15 Fiercest Sisters of 2017

A NEW ERA symbolized by the three generations of W.K. Kellogg Foundation CEOs: La June Montgomery Tabron is flanked by Russ Mawby, who served from 1970 to 1996, and her immediate predecessor, Sterling K. Speirn, who was at the helm from 2006 to 2013. (WKKF Photo)

9. La June Montgomery Tabron Works to Heal Nation

15 Fiercest Sisters of 2017

“If we don’t address the root causes of racism, we will endlessly treat only the symptoms of biases and injustice in America,” Detroit native La June Montgomery Tabron told the National Conference of Mayors in August. (WKKF photo)

As she goes about her work as president and CEO of the W.K. Kellogg Foundation (WKKF), La June Montgomery Tabron may think she is just doing her job. But in these troubled times, she is part warrior, part hero, in America’s increasingly high-stakes battle against a resurgence of racism unlike anything we have seen in decades.

While Kellogg — yes, the cereal people — are known for their work for children, they also have a deep commitment to addressing the need for racial equity in employment, health care, interactions with law enforcement and other critical issues. Tabron is entrusted with one of the most important missions in the country today — using a significant portion of the Kellogg Foundation’s $1.2 billion in resources to combat, prevent and heal the scars caused by racism across the country.  A very tough job in the America of 2017.

As the Klan and Nazi Party feel so emboldened by the current climate in the country that they march without masks in broad daylight, Kellogg continues and expands the much quieter work of tackling racism and bias by funding research that explores the impact of racism on adults and children, supporting a national network of civil rights organizations and expanding the foundation’s efforts to spur community-based racial healing.

WKKF’s Truth, Racial Healing & Transformation enterprise — an initiative the foundation created with more than 130 partners — will roll out in neighborhoods around the country. The foundation will kick off the year with its second annual National Day of Racial Healing on Jan. 16, 2018. We can’t think of a better or more important time for such an effort.

Tabron’s work also extends to a commitment to preserving our history and the lessons it offers the next generation. On December 9, 2017, she spoke at the opening of the Museum of Mississippi History and the Mississippi Civil Rights Museum, projects supported by a $2.3 million Kellogg grant.

“We want to make sure that Mississippi’s young people have the opportunity to learn in this place and continue the healing process however great the challenges,” Tabron said.

No doubt we are in living in very challenging times for black women, men, children, families and people of color all over the United States, but we can take some comfort and find a little hope in knowing a sister like Tabron is leading in the fight against hate.