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!
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
· 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.
FRIDAY, JUNE 28th
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.
SATURDAY, JUNE 29th
Exhibition: 11am – 9pm
Live performances: 4 – 7pm
Drums No Guns healing circle
SUNDAY, JUNE 30th
Exhibition: 12noon – 7pm
This March, Initiatives of Change USA launches
a new conversation series entitled
CALL & RESPONSE.
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.
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 email@example.com if you would like to take part)!
We are grateful to SPACEBOMB for the provision of space for this event to take place.