ST. LOUIS – Several local St. Louis organizations are joining forces to establish the St. Louis Racial Healing Fund. It already has $1.4 million dollars committed to its effort.
Deaconess Foundation, Forward Through Ferguson and the Missouri Foundation for Health are working together to help heal community trauma and change the conditions that reinforce systemic racism.
Kathleen Holmes with the Missouri Foundation for Health explains trauma has been created from years of a particular segment of the black population being disenfranchised.
“There is trauma in being seen or thought of as not part of society in many ways, this is really an opportunity to help heal that trauma,” said Holmes.
The racial healing fund is a concept that brings together community partners to provide healing for those who have worked on the front lines of racial justice as well as the overall community. Holmes believes if you bring about racial justice, it will allow people to achieve optimal health.
Holmes explained health is impacted by a variety of different factors, the conditions in which people are born, live, work, neighborhood safety, access to food, education and access to health care.
“Heal the core, change the conditions,” that is what David Dwight with Forward Through Ferguson says about the Racial Healing Fund.
He says the Ferguson Commission report found that in every area in life in St. Louis there are disparities by race.
He says The Racial Healing Fund needs to be a long term investment. He also says it will be community lead, grantmaking process. The group will identify specific funding priorities and outcomes and distribute the money.
Here are some of The Racial Healing Fund’s focuses:
· Expanding opportunities for community members to express grief, connect to sacred cultural assets, and seek/offer forgiveness through healing circles and other restorative practices;
· Investing in grassroots organizations that promote intragroup and intergroup healing and foster community resilience;
· Preparing and inviting more community residents to participate directly in leading and facilitating community mobilization, organizing, civic engagement, and system change; and
· Investing in community-wide, neighborhood level, and small group platforms that offer residents opportunities for deepening relationships through restoration, reverence, respect, and trust building.
The Racial Healing Fund is still looking for community members to get involved in the design process. There is a panel discussion Friday, June 26 from 6-7:30pm.
You can learn how to register for the discussion and learn more about joining here: https://forwardthroughferguson.org/healingjustice/