School of Communications to host National Day of Reconciliation event

The nationwide initiative aims to promote communication and healing between police and people of color in the United States. The Tuesday, Sept. 17, event will include an on-campus screening of the award-winning film “Walking While Black” and a panel discussion with Alamance County community members and law enforcement leaders.

The inaugural National Day of Reconciliation – scheduled for Tuesday, Sept. 17 – bills itself as a “massive reset button” to improve relations between police and people of color. With simultaneous events planned throughout the United States, the three-hour program aims to promote racial reconciliation and healing through conversation and mutual understanding.

Elon University’s School of Communications will host the first-ever event in Schar Hall’s Turner Theatre, highlighted by a nationally synced screening of “Walking While Black: L.O.V.E. Is The Answer,” a documentary film by A.J. Ali and Errol Webber that examines racial profiling and the daily struggle it creates for minority communities. The film will be shown at 6 p.m. at theaters, ministries, schools and other locations throughout the country. Elon’s event is free and open to the public.

After the film screening, Ali will provide a “call to action” via Facebook Live, and community members will continue the conversation with on-site panel discussions. At Elon, confirmed community groups include the Interdenominational Ministerial Alliance of Alamance County, Morrow Town Task Force, Elon’s “It Takes a Village” Project and several Alamance County law enforcement agencies.

Scheduled panelists are:

  • Kelly Blackwelder, police chief, Town of Elon
  • Jeffrey Smythe, police chief, City of Burlington
  • Cliff Parker, chief deputy, Alamance County Sheriff’s Office
  • Blanca Nienhaus, founder, Latinos Unidos Promoviendo Esperanza (Latinos United Promoting Hope)
  • Donna Vanhook, founder, Morrow Town Task Force
  • Jean Rattigan-Rohr, vice president for access and success and professor of English, Elon University

A representative of Elon University’s Campus Safety and Police is also expected to be on hand.

The event will kick off with a brief welcome from Prudence Layne, associate professor of English. Additionally, the Rev. Dr. Larry Covington of Ebenezer United Church of Christ in Burlington, who serves as vice president and program chair for the Interdenominational Ministerial Alliance of Alamance County, will be in attendance.

As part of the community gathering, a high school student participating in Elon’s “It Takes a Village” Project will make a musical performance.

The inaugural event is sponsored by Elon’s School of Communications, CREDE, El Centro de Español and Truitt Center.


The National Day of Reconciliation brings peace officers and community members together to learn transformative reconciliation principles patterned after South Africa’s post-apartheid truth and reconciliation efforts and Hawaii’s ancient “Ho’oponopono” practice of reconciliation. This event will put L.O.V.E. into action in communities nationwide with a screening of “Walking While Black,” healing discussions and action plans.


Students, peace officers and community members


Tuesday, Sept. 17, at 6 p.m.


Events will take place simultaneously throughout all 50 states and Washington, D.C. Locally, the event will be held in Schar Hall’s Turner Theatre on the campus of Elon University. (Address: 123 Williamson Avenue, Elon, N.C., 27244)


The L.O.V.E. Is The Answer Movement is about putting these four steps into action: LEARN, OPEN, VOLUNTEER & EMPOWER.