Loyola Marymount University’s participation in the Truth, Racial Healing, and Transformation movement in higher education begins in earnest this semester.
To commemorate the National Day of Racial Healing on Tuesday, Jan. 18, LMU’s TRHT Center Alliance is hosting a virtual Story Circle employing the Rx Racial Healing methodology utilized by the national network of TRHT campus centers. Open to all in the LMU community, this virtual gathering is an opportunity for Story Circle participants to connect with colleagues in a container that fosters authentic sharing.
“We are living through a time of profound reckoning with the legacy of systemic racism, one that requires each of us to reflect on our own experiences and learn to listen deeply to the experiences of our colleagues, students, and community members,” said Ariane White, Ed.D., the inaugural director of the TRHT center at LMU. “The framework and practices provided by the TRHT national network offer a pathway toward individual and collective healing that is rooted in our commitment to learning from and with each other, building trust across our differences, and deepening our relationships so that we can co-create a culture that promotes equity and justice.”
LMU joined the American Association of Colleges and Universities’ TRHT program in October 2021. TRHT, which began as a strategic initiative in 2017, aims to “prepare the next generation of strategic leaders and thinkers to break down racial hierarchies and dismantle the belief in the hierarchy of human value.” There are currently 48 institutions hosting TRHT campus centers in the United States.
The effort to bring TRHT to LMU crystallized in summer 2021, when a team of 12 faculty and staff members from across campus, led by Jennifer Abe, Ph.D., the previous vice president of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI), attended AAC&U’s annual TRHT summer institute and submitted a proposal that resulted in the awarding of the TRHT Center.
Underwritten by the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, the national TRHT effort seeks to unearth and jettison the deeply held, and often unconscious, beliefs created by racism – the main one being the belief in a “hierarchy of human value,” according to its website. “Truth, Racial Healing and Transformation (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.”
The TRHT framework is multifaceted, with an emphasis on racial healing and relationship building at its core. The framework posits that by prioritizing the cultivation of authentic, trusting relationships, it will then be possible to shift entrenched narratives that undergird injustices, especially in areas such as legal and economic systems, as well as other structures that perpetuate separation on a societal level.
“The LMU campus team realized when we attended the TRHT summer institute that we were not interested in launching a stand-alone center to operate in isolation,” said White. “Rather, we are calling this the TRHT Center Alliance to underscore that it is essential that we collaborate as a campus community – across all units – to continually work toward operationalizing our commitment to justice, equity, and antiracism. We hope that this TRHT Center Alliance will serve as a resource to members of the campus community interested in expanding upon and forging connections between the already great work that is happening in many different spheres.”
The official launch of the TRHT Center Alliance, “Transforming through Dialogue,” will be Thursday, Feb. 24, 2022, at noon in St. Robert’s Auditorium. This event will provide another opportunity to participate in a Story Circle – a lightly facilitated dialogue process that promotes deep engagement and connection across all lines of difference. There will also be time to explore themes from this year’s Common Book selections. Participants are welcome whether or not they have read the books. A light lunch will be provided in accordance with COVID-19 regulations. RSVP here, as space is limited.