FFL launches Truth, Racial Healing & Transformation process in Baton Rouge and New Orleans

Lousiana’s

TRHT is a comprehensive, national and community-based process to plan for and bring about transformational and sustainable change, and to address the historic and contemporary effects of racism. It was initiated in January 2016 with a year-long design phase and builds upon and complements the Kellogg Foundation’s decades-long commitment to advancing racial equity and racial healing throughout the United States.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

CONTACT: David Lee Simmons, dsimmons@foundationforlouisiana.org; 504.352.2539

New Orleans, LA — Foundation for Louisiana (FFL) has launched its Truth, Racial Healing & Transformation (TRHT) effort in Baton Rouge and New Orleans with support from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation. The two cities were among 14 different places selected for grant support across the United States. Kellogg has committed $3 million over three years, with more than a third of the amount dedicated as matching funds to develop permanent resources to support TRHT work for the long term.

TRHT is a comprehensive, national and community-based process to plan for and bring about transformational and sustainable change, and to address the historic and contemporary effects of racism. It was initiated in January 2016 with a year-long design phase and builds upon and complements the Kellogg Foundation’s decades-long commitment to advancing racial equity and racial healing throughout the United States.

“Foundation for Louisiana’s origins were deeply rooted in the belief that racial equity and inclusion represent the best opportunity to strengthen Louisiana communities and people. More than 11 years later, we find evidence that this work remains the most critical before us. We believe that enduring, authentic change is largely rooted in expanding the ranks of those of us who truly value the worth of each person, across races,” said FFL President and CEO Flozell Daniels, Jr. “Foundation for Louisiana, with the Kellogg Foundation’s support, is proud to serve a group of resident leaders across these cities to develop practices that move us forward to tell important truths, expand on racial healing practices and frame enduring opportunities to transform the socioeconomic fabric of our region. Our thesis is that without this work, our efforts to move into the momentous 2018 tricentennial in New Orleans with a bold and courageous vision for the next 300 years will falter; as will efforts to mount a successful future for public safety, justice reform and flood recovery in Baton Rouge. Ensuring the entire city/region participates in crafting a truthful narrative, engages in democracy to the fullest extent and is part of the local economy is critical to strengthening our communities and achieving successful outcomes that serve the interest of everyone.”

“If our country aspires to be a place where all children can thrive, where equal value of all human beings is the foundation for our society, then we must jettison racial hierarchy and replace it with the capacity to see ourselves in one another and transform the structural and systematic manifestations of this devastating belief,” said Dr. Gail Christopher, WKKF’s senior advisor and vice president for TRHT. “The TRHT is a community-driven vehicle for transforming the country and we are pleased that Baton Rouge and New Orleans have committed to do this work.”

A primary focus of the TRHT process and framework will be jettisoning the deeply held, and often unconscious, beliefs that undergird racism – the main one being the belief in a “hierarchy of human value.” This belief, which has fueled racism and conscious and unconscious bias throughout American culture, is the perception of a person’s or group’s inferiority or superiority based on physical characteristics, the color of their skin, ethnicity or place of origin.

As part of this process, FFL has organized programming staff to work on efforts in both cities, coordinated by Alfredo A. Cruz, FFL’s Vice President of Programs & Special Initiatives. He will work with program managers Rosa Gomez-Herrin and Marc Perry and other support staff in these efforts. (“Learn more about Rosa and Marc here:“http://foundationforlouisiana.org/page/61/our-board-team

Each of the TRHT Places recruited a diverse core group of participants that represent multiple sectors – philanthropy, elected officials, faith, business, healing practitioners, grassroots activists, youth, media and others. Each core group co-developed a local implementation plan that centers communities of color in America and recognizes the need for both racial healing and racial justice; and create local, regional and national infrastructures that sustain healing and structural change efforts across the country.
The TRHT places are acknowledging the historic and contemporary impact of racism in their landscapes and will forge pathways to heal, end structural racism and expand opportunities, especially for vulnerable children and their families. These efforts also are being supported by other local, regional and national funders in these places.

Carol Bebelle, Co-founder and Executive Director of Ashé Cultural Arts Center and member of the advisory committee representing New Orleans, emphasized the sense of urgency behind a TRHT process who’s time has come.

“TRHT is an evolution of the combined work of decades of effort by tens of thousands to disarm the ‘original lie’ of a hierarchy in human value, one human being more valuable than another for physical or circumstantial cause,” said Carol Bebelle. “The pursuit of healing may appear aspirational, but if today’s national political theater teaches us anything, it is sorely needed.”

John Pierre, faculty member of the Southern University Law Center and member of the advisory committee representing Baton Rouge, sees the TRHT process as a way to address examples of structural racism laid bare by the shooting of Alton Sterling and its aftermath as well as historic flooding in the area — both occurring in 2016.

“Actions need to be taken to deal with these issues, and their history. If we take a holistic approach to making a sustainable effort toward addressing the racial divide, we can start to change the narrative of what has been happening in Baton Rouge. We can create long-term solutions toward resolving these issues that come up based upon structural racism,” Pierre said.

About the W.K. Kellogg Foundation
The W.K. Kellogg Foundation (WKKF), founded in 1930 as an independent, private foundation by breakfast cereal pioneer Will Keith Kellogg, is among the largest philanthropic foundations in the United States. Guided by the belief that all children should have an equal opportunity to thrive, WKKF works with communities to create conditions for vulnerable children so they can realize their full potential in school, work and life.

The Kellogg Foundation is based in Battle Creek, Michigan and works throughout the United States and internationally, as well as with sovereign tribes. Special emphasis is paid to priority places where there are high concentrations of poverty and where children face significant barriers to success. WKKF priority places in the U.S. are in Michigan, Mississippi, New Mexico and New Orleans; and internationally, are in Mexico and Haiti. To learn more, visit www.wkkf.org or follow WKKF on twitter at @wk_kellogg_fdn.