Austin Community College (ACC) commemorated National Day of Racial Healing Tuesday, January 22, with a series of events encouraging the community to explore culture and equity through the arts.
"It's important to recognize what we share and what makes us stronger," says Dr. Molly Beth Malcolm, ACC executive vice president of campus operations and public affairs. "ACC is committed to establishing a welcoming and inclusive environment. Through thoughtful conversation we can share our stories and learn from one another."
More than a dozen students, faculty, and community members shared poetry readings, dance and musical performances, and interactive art initiatives.
Adjunct Art professor Jill Bedgood painted band-aids to match different skin colors as part of her interactive art project. "We are dealing with the idea that so many products in our society are focused on caucasian skin color and not a more diverse population," says Bedgood. "When we recognize our differences, we can appreciate them. It's part of the healing process."
Artist WenJen (Bianca) Chen invited guests to participate in an origami art installation called "Peace of the Crane" for the event.
"Traditionally, people believe that folding 1,000 origami cranes is a blessing for the people they love and for one's wish to come true," says Chen. "I hope that the Legend of a Thousand Cranes will heal us and fly free across racial, cultural, ethnic, language barriers."
Additional works of art by students, faculty, and community members will remain on display at ACC Highland through February 28.
Organized by ACC's Office of Equity and Inclusion, the series of events are part of the W.K. Kellogg Foundation's Truth, Racial Healing & Transformation effort – a national, community-based initiative to address historic and contemporary effects of racism. ACC is one of the 10 national institutions selected to serve as a Truth, Racial Healing & Transformation Campus Center.
For more information, visit the Office of Equity and Inclusion webpage.