Heal America Kicks Off Nationwide Summer of Healing Initiative

Heal America aims to decrease violence across the country and promote peace

ARLINGTON, Va. (July 13, 2022) Heal America is kicking off a nationwide initiative called the Summer of Healing. The initiative will support community leaders across the country by offering resources and grants to leaders and organizations working to decrease violence and bridge divides among community members and law enforcement.

The Summer of Healing officially kicked-off with a series of Juneteenth events, including the gathering in Texas led by Opal Lee. Opal is widely known as the ‘Grandmother of Juneteenth,’ and is serving as an honorary Chair of the Summer of Healing.

The Summer of Healing has since provided nearly $2 million in grants distributed among 43 organizations in 18 cities, including Dallas, Texas; Chicago, Illinois; Atlanta, Georgia; Newark, New Jersey; and Minneapolis, Minnesota. Community leaders will invest the funds in local projects to advance strategies to reduce and eliminate violence and create lasting change. Example projects include:

  • Roca Inc. is leading a combined in-person and tech solution in Baltimore that trains police officers in emotional regulation to reduce harmful and negative interactions in their personal lives and with the community.
  • In Dallas, a group called Violence Interrupters is using relationship management and mentoring to avoid escalations that result in violent crimes.
  • In Las Vegas, Hope for Prisoners is changing the community by helping pair people coming out of prison with mentors from law enforcement who can help them overcome the challenges of reentering society.
  • In Atlanta, Shoot Film Not Guns Anti-bullying/Stop the Violence Youth Initiative educates youth in underserved communities using “Careers in Film” workshops. Youth participants will learn camera operation, engage their acting abilities, master the art of storytelling and improve their creative writing skills to tell stories relevant to their communities, thereby increasing their academic levels and working on positive activities throughout the summer.

“Despite the violence and conflict we’ve seen, there are areas of excellence around this country where people are committed to bringing peace and healing to their cities,” said Dr. DeForest B. Soaries Jr., the co-chair of the Summer of Healing and pastor emeritus of First Baptist Church of Lincoln Gardens. “There’s never been a more urgent time for this kind of work. The innovative solutions to curb violence must come from local leaders and organizations, and I’m excited to be working with such leaders.”

Antong Lucky, co-chair of Heal America, President of Urban Specialists and co-chair of the Summer of Healing said the following, “We cannot change the injustices of history – they will always echo from the past – but we can move forward with the startling promise of human progress and connection, and that’s what the Summer of Healing is all about. We are eager to work with these terrific organizations to bring healing to their hometowns and the nation.”

Lucky and Soaries are co-chairs of the Summer of Healing. Leon Ford, a criminal justice reform advocate, and Ryan Tillman, a corporal in the Chino, Ca., Police Department and founder of Breaking Barriers United, will serve as ambassadors for the Summer of Healing. They will work with community leaders and police officers across the country.

The Summer of Healing initiative was created by Heal America, a national movement dedicated to fighting racial injustice with love and redemption. For more information about the Summer of Healing visit, https://healamericamovement.org/communities/#summer-of-healing.

About Heal America

Heal America is a movement to advance racial justice through empowerment. Heal America does this by investing in the tools, resources, and capital needed by local and national changemakers who seek to eliminate injustice. Grown from a series of local events hosted by Urban Specialists, Stand Together Foundation has partnered to expand the Heal America movement to cities across the country. Heal America seeks to interrupt violence in local communities, strengthen relationships among communities and law enforcement, and address injustice through bottom-up change. To learn more visit www.healamericamovement.org and follow us on FacebookInstagramTikTok and Twitter at @joinhealamerica.

MEDIA CONTACTS: Ashleigh Wayland, awayland@standtogether.org / 703-328-7891
Brittni Smallwood, bsmallwood@healamericamovement.org

SOURCE Heal America