The news prominently shares stories of police and vigilante neighbors murdering Black people, etching the faces of Trayvon Martin, Tamir Rice, Sandra Bland, George Floyd and Breonna Taylor in our collective memories. 

American legal systems and state-supported violence have targeted children, families and communities of color for centuries, dating back to Federal and State Constitutions. Our nation’s founding documents solidified racism from the start. This perpetuated the false belief in a hierarchy of human value, implying some people are more worthy of rights, freedom and liberty.

The legacy of racism in the United States is multifaceted. It touches every community across all backgrounds and cultures, albeit in unique ways. The history presented here is by no means exhaustive, rather it represents several turning points that created the present realities faced by all people living in the U.S. today.

Explore Inspiring Stories of Racial Healing

  • Showing Up For Racial Justice, is a national organization educating White people about racism and helping them find a starting point for action.
  • Police officers in Flint, Michigan participate in racial healing experiences to reflect on biases.
  • The Partners in Development Foundation is transforming the juvenile justice system in Hawaii from a focus on incarceration to a focus on healing, recognizing  that young people caught in the system often suffer from multiple forms of trauma. 

Take Action Today

4 Ways to Heal From the Effects of Unjust Legal Systems:

  • Watch Ava Duvernay’s documentary “13th” about the current-day legacy of the 13th amendment allowing people convicted of crimes to be forced into labor. Discuss with family, friends, and neighbors.
  • Look for service projects in your area supporting immigrant communities or people reentering society after incarceration. Engaging in service is a great way to form relationships that lead to deeper understanding. 
  • Download our Action Kit for engaging policy makers, and choose one way to advocate for racial equity within your community.