Ava DuVernay, Stacey Abrams, Eva Longoria, Judd Apatow, David Oyelowo, Laverne Cox, Melissa Etheridge And More Join for Day of Racial Healing Event in LA (PHOTOS)

Featured Conversations and Performances included Stacey Abrams, Eva Longoria, Judd Apatow, Laverne Cox, Melissa Etheridge, Amy Goodman, David Oyelowo, Jacqueline Woodson, Angela Robinson, and More

Photo Credit: Robin L. Marshall

In commemoration of the 3rd Annual “National Day of Racial Healing,” filmmaker Ava DuVernay and her foundation ARRAY Alliance partnered with the W.K. Kellogg Foundation to present #HowWeHeal,” a 4-hour livestream event curated by DuVernay to build awareness and encourage dialogue around racial equity and racial healing.

Held at ARRAY’s new campus in Los Angeles’ Historic Filipinotown neighborhood, #HowWeHeal featured a series of change-making conversations and collaborative performances to explore a number of urgent issues dealing with race, gender, entertainment, narratives and more. The online broadcast was hosted by EXTRA! Host Tanika Ray, and co-presented by this year’s official livestream partner, Facebook.

“The W.K. Kellogg Foundation gave us the chance at the ARRAY campus here in Los Angeles to bring together some folks around the idea of healing,”said Ava DuVernay in her opening remarks. “This is a very divisive and tense time that we’re in. On any given day, I read or see or hear something on social media or in the news that really threatens to break my spirit. The idea of how do we stay unbroken, how do we stay resistant to some of the division that continues to come towards us, this idea of healing I think is a start.”

Photo Credit: Robin L. Marshall

In the first panel of the program moderated by Deadline Senior Editor Dominic Patten, Actress and Philanthropist Eva Longoria, Filmmaker Judd Apatow, Actor and Producer David Oyelowo, and Filmmaker Angela Robinson participated in a “round-robin style” conversation about race and representation.

Photo Credit: Robin L. Marshall

Said Actor and Producer David Oyelowo, “As a Black actor in Hollywood, one of the greatest obstacles has been historically the idea that our stories are niche, and if it’s called a ‘Black film’ that instantaneously makes it narrow.”

He continued, “If the industry thinks of it that way, they market it that way, they think of it internationally in that way. And so one of my greatest challenges has been to position myself, educate my industry and bring the audience into the fact that I’m a human being, not just a Black artist or a Black storyteller, but someone who’s interested in expansive stories.”

In response to a question about racial and gender privilege in Hollywood, filmmaker Judd Apatow said, “We hire people. We’re in a position to staff the office and staff the movie, and if you pay no attention whatsoever, you will just wind up hiring everyone that looks exactly like you. And there does come a moment I hope for everyone where they realize how wrong that is.”

For the second panel, Journalist and Democracy Now! Host Amy Goodman led a conversation with Actress and Activist Laverne Cox and Author Jacqueline Woodson on Identity and Inclusion. Said Cox, “Because I’m an artist I don’t believe that you censor or police language…I’m not into telling anybody they can or cannot say something…but it is super important when we do use language that might be a little incendiary to think about the consequences. Think about the people who might be affected by that word, about the violence that might be attached to that word…I think redemption comes from taking action to do better the next time.”

The final panel of the program featured Ava DuVernay in conversation with 2018 Georgia Gubernatorial Candidate Stacey Abrams about Diversity and Democracy. Said Abrams, “Racial healing is an active job. That means we have to do the work of fixing the problems we see. Every single day is an act of racial healing when we work to connect communities and stand up for each other, especially those communities that are not our own.”

Additional #HowWeHeal highlights included performances by Music Icon Melissa Etheridge, who performed her songs “Pulse,” and “I Need To Wake Up,”; dance performances by Movement Artist Jon Boogz (with the Fancy Dancers) and Female Tap Group Syncopated Ladies; and a poetry performance by Los Angeles Poet Laureate and National Book Award Winner Robin Coste Lewis (with Musical Artist Terrance McKnight); and a series of narrative videos. The conversation also extended into the art and culinary worlds as muralists and chefs lent their talents and voices to the day’s celebration.

The “National Day of Racial Healing” was established by the W.K. Kellogg Foundation in 2017 to promote healing as a critical path for ending racial bias and creating a society in which all children can thrive. The annual outreach is part of WKKF’s Truth, Racial Healing & Transformation effort, a national and community-based process designed to bring transformational and sustainable change to communities, while addressing the historic and contemporary effects of racism.

“At the W.K. Kellogg Foundation our work is focused on children, their families and their communities,” said La June Montgomery Tabron, W.K. Kellogg Foundation President and CEO during the event. “The National Day of Racial Healing is a time to bring communities and people together so that they can talk about racial healing and create opportunities for children and families to thrive. We start right here by using our gifts, our talents and most importantly, our voices. Join us and keep the conversation going.”

Watch the full program of #HowWeHeal here.

Writer. Entrepreneur. Conscientious Communications for Racial/Social Justice Groups, Non-Profits and Movements.