3:00 PM15:00

Call & Response


We invite you to join us for our third Call & Response event on Saturday, September 21st from 3-7pm at Sacred Heart Center (SHC) located at 1420 McDonough Street. Call & Response is a conversation series that rotates to different neighborhoods in Richmond, VA and allows different communities to come together, learn and connect by sharing individual and communal pathways towards healing, equity and justice.

We are happy to continue a partnership with Sacred Heart Center that began in earnest with a collaboration during “Something’s in the Water,” our January 2019 creative event for National Day of Racial Healing. SHC is the leading organization in Central Virginia providing multifaceted programs, services and support systems for intergenerational Latinx communities. Alfonso Perez Acosta, Art Program Director at Sacred Heart, will lead this Call & Response that explores how we build and sustain a “third space” between Spanish and English speaking communities using visual art as a form of expressive facilitation and dialogue. Alfonso will be joined by Silly Genius, a Weaver in our Narrative Change Collaborative, who is also founder of All City Art Club, a visual art collective working to create historic murals that narrate the experiences of Richmond’s Southside communities.

This is an inclusive space that is open to the public and particularly to youth and families. Through participatory exercises, we will create drawings, murals, and other kinds of visual art within indoor and outdoor spaces at SHC that interrogate how we identify ourselves, define notions of history and community, and chart pathways towards individual and collective healing. The artwork created will be displayed at Sacred Heart Center and can also be taken home as tangible mementos of how we can develop trust across social divides that threaten to separate us and diminish our common humanity.

We will also have food, music as well as loads of great conversation. Join us and bring your community folk to take part in this exciting event!


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8:00 PM20:00

Community Trustbuilding Fellowship 2020 Webinar

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We are excited to share more about the 2020 Community Trustbuilding Fellowship program with this upcoming information webinar on September 23rd.

In an increasingly polarized society, this unique program, offered in Richmond, Virginia, develops the capacity of community leaders to become authentic trustbuilders capable of overcoming divisions of race, culture, economics and politics. Convening fellows from across North America, the Community Trustbuilding Fellowship (CTF) seeks to build multisector networks of facilitators and change agents committed to healing historical wounds, creating new shared narratives and building healthy and racially equitable communities.

Learn all about the program from the Program Director, CTF faculty and alumni and hear about their experiences in the program firsthand through this special webinar. Program applications are open until October 1st.

For more information about the Community Trustbuilding Fellowship, visit our website at

Monday, September 23rd
8pm EST
Join through Zoom:

IofC USA is inviting you to a scheduled Zoom meeting.
Join Zoom Meeting

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to Sep 15

Afrikana Independent Film Festival


Initiatives of Change USA is excited to be a Sponsor with the 4th annual Afrikana Independent Film Festival from Sept 12-15th! The festival presents close to 50 films over 4 days bringing full-on #Blackcinematicmagic to the city of Richmond!

The weekend is packed with things to do so here is the full breakdown of events:

Thursday - Opening Night Reception 
Doors open at 7:00 pm

The Valentine 
1015 E. Clay Street 
Richmond, VA 23220 
The evening starts with a live performance by Calvin Presents followed by an Afrikana x Angry Black Female Clips & Convo panel about the highly anticipated film, HARRIET, from her escape from slavery through the dangerous missions she led to liberate hundreds of slaves through the Underground Railroad, the story of heroic abolitionist Harriet Tubman is told.)

*IofC USA’s new Director of U.S. Programs, Racial Healing and Justice, ALICIA AROCHE, will take part in this opening panel conversation.


Friday - Spotlight Screening 
Doors open at 7:30 pm 
The Institute for Contemporary Art 
601 W Broad St 
Richmond, VA 23230

Meet us at one of the city's flyest art spaces, The Institute for Contemporary Art aka the ICA for the Virginia Premiere of THE REMIX: HIP HOP x FASHION 
The story of how hip hop changed fashion, leading to the stratospheric and global rise of streetwear. It is a journey of African American creativity, the women who created legendary looks and influenced style at large and the limitless possibilities of a cultural movement. 
Followed by a Women in Hip Hop panel discussion w/ Dapper Dan, Misa Hylton, April Walker, Lisa Cortes, and Farah X 

Afterparty w/ DJ Nobe at Black Iris Social Club 
321 W Broad St 
Richmond, VA 23220


Saturday - Matinee Spotlight Screening @ 12:30pm
The Institute for Contemporary Art 
601 W Broad St 
Richmond, VA 23230

Meet us back at the ICA for a screening of the documentary THE CENTRAL PARK FIVE. Filmmakers Ken Burns, Sarah Burns and David McMahon examine a 1989 case of five teenagers who were wrongfully convicted of raping a woman. After they had spent from six to 13 years in prison, a serial rapist confessed to the crime. Post-screening discussion with Central Park 5 exoneree, Raymond Santana and Dr. Zoe Spencer. 

*Initiatives of Change USA is happy to be an Official Sponsor of the Virginia Premiere of the “Central Park Five” documentary.

Afrikana Short Film Showcase 

Black Iris Social Club 
321 W Broad St, Richmond, VA 23220

Enjoy an afternoon of short films hosted at a variety of creative spaces in RVA's Art's District! Everything from youth programming to experimental cinema, it is sure to be a magical afternoon. 

Afrikana x Afrobeta at the Richmond Night Market 
Richmond Night Market 
17th Street Farmers' Market 
100 North 17th Street 
Richmond, VA 23219

With a partnership of 3 years, Afrikana Film Festival and the ARTisan Cafe are back at it for 2019. This year, Shop Afrikana at the Richmond Night Market and enjoy handmade goods from some of the dopest makers around. This year, Afrikana is fashion-forward highlighting some of the trendsetting designers and creators in the industry. Check out the Richmond Night Market for an outdoor runway peek at styles from sustainable designer Kamala of House of Bhagat. Vibes provided by DJ Mikemetic & Afrobeta! 

C'est Le Vine 
15 N 17th St 
Richmond, VA 23219

On the hottest day of the year on a street in the Bedford-Stuyvesant section of Brooklyn, everyone's hate and bigotry smolders and builds until it explodes into violence. 

Official Afrikana Afterparty 
Saturday 10:30pm-1am 
C'est Le Vine 
15 N 17th St 
Richmond, VA 23219

We're going out with a bang! Meet us back at Black Iris for our official Afrikana turnup! 

Sunday - Filmmaker Trolley Ride & Brunch 
Trolley meet-up at Quirk Hotel at 11am. 11:30a departure 
Quirk Hotel 
201 W Broad St 
Richmond, VA 23220

JOIN US AT CROAKER'S SPOT at 12:45 (sorry, trolley space is limited) 
The tradition continues! Afrikana's trolley ride and brunch highlighting Black Richmond - hosted by Untold RVA, is going down for the 4th year in a row! 
Brunch provided by Croaker's Spot Restaurants

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to Jun 30


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Over the course of 2019, the Gun Violence Archive counts 156 mass shootings in the U.S.

Amnesty International estimates that more than 500 people die every day from gun violence around the world with 1.4 million firearm-related deaths globally recorded between 2012-2016.

The experiences of gun violence are not only widespread but also hit very close to home. Recent incidents in Richmond, Chicago, Virginia Beach, and Los Angeles are representative of how gun violence is rising rapidly across the country in cities, counties and towns alike. 

 Next month Initiatives of Change USA alumni will lead the 3rd annual Towards an Inclusive Peace (TIP) as part of the Caux Forum in Switzerland from July 8 -12, 2019. This conference makes a case for prevention of violent extremism: we save lives by learning how to respond creatively and non-violently to conflict and crisis. Since June is Gun Violence Awareness Month, we lead up to TIP by partnering with Scott Elmquist (photojournalist for Style Weekly) to unveil I AM HERE, a series of photographs - spanning twenty years - of families and communities in Richmond who have been detrimentally affected by gun violence. Allan-Charles Chipman (Faith Rooted Organizer & Transformation Strategist with IofC USA) also shares a sound installation, Current Events, exploring the perpetual cycles of historical violence that has endured generations. 

I AM HERE is a call and response. It is a recognition of the value of each human life; a declaration of undying love to those lives taken by gun violence; and a commitment to remember their legacies by creating spaces of nonviolence, compassion, and belonging for the living.

Join us during I AM HERE:

June 28 – 30, 2019


3108 Semmes Avenue Richmond, VA 23225

(parking is available in the lot behind the building)

Individual and community expressions are a core part of the healing process.

Therefore, we invite creative community participation in this exhibition. 

·     Bring your own memorial objects (photos, t-shirts, hats, messages, etc.) to add to our Shrine for

the Beloved.

·     Record your stories and reflections in our AirStream portal that will podcast following the


·     Take part in Saturday’s Open Mic and share poetry, music, dance, and stories.



Exhibition opens, panel & mixer: 6 – 8pm

Doors open at 5:30pm

Panel participants include: Sgt. Carl Adams (Carol Adams Foundation); Rev. Robert Winfree (New Life Deliverance Tabernacle); Kristy Burrus (Krissia Ansara Foundation; Richmond Chapter of Parents of Murdered Children); Mark Whitfield; and Scott Elmquist.



Exhibition: 11am – 9pm

Live performances: 4 – 7pm

Drums No Guns healing circle

Open Mic



Exhibition: 12noon – 7pm

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7:00 PM19:00

The Arthur Ashe Boulevard Social Justice Forum

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Join the Arthur Ashe Boulevard Initiative x Afrikana Independent Film Festival for the official kick off for the Arthur Ashe Boulevard dedication weekend! The Arthur Ashe Boulevard Social Justice Forum takes place at the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts (VMFA) and will feature the Richmond premiere of Ashe '68 (VR version) and the big screen presentation of ESPN's short film, Johnnie and Arthur. The screenings will be followed by a panel discussion about how the renaming of Arthur Ashe Boulevard is an extension of his legacy and how it can be a catalyst to move our city forward.

Panelists include Johnnie Ashe, younger brother of Arthur Ashe; Dr. Sionne Neely, Director of Marketing & Communications at Initiatives of Change USA; Justin Tinsley of ESPN'S Undefeated; Michael Paul Williams of Richmond Times Dispatch; and Clovia Grooms Lawrence of KISS FM. The panel will be moderated by Marc Cheatham of the Cheats Movement. We are honored to be a part of this important moment in Richmond and Black history and we hope you'll join us in it!!

Free & Open to the public
Doors: 6:30p
Event: 7p

The forum will focus on social justice and how it was a part of Arthur Ashe’s DNA.

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9:00 AM09:00

Faith Rooted Revolution: A Symposium


Faith Rooted Revolution:

Embracing the Truth Disrupting the Cycle…Together

We work to disrupt the contemporary and historic patterns of oppression and injustice manifested in the city of Richmond.  Our success will require a greater synergy and fusion of efforts to build an equitable reality.  Join Initiatives of Change USA and the Johnson A. Edosomwan Center for Faith Leadership and Public Life on the campus of Virginia Union University, Living and Learning Center, from 9:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m. for this symposium and training designed to broaden our coalition for the work of justice and equity in Richmond. 

This one-day symposium, strategy and training session is solutions oriented and designed to help us better understand the intersections of our work and to maximize our efforts through a shared narrative and advocacy goals. The strategy session will focus on an issue that sits on the nexus of our intersections, the coliseum redevelopment project proposed by Dominion. Due to the impact this decision will have on our city for decades, a deeper understanding of the proposed Tax Increment Financing District (TIF) is necessary for all of our work.  This is both the continuation of our series of trainings for Faith Rooted Organizing begun in 2018 and the inaugural session to develop a long-term partnership among advocacy organizations working toward an equitable Richmond and Virginia. 

Participants will take away from this symposium:

  • A better understanding of the proposed TIF project and its possible impact for Richmond’s historic African American and vulnerable communities 

  • Discovery of new allies and efficiencies

  • Resources for training and strategy for power building

  • Beginning the process of developing shared narrative and goals

  • Foundation for future collaborations

Symposium Schedule:

9:00 a.m. Welcome Greetings and Statement of Purpose 

9:15 a.m. Understanding TIF and the Navy Hill Proposed Project

9:45 a.m. Q & A

10:15 a.m. Panel Discussion – Local organizers/leaders share their short and long term goals

11:15 a.m. Q & A

12:00 noon Working Lunch/Break Out Discussions

What TIF Might Mean for My Organization/Goals

12:45 p.m. Training/Strategy Session

2:15 p.m. Next Steps 

3:00 p.m. Adjourn

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1:30 PM13:30

Community Trustbuilding Fellowship: 2019 Graduation & Reception

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May is definitely graduation season. We are happy to welcome 22 fellows of the Community Trustbuilding Fellowship into our NextGen Global Action Initiative alumni community. After 5 intensive weekend modules building community facilitation and dialogue practices across social divides, the program fellows will take part in a CTF Graduation Ceremony & Reception on Sunday, May 19th, 1:30pm at Richmond Hill. We invite alumni of the Community Trustbuilding Fellowship to join us for this special occasion.

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6:30 PM18:30

Food for Thought: Dinner with dr. taj anwar baoll

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Initiatives of Change USA is partnering with Beautiful RVA, Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden and Birth in Color RVA on “Food for Thought: The Intersections of Birth & Food Justice”, a dinner and discussion with dr. taj anwar baoll. This event explores the inter-weavings of different sectors of social justice work and how multidimensional approaches are needed to undo unjust and inequitable systems.

According to Duron Chavis, urban farm activist and organizer of this event, “The work we do to cultivate communities around the right to access healthy, fresh and affordable food intersects with the need for regenerative community greenspace. Achieving racial equity requires us to consider how our work overlaps and how we can achieve multi-layered impacts that can overwhelm the multi-layered oppressions that marginalized communities experience every day.”

dr. taj anwar baoll has contributed over two decades of activism in Atlanta to creating thriving food practices and birth justice work for disenfranchised communities of color. This event intentionally takes place at a historic cultural institution in Richmond - Croaker’s Spot - where we will explore with dr. taj on how the greater Richmond region can expand our perspectives and collaborations to transform social justice practices within and across differing communities.

Please note that this event is sold out.

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6:00 PM18:00

An Evening with Hugh O'Doherty

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Join Community Trustbuilding Fellowship (CTF) Alumni** and Hugh O'Doherty in an informal Q & A Session about facilitation, adaptive leadership, and CTF. Hugh O'Doherty has served as guest faculty of CTF for more than a decade.

We invite CTF alumni to come prepared with questions for Hugh and reflections on his role/impact during your CTF experience. Additionally, this is an informal potluck dinner, so please bring one favorite snack, dip, or dish that you would like to share! This potluck evening will be hosted at the home of a CTF alum in Richmond, VA, and the address will be emailed out to registrants the week of the event.

About Hugh:
Raised in Northern Ireland, Hugh O’Doherty teaches leadership at Harvard’s school of government and is a Senior Associate with Cambridge Leadership Associates. He has also taught leadership and conflict resolution at the University of Richmond and the University of Maryland. Hugh has consulted with a wide variety of clients, including the Irish Civil Service, the Episcopalian Clergy Leadership Program, and the Mohawk Community Leadership Program in Canada. He has also consulted in countries around the world and has addressed the United Nations Global Forum on Re-Inventing Government. Hugh earned a master’s and doctorate in Education from the Harvard School of Education.

**This event is open to graduates and (former) faculty of the Community Trustbuilding Fellowship.

Register for this free event on Eventbrite or our Facebook event page.

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11:00 AM11:00

The Community Remembrance Project

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Initiatives of Change USA and The Equal Justice Initiative (EJI) is pleased to invite community members across Virginia and the greater Richmond region to attend an informational meeting and conversation about opportunities to participate in EJI's Community Remembrance Project. This project advances a more honest conversation and engagement with how our national history, legacies of racial and economic injustice and inequality, continue to inform contemporary issues today.

The Community Remembrance Project involves three companion projects including Soil Collections, Historical Marker Projects, and the upcoming Memorial Monument Placement Initiative. This is a component of the National Memorial for Peace and Justice, located in Montgomery, Alabama, and dedicated to over 4,000 African American victims of racial terror lynching in the United States.

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6:00 PM18:00

Jesus, Good Friday & the Criminal Justice System

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Discover the historic context of Good Friday & how it correlates to the modern-day injustices within the criminal justice system. Initiatives of Change USA is happy to host this event with the Equal Justice Initiative.

Within the Christian faith, one of the narratives at the center is the story of the crucifixion of Jesus. The cross has been used and interpreted in many ways in U.S. cultures.

However, what did the cross mean in Jesus’ original context?

What is the origin of the phrase, "King of the Jews"? 

Examining the political context of Jesus’ time gives a new perspective into the justice system of Rome. While Good Friday typically focuses on the person of Christ, this discussion will focus on the process of Jesus’ trial, incarceration, and execution. Journey with Gabrielle Daniels of Equal Justice Initiative as we compare the context of Good Friday to the injustices in our modern-day criminal justice system. Officer Carol Adams (Carol Adams Foundation) & Rise for Youth's Valerie Slater, ESQ will also join the discussion to reimagine a criminal justice system that cares for the vulnerable in light of the lessons of Good Friday. We invite you to join us for this event that is free and open to the public.

For more information, visit our Facebook event page or Eventbrite.

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4:00 PM16:00

6Pic Blackademic Panel & Excellence Mixer

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Initiatives of Change USA is partnering with 6Pic Innovation Center and I AM MY LIFE on this knowledge connection event specifically for Richmond high school, early college-aged youth and adults who work on Thursday, April 11th from 4-7pm. This experience will engage young folk with Blackademic (Black community building and PoC centered knowledge production) individuals and spaces.

We invite you to join us for an early evening of deep discussion and media-art making. The goal is to create a platform representing the depth and diversity of experience within Blackness. A panel of intersectional scholars who work in Black popular culture and studies across the range of the African diaspora will share their work and perspectives. 

Following this, there will a be a mixer hosted by 6PIC’s Blackademic in Residence, Chaz Barracks. Refreshments will be provided.

Blackademic Library Wishlist:  KNOWLEDGE IS POWER! Six Points Innovation Center (6PIC) is developing a library of minority authors for youths aged 14-23 of in Highland Park, Richmond. We invite contributions. Please check out our library wishlist in the above link. Books can purchased and mailed directly to the youth center at: 6PIC Blackademic Library, CC: Chaz Barracks, 3001 Meadowbridge Rd, Richmond, VA 23222.

More information on this event is available on our FB event page.

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5:00 PM17:00

Racial Healing Circle Training

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Calling all alumni of IofC's Community Trustbuilding Fellowship & Caux Scholars Program!

Fellows and scholars, this one's for you.

Dr. Ram Bhagat and Rob Corcoran will offer an experiential training for IofC alumni from the Community Trustbuilding Fellowship & Caux Scholars Program in the use of Healing Circles as an additional methodology in their toolkit as social change agents. The process focuses on going deeper into the heart space by sharing our personal stories, listening to the sacred stories of others, enabling us to see our common humanity and to support one another in our journey.

Healing Circles have been used widely as the foundation for the W.K. Kellogg Foundation’s national grantee conferences since 2006 and serve as an important basis for one of IofC USA's grant programs: Truth, Racial Healing & Transformation. The structure is highly adaptable for different needs and different contexts. The training will run from 6 pm to 9 pm on Tuesday, March 19th in Richmond, VA. A light meal will be served at 5 pm. Venue will be announced closer to the date.

Please invite fellow IofC USA alumni from the Caux Scholars Program (CSP) and Community Trustbuilding Fellowship (CTF; formerly known as the Connecting Communities Fellowship Program-CCFP). Please note that space is limited to (14) participants, and there are tiered payment options.

Sign up on our Facebook event page here or our EventBrite page here.

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6:00 PM18:00

Call & Response: A Conversation Series

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This March, Initiatives of Change USA launches

a new conversation series entitled


This discussion series ripples from “Something’s in the Water”, IofC’s 2-day creative event held in January on Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day (21st) and National Day of Racial Healing (22nd) at Studio Two Three - a collaboration with more than 30 innovators in the sectors of arts, nonprofit, and business. Through art installations, conversations, live music, workshops and performances, “Something’s in the Water” explored 400 years of Virginia’s racial history beginning in 1619, the earliest recorded arrival of enslaved African persons to Jamestown and what would eventually become the United States. Together, artists, organizers and participants meditated on what work had been accomplished and what remains to be done to dismantle systems of racism and oppression.

Over the last month, Virginia’s leadership took the world stage for all the wrong reasons. This has unearthed entangled legacies of racial and sexual violence that are sparking private and public discussions about honesty, reconciliation, white privilege, marginalized community rights, and people-centered justice. It is clear that more public space is needed for communities - who may not be in regular contact with one another - to come together, unload, listen, learn and build toward sincere connections.

In what ways do we keep breaking down and how can we keep building up?

CALL & RESPONSE is that frequency - a vibration of intimate interaction that grows between people. We are meeting at the intersections of who we are - at the margins of race, class, gender, sexuality, religion, age, language, geography, ability, and more.

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This is an intimate, open and expressive space where members of different communities (in Richmond and beyond) are welcome to come, share, and connect freely with one another to link paths towards greater healing, equity & justice. There will be facilitators in the house - experts in restorative justice, mental wellness, conflict transformation, and trauma healing - to help process this communal journey of histories, emotions, and perspectives. Since art is a critical part of healing, we will feature an Open Mic segment at the end of the session for artists, musicians, spoken word artists and writers to share.

This is a conversation series that will take place once a quarter, rotating to neighborhoods across Richmond. Our first session will take place at Spacebomb Studios (106 S. Robinson Street) on Saturday, March 9th from 6 - 8pm. This event is free and open to the public. Doors open at 5:30pm and refreshments will be served. Parking is available in front of and behind Spacebomb and there are additional spaces on the street.

CALL & RESPONSE will also be an IofC USA podcast and webinar series connecting communities internationally (stay tuned for more information and email us at if you would like to take part)!

We are grateful to SPACEBOMB for the provision of space for this event to take place.

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6:00 PM18:00

An Evening with Dr. Wes Bellamy

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We cordially invite you to "An Evening with Dr. Wes Bellamy" at The Valentine Museum on Thursday, February 21st, 2019 from 6-8pm. Dr. Bellamy, a civil rights activist, professor, author and the youngest person to ever be elected to the Charlottesville City Council, will discuss his memoir, "Monumental: It was Never about a Statue" with Allan-Charles Chipman, Faith Rooted Organizer & Transformation Strategist at IofC USA.

This Q&A will unearth the journey of a city - before Charlottesville became #Charlottesville - in August 2017. What does it take to transform habits of systemic racism into cultures of flourishing equity and justice? How does today's civil rights leadership echo and sustain historic traditions of Black radical activism?

Join us for this powerful discussion and a book signing with Dr. Wes Bellamy.

This event is part of The Valentine’s latest exhibition, entitled Monument Avenue: General Demotion/General Devotion. The Storefront for Community Design and the mObstudiO at Virginia Commonwealth University School of the Arts  invited teams of planners, architects, designers, artists and individuals to participate in a national design competition to conceptually reimagine Monument Avenue and contribute to this important dialogue about race, memory, the urban landscape and public art. An exhibition of competition entries opened at the Valentine on February 14, 2019.

Visit for details.

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to Jan 22

Something's in the Water

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A free 2-day creative event for NATIONAL DAY OF RACIAL HEALING

2019 marks the 400th year observance of Jamestown, Virginia, and specifically, the earliest record of enslaved Africans arriving in 1619 to a strange new world - the tumultuous beginnings of a nation-state called the United States of America. With increased national and global efforts to center inclusive histories, truth and reconciliation processes, and racial equity today, we ask, how far have we come in 400 years?

January’s National Day of Racial Healing is as much about grappling with ongoing structures of racism, trauma, loss and injustice as it is about journeying toward healing and reconciliation. We confront these systems of oppression and marginalization as ways toward greater hope, dignity, truth telling, accountability and freedom-making. 

What remains hidden beneath the water? What floats to the surface?

Something’s in the Water is a recognition of patterns of collective thinking and behaviors that are odd, off and in need of course correction. It is also where emergent bubbles rise to the top, resisting the waves of history to push to the shore of a new day.

Initiatives of Change USA contemplates the conditions of our making as a city, state, and country through this exciting 2-day event that kicks off on Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day (Jan. 21) and continues on the National Day of Racial Healing (Jan. 22). Join us as we partner with leading artists, cultural historians, creative influencers, grassroots activists and organizations in a range of activities including conversations, installations, exhibitions, workshops, film screenings, live music and performances.

National Day of Racial Healing is a nationwide event, created by the Kellogg Foundation, under the thematic approach of Truth, Racial Healing and Transformation. Initiatives of Change USA is leading this process in Richmond, one of 14 cities that has received a multi-year grant to conduct this work, and will be producing activities on January 22, 2019. 

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6:00 PM18:00

Canvas Conversations: Sionne Rameah Neely & Nzilani Simu

  • Canvas House: 3108 Semmes Ave Richmond, VA 23225 (map)
  • Google Calendar ICS

Join us for an informal conversation between Sionne Rameah Neely of Intiatives of Change USA and visiting Kenyan artist Nzilani Simu to talk about the power of art in changing narratives and society.

6:00pm: Doors open
6.30pm: Canvas conversation, followed by audience questions
8:00pm: Close

Light hors d'oeuvres and drinks will be served. $5 suggestion donation to Simu’s travel fund.


Sionne Rameah Neely is a womanist researcher, writer, teacher and multimedia producer who spent eight years cultivating critical movements in the artist community of Ghana before returning to her hometown of Richmond, Virginia and joining the IofC team as Director of Marketing & Communications.

In Ghana, Sionne co-created ACCRA [dot] ALT, an independent community-based organization that promotes the socially transformative work of local creatives and artists to global audiences. As part of this work, she also co-founded and helped run the flagship CHALE WOTE Street Art Festival, the biggest festival of its kind in Africa. In addition to her work in the artist community, Sionne built upon her doctoral research on the rights of African women in her role leading the knowledge management division of the African Women’s Development Fund (AWDF), the largest continental fund supporting and sustaining more than 1,300 women’s rights organizations in Africa.

Sionne received a master’s degree and a doctoral degree from the University of Southern California in American studies and ethnicity. She completed master’s work in fine arts from Howard University, where she focused on film production and criticism, and a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Georgia. Her multimedia research revolves around independent arts organizing, African women’s rights, African feminism, the rights of artists, the history of music production in Ghana and pan-African recollections of the transatlantic enslaved trade. When she is not at work, Sionne loves to be at the beach or out on the trails, exploring new places, interacting with folks of different cultures and checking out films and musical performances.


Nzilani Simu is an Illustrator and graphic designer from Nairobi, Kenya. She specialises in illustration, infographics, branding, hand lettering and is passionate about design for social impact, particularly when it comes to an African lens and projects focused on women's rights. She has over ten years of experience working as a freelancer and for creative agencies within Kenya and for international clients. She has a BA in Sociology from the University of Western Ontario, and a BA in Graphic Design from Curtin University in Malaysia. Nzilani also runs Kulula - where she sells greeting cards, journals, and other gift and stationery goods. In addition to this, Nzilani works part time as a lecturer at a creative college in Nairobi.

Nzilani is visiting Richmond to participate in the two day Something's in the Water event taking place across Dr Martin Luther King Jr Day and the National Day of Racial Healing, hosted at Studio Two Three.

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