Emmett Till. The four little girls in the Birmingham bombing. Rodney King. Trayvon Martin. Their names and situations invoke memories of extreme racial tension and often exacerbate feelings of racial distrust because of the painful circumstances surrounding their deaths. Across the nation, these and other historic stories of violence have for years saturated the airwaves and newspapers.
And yet, in many of America’s communities, programs and lessons in racial healing and tolerance are quietly spreading. Some are simply conversations that lead to understanding and changed behavior. Others are actual activities to establish outreach and relationships for racial diversity.