The Anne Braden Institute for Social Justice Research — part of UofL’s College of Arts and Sciences — is inviting adults of all ages, races, faiths, backgrounds and Jefferson County neighborhoods to register for its Healing History Academy (HHA).
“We are especially recruiting people who are not already activists or scholars in these fields, but ordinary Louisvillians who care about a more peaceful and united community and who want to immerse themselves in history as a healing force,” said ABI Director Cate Fosl, a historian of the U.S. civil rights movement.
HHA participants will commit to attend one three-hour evening session each month for six months starting in August.
“We will have many different types of learning — films, talks by historians and other scholars, theatrical pieces, book discussions and small-group activities,” Fosl said. “We will also feature six additional optional programs open to all in the Louisville community — which we will especially encourage HHA members to attend.”
Those sessions are just the beginning. After participants learn about Louisville’s race history, ABI, she said, will give them tools and resources to go out into their neighborhoods or workplaces to share their new knowledge in some way — such as creating a history exhibit for a local library branch or hosting a community conversation about a current controversy.
“It is our belief that knowing the history of U.S. racial injustices and of the movements to change them is a crucial first step toward racial healing. History alone isn’t enough; we have to have concrete actions and policy measures in order to achieve full racial and social justice in the United States,” Fosl said.
HHA is one local initiative being funded by the W.K. Kellogg Foundation through an America Healing: A Racial Equity Initiative grant to the Louisville Metro Department of Public Health and Wellness Center for Health Equity. UofL is a subcontractor.
The foundation has committed $75 million nationally to racial healing, which it defines as efforts “to acknowledge the wrongs and group suffering of the past while trying to address the cumulative and current consequences of the past injustices.”
The city’s grant, said Anneta Arno, director of Louisville’s Center for Health Equity, seeks to address racial inequities by addressing structural racism.
Key partners on the $400,000 grant will lead different collaborative projects to address the issues from different, but integrated viewpoints, including history, health equity, human and civil rights, disproportionality and policy change, she said.
Also under the city’s grant, the Office for International Diversity and Outreach Programs at UofL’s College of Arts and Sciences is conducting a youth leadership institute called Reclaiming Our Dreams. ABI is also working with the Center for Health Equity and other community organizations to create a health equity report.
Other Louisville participants in America Healing are the Jefferson County Race, Community and Child Welfare Initiative, Louisville Metro Human Relations Commission, and Women in Transition.
People who want to participate in the Healing History Academy should submit an application by July 1. Download an application or call (502) 852-6142.