National Day of Racial Healing

Logo that reads national day of racial healing Tuesday, January 17. Connect. Build relationships. Bridge divides.

The National Day of Racial Healing is a time to contemplate our shared values and create the blueprint together for #HowWeHeal from the effects of racism. Launched on Jan. 17, 2017, it is an opportunity to bring ALL people together in their common humanity and inspire collective action to create a more just and equitable world. This annual observance is hosted by the W.K. Kellogg Foundation (WKKF) and was created with and builds on the work and learnings of the Truth, Racial Healing & Transformation (TRHT) community partners. Fundamental to this day is a clear understanding that racial healing is at the core of racial equity. This day is observed every year on the Tuesday following Martin Luther King, Jr. Day.

The College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences is partnering with several OSU campuses, colleges, departments, and offices to host local events for the 2023 annual W.K. Kellogg Foundations' National Day of Racial Healing. All events are free and open to the public.


Our Theme: Healing from Racial Battle Fatigue

Schedule of Events (virtual and in person at various locations in Columbus and regional campuses)

You do not need to attend all events. Feel free to join us for one event or all!

12:00-12:30pm - Registration and grab lunch 

12:30-1:30pm - Welcome and keynote speaker - Dr. William A. Smith (see below for information about Dr. Smith)

1:30-1:45pm - Introduction to Self Care - Preshus Thompson

1:45-2:00pm - Transition to small group discussions in person and Zoom breakout rooms

2:00-3:00pm - Facilitated small group discussions about healing from racial battle fatigue  


Last year's national event is available to watch online.


NOTE: You may register until the day of the event, but all lunch requests must be received by January 12th to ensure adequate supplies.

Event locations*

Columbus campus

  • Drinko Hall - Lunch, keynote, and small group discussions
  • The James Cancer Hospital (Wexner) - Lunch and keynote
  • Page Hall - Lunch, keynote, small group discussions, and watch party of the live national event
  • Thompson Library - Lunch, keynote, and small group discussions
  • Wenger Auditorium (Veterinary Medicine) - Lunch and keynote

Lima campus 

  • Student Services Center - Lunch, keynote, and small group discussions

Mansfield campus

  • Student Union - Keynote address only (no lunch or  small group discussions)

Newark/COTC campus

  • John G. Reese Center - Lunch, keynote, and small group discussions

*Some locations differ in the events offered. Please check the list of events after the name of each location.


About our keynote speaker

Bald Black man wearing a pink collared shirt, bow tie, and black suit jacketDr. William A. Smith is the Chief Executive Administrator in the Huntsman Mental Health Institute (HMHI) in the School of Medicine and the Department of Psychiatry. In this position, one of Dr. Smith’s responsibilities is to lead HMHI in its efforts around Justice, Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion at the institutional level and in national projects. He is also a full professor and former department chair of Education, Culture & Society at the University of Utah. Additionally, he holds a joint appointment in the Ethnic Studies Program (African American Studies division) as a full professor. Dr. Smith has served as the Associate Dean for Diversity, Access, & Equity in the College of Education (2007-2014) and a Special Assistant to the President as the NCAA Faculty Athletics Representative (2007-2013) at the University of Utah.

Dr. Smith’s research focuses on Racial Battle Fatigue, a framework he coined in 2003, as the cumulative emotional, psychological, physiological, and behavioral effects of racial micro-level aggressions and macro-level aggressions (microaggressions and macroaggressions) have on racialized Targets of Racism. He summarizes this definition by saying it is a systemic race-related repetitive stress injury. To learn more about Dr. Smith please visit

2023 Ohio State University Partners (in alphabetical order)

  • College of Engineering
  • College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences
  • College of Medicine
  • College of Pharmacy
  • College of Veterinary Medicine
  • John Glenn College of Public Affairs
  • Moritz College of Law
  • Office of Diversity and Inclusion
  • Office of Technology and Digital Innovation
  • Ohio State University at Lima
  • Ohio State University at Mansfield 
  • Ohio State University at Newark
  • University Libraries

Contacts for each campus


A note about accessiblity

These events will be presented with automated closed captions. If you require traditional CART services or have other accessibility needs, please contact Laura Akgerman at or 614-292-0622. Requests submitted two weeks in advance will generally allow us to provide seamless access, but the university will make every effort to meet every request.

What is Racial Healing?

Racial healing is a process that restores individuals and communities to wholeness, repairs the damage caused by racism and transforms societal structures into ones that affirm the inherent value of all people. It makes it possible to acknowledge and speak the truth about past wrongs created by individual and systemic racism and to address present-day consequences for people, communities and institutions.

Racial healing can facilitate trust and build authentic relationships that bridge divides created by real and perceived differences. We believe it is essential to pursue racial healing prior to making change in a community. Because, before you can transform systems and structures, you must start with people first.