The Truth, Racial, Healing, and Transformation Campus Center, TRHT, is a grant program awarded by The Association of American Colleges and Universities to ten institutions of higher learning across the country. Dr. Sheri-Ann Butterfield is the Executive Vice Chancellor of Rutgers University Newark.
“Association of American Colleges and Universities, AACNU, is guiding the development of the TRHT Campus Center on college and university campuses all across the country with the goal of creating 150 centers. To ensure that future strategic leaders and critical thinkers are prepared and focused on dismantling the belief in hierarchy in human value.”
Butterfield says the institution will first focus on reconciling the experiences of the families that fled Newark after the 1967 riot/rebellion.
“We’ll have story circles, inner group dialogues, public art which includes spoken word and poetry, and we also want to do video history of those residents here in ’67 and those who left. We can find them. We have students that are eager to do the work. Let’s make that happen.”
City Mayor Ras Baraka says truth and racial healing comes through coming to grips with what happened in the past and what’s happening currently.
“Two things can’t occupy the same place at the same time. Some people feel like we need to spend all of our energy shouting things down. I agree that your voice should be loud and that you should eradicate all systems of oppression. But also believe that when you build systems, you inadvertently destroy others. At the same time that you build unity and positivity in systems where everyone is equal and there’s equity, you’re speaking directly against systems that were designed to do the opposite.”
The Newark Public Library is partnering with the Rutgers TRHT to create community programs. Jeffrey Trzeciak will oversee some of those events.
“Our main library and the seven branches we have around the city will make sure that this important initiative and the important conversations that go along with it will take place not only downtown but in every ward in the city. We are trusted spaces where people can come together as a community in the difficult conversations that will ultimately lead to truly transformational and sustainable change.”
The Truth, Racial Healing, and Transformation Campus Center will work towards changing the stereotype that Newark is nothing more than a crime-ridden city.