Racial Reconciliation and Racial Healing


Reconciliation processes have only recently begun within the United States in specific communities. Reconciliation processes include public acknowledgement of racist events and crimes (such as apartheid or violence against groups of color). They may also examine and make public the current impact of such events, as well as their historical occurrence. They may include processes that allow individual victims to tell their stories for the record and as one part of a healing process. They may also include processes for individual perpetrators to acknowledge their complicity. Formal and serious apologies are often part of this work - with the victims having the power to accept or reject that apology.

The William Winters Institute for Racial Reconciliation at the University of Mississippi contextualizes this process as: "Reconciliation involves three ideas. First, it recognizes that racism in America is both systemic and institutionalized, with far-reaching effects on both political engagement and economic opportunities for minorities. Second, reconciliation is engendered by empowering local communities through relationship- building and truth-telling. Lastly, justice is the essential component of the conciliatory process-justice that is best termed as restorative rather than retributive, while still maintaining its vital punitive character. (Restorative justice is a theory of justice that emphasizes repairing the harm caused or revealed by criminal behavior. It is best accomplished through cooperative processes that include all stakeholders.)" 

The content in this section includes description of community and individual work, tools, conceptual information and key sites related to reconciliation and racial healing.

Key sites



Case studies


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