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Pepperdine University to Host Virtual Coast-to-Coast Racial Healing Circle

In honor of Martin Luther King Jr. Day (celebrated annually on the third Monday in January) and the National Day of Racial Healing (celebrated annually on the third Tuesday in January), Pepperdine University will co-host a virtual Coast-to-Coast Racial Healing Circle on Tuesday, January 17, at 3 PM PDT.

The Larry D. Kimmons Truth, Racial Healing, and Transformation Initiative at Pepperdine will co-host the event in collaboration with the Truth, Racial Healing, and Transformation Center at The Citadel, the Military College of South Carolina, and the Social Justice Racial Equity Collaborative of Charleston. The methodology of racial healing circles encourages the exchange of stories and ideas in an intimate setting to enable participants to build trust and see humanity in themselves and others in their community. 

“We are beyond excited to partner with The Citadel's Truth, Racial Healing, and Transformation Center to offer this virtual, highly interactive Racial Healing Circle on the National Day of Racial Healing,” says J. Goosby Smith, vice president for community belonging and chief diversity officer at Pepperdine. “This work is vital because our diversity efforts will be ineffective until we can see the full humanity of others. The only way to cure divisiveness and to eliminate the idea that human worth fluctuates with their demographics is to connect people one interaction at a time.” 

With support from the US Truth, Racial Healing, and Transformation Movement, a commission created to alleviate divisions between people of different backgrounds, Pepperdine launched the Larry D. Kimmons Truth, Racial Healing, and Transformation Initiative in 2022 to facilitate Community Belonging Circles and other activities to connect internal and external community members. Goosby Smith began this work with a team of similarly unity-minded individuals while serving as associate provost for diversity and inclusion at The Citadel. The Citadel then collaborated as a center with the Social Justice Racial Equity Collaborative (SJREC) of Charleston, seeking to bring this work to the city at large. Since then, Goosby Smith has supported the SJREC local effort by co-facilitating circles, called CitListen Sessions, with director Tessa Updike.

For more information and to register to join the Coast-to-Coast Racial Healing Circle, visit the Sophia Institute website.