Austin group part of city-wide racial healing initiative

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Austin Coming Together is part of a new campaign aimed at building racial healing across Chicago.

Announced Monday by Mayor Lori Lightfoot and the Chicago Office of Equity & Racial Justice, the goal of the “Together We Heal” campaign is to empower all Chicagoans to engage in activities fostering connection, restoration and learning at this time of racial reckoning.

As part of the Racial Equity Rapid Response Team, Austin Coming Together and six other organizations will help activate residents from every neighborhood in Chicago to participate in candid conversations, healing circles and other activities.

The initiative culminates at the end of January with a virtual healing summit that will reflect on progress made and envision a path forward for the coming year.

From now until the end of January, Chicagoans are challenged to:

  • ORGANIZE a healing event with friends, neighbors, colleagues, family members, congregations or anyone in your network.
  • SHARE your experience with fellow Chicagoans by completing the TWH submission form that allows you detail the event and leave a message of healing.
  • EXPLORE how the journey unfolds by checking on the TWH Healing Map that will report the efforts that happened across Chicago.
  • CELEBRATE at the end of January at the end of this leg of the journey and map out a course for the future.

“Whether it be the ongoing health crisis or protests that have erupted in response to racial inequality, the events of this year have urged us to fully acknowledge how racism continues to drive systemic inequity both in our city and across our country,” Lightfoot said in a statement.

“Through the ‘Together We Heal’ initiative, we will turn this acknowledgement into action … to create a Chicago free from the scourges of racial injustice. By building bridges to one another through this racial healing work, we will not only be more united as a city but develop the empathy we need in order to holistically recover from the challenges of this unprecedented year,” the mayor said.

Candace Moore, the city’s first chief equity officer, said, “This past year has shown us that we cannot afford to ignore historical trauma, racism, and inequality. We must take steps forward in communion with one another, in recognition of our mutual humanity. We must commit to heal ourselves, our communities and our city.”

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