).

For more info click here.

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