Renewing Our Commitment

On the 2023 National Day of Racial Healing, the Rockefeller Brothers Fund is reflecting on its 2020 commitment to becoming an anti-racist and anti-sexist institution. We strive to model the change we seek in the world and invite others to join us in working toward racial healing and equity in the coming year.

Established by the W.K. Kellogg Foundation (WKKF) and Truth, Racial Healing & Transformation (TRHT) community partners in 2017, the National Day of Racial Healing falls on the Tuesday after Martin Luther King Jr. Day each year. The event provides an opportunity to "pause, reflect, and refuel" as we redouble our efforts to make progress toward genuine racial equity. The founders of the day challenge us to embrace the truth that ongoing racial healing is at the heart of racial equity.

The legacies of enslavement and racism are deeply embedded in our society, institutions, and culture. The work of combatting racism can be lonely, discouraging, and even risky; we may question whether our efforts are making a difference. Undoing the legacies and structures of racism and shifting toward a more inclusive and equitable culture can feel impossible. Progress often seems slow and uneven. We can, however, take powerful inspiration from leaders, colleagues, and friends who — driven by the direct impact of racism in their lives or the understanding of the fundamental truth that racism harms all of us — find the inner strength to recharge, recommit, and return to this journey. The work of those around us further energizes our efforts to increase inclusivity and equity.

Our journey to racial equity persists. For example, in 2021 we celebrated that, for the first time in RBF history, over half of our staff identified as people of color. We realize that demographic shifts in our staff are a meaningful and important step that will strengthen our broader commitment to anti-racism, anti-sexism, and anti-bigotry. As we continue these efforts, it is important to recognize and even celebrate small victories because every step brings us closer to this destination.

We are acutely aware that one day of reflection is insufficient, but it can catalyze both individual and collective recommitments to anti-racism. For this reason, we encourage you to join others across the country in asserting the vital connection between racial healing and racial equity. We encourage individuals and institutions to be part of the solution year-round by bringing an anti-racist approach to day-to-day life so that we can all play our part in healing the racial divide.

Bit by bit, let's recommit to getting there, together.